Having travelled to many places places, Krijn enjoys reading fiction and nonfiction stories that take you to different settings, near and far. If you can’t always travel everywhere, at least you can always read about anywhere.
A spellbinding md-century, mid-western saga: characters damaged by wars, a murder, racial prejudice, tragic histories and secrets - all woven together in a masterful story. Loved it from beginning to end!
Sweeping, epic novel spanning 4 generations, moving from India to Kenya and Uganda, and then to Canada and England. An intimate story of family, traditions, and sacrifice, and the continuous search for a place to call home. A haunting story, beautifully written.
This is the very entertaining 2nd book in Whitehead's Harlem Trilogy that started with Harlem Shuffle. It’s New York in the 70’s: more and more garbage in the streets, increasing crime and continuing graft. Carney has a thriving furniture business and strives to be a family man. But he can’t stay away from crime, with his crooked partner Pepper battling for him. It’s a dark story giving a great insight of New York life, funny at moments, and all through enjoyable to read.
After starting several enterprises, including long-haul trucking and writing the bestseller The Long Haul, Finn Murphy ends up in Boulder, CO, where he tries his luck making a killing in hemp. In Rocky Mountain High he narrates his experiences and (mis)adventures. It is a great, insightful, and rollicking story that I enjoyed reading as much as I did The Long Haul.
Lovely story of Kristin and Vill Jokinen's epic biking adventure from the top of Alaska to the tip of Argentina. Never been on a bike trip before, they dealt with relentless rain, numerous flat tires, dog attacks, endless climbs, and heat, but also spectacular scenery and incredible kindness everywhere along their route. This is an uplifting and inspiring story of love of the outdoors, love of adventure, and love of each other and other people.
A thrilling cold war story with multiple characters on both sides of the Iron Curtain, with flashbacks to the grim WW2 partisan fights in Lithuania. The at-first complex story spans several decades, but the various parts steadily come together towards the end in this engaging spy thriller.
A delightful book about life among the upper-upper class in New York city, and about the three women that are part of this old-money family, and their tribulations: Darley, oldest daughter, sacrifices herself by marrying an outsider; Sasha, middle-class daughter-in-law struggles to fit in and be accepted; youngest sibling Georgiana falls in love but maybe shouldn’t have and tries to figure out her life and what to do with her wealth. A lighthearted and entertaining story sprinkled with humor.
After a passionate affair, the narrator arrives at a grand hotel that is past its glory, where he stays to transform his failed love story into a novel. He makes his acquaintance with a cast of characters and with them he philosophizes about various subjects, from refugees and immigration policies, politics, culture, good and bad tourists/tourism, to the future of Europe as one big museum. It was delightful to be taken along in this narrative, which is at times hilarious, extravagant, ribald and never dull.
An absorbing novel about family relationships and living a purposeful life. A family of white fundamentalist Christians adopts a girl, Abebe, from Ethiopia. The parents try to get her to fit in and conform to their strict lifestyle. They are charged with murder after she dies from hypothermia right outside their house. For Royal, a Seattle criminal attorney, defending the wife will be his last case in a long career. His son, a writer and the novel’s narrator, drives his father to and from the trial. Telling the dramatic story, he juxtaposes kinship and family love and dynamics. A compelling novel that makes you think about living a purposeful life.
Gripping and very accurate account of all that went wrong at Boeing - once a globally admired company. The cultural change following the Boeing / McDonnell Douglas merger is well described. Stock price and executive pay tied to it became all important, and cutting cost was all that mattered. This led to various debacles, including the 737 MAX crashes. This is a well-researched and written, chilling account, but also a sad story. A must-read for all that were proud of this once great company (including myself, for most of the 35 years I worked there).
This is a very entertaining novel to read. It provides a wonderful description of life in Harlem in the 60s, with the protagonist peripherally or directly involved in heists, swindles, graft and kickbacks (“Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…”), but also touching on the pervasive racism. I really enjoyed reading this.
A superbly written, epic story about real Japanese-Americans during WW II: the families that remained on the Hawaiian islands as well as the west coast families that were forced to move to concentration camps; their sons that served heroically in Europe fighting the Germans; as well as the ones that stood up as resisters defending their rights as citizens. This is a great book that was almost impossible to put down.
Engrossing tale of the Sackler family’s greed and their ruthless marketing of opioid painkillers, causing the opioid crisis. Keefe chronicles the birth of the dynasty and how it morphed into a family empire that shamelessly made billion of dollars while hiding in the background, all the while demanding recognition through philanthropy. It is well researched and well written and reads like a real-life thriller.
A rollicking urban caper in which poor Ramesh Kumar takes and aces a test for a son of the rich, catapulting the latter to stardom. They both make a lot of money, get kidnapped, and kidnap others when turning the tables. It provides satirical view on the inequalities in contemporary Indian society. Hugely entertaining. You'll enjoy this.
Basil St. Florian is a swashbuckling secret agent who’d rather stay in bed with his lover than go on a mission. Nevertheless, because he’s so masterful in his trade, he’s chosen for a secret mission into France to retrieve information that will help decipher the German secret codes and win the war. A very British tale with their typical humor, with action, and with a great plot. A very entertaining spy thriller.
The best nonfiction book I read in quite a while. Michela Wrong’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ is a powerful, sweeping review of Rwanda’s recent history and rise of the current regime of the once admired Paul Kagame. She uses the murder of Kagame’s former friend and co-leader Patrick Karegeya as background when telling the events that gave birth to the related rebel movements in Uganda and later in Rwanda, the return of displaced people to Rwanda, the Tutsi genocide (and Kagame’s probable role in starting it), the killings of Hutu’s, and the current ruthless persecution of anybody who does not agree with Kagame. The ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign was left on the door of the room where Karegeya was murdered, but it is a metaphor for the legitimacy of the current minority regime. Wrong’s book is gripping and eloquent, and I had a hard time putting it down until I finished it.
Ming Tsu is a ruthless Chinese American outlaw seeking revenge after enduring mistreatment, exploitation and racism. He travels with a prophet on his journey to kill the men who destroyed him and to find the wife he was taken away from. They hook up with a group of magic show characters on the way. There are grisly scenes, but also great descriptions of the desolate landscapes they're passing through. This is a well-written, captivating and thrilling western.
This is a literary masterpiece - the long-awaited follow-up to The Sympathizer. First off, don’t worry if you haven’t read The Sympathizer ((I haven't, yet). This book is great read on its own. The protagonist/narrator arrives as a refugee in Paris and gets involved in its criminal underworld in this gangster thriller that is interlaced with his discourses on colonialism, communism, and the American/Vietnam war and their ghosts, and occasional humor. Viet Thanh Nguyen is a fantastic author, and this story is spellbinding.
In this darkly comic story, Lou Bishoff chronicles a day of driving around an eccentric slew of characters in and around a college town in Mississippi in a beat up taxi. His live is disrupted and changing as his girlfriend is moving out, and Uber is moving in and an antagonistic dispatcher is reappearing. Still showing compassion to long time destitute customers, he has to decide how much he can take. This was very enjoyable to read.
Apeirogon - a shape with a countably infinite number of sides. In this extraordinary hybrid novel McCann craftfully weaves together the stories of an Israeli father and a Palestinian father, joined in grief after they both have lost a daughter in the enduring conflict. He shapes their loss into a breathtaking narrative, splendidly interspersed with incidental details. It is moving and almost impossible to put down.
Fantastic account of Churchill’s first year as PM, leading the Battle of Britain. In captivating detail Larson describes his quirks, his charisma, his emotions, his leadership, and his great oratory skills. Combined into this are the narratives of the family members and friends and staff that surround him, as well as his enemies. A terrific, spellbinding historical WWII novel.
Gripping account of a bank robbery that went wrong. A group of friends amassed an arsenal of military-grade weapons to prepare themselves for armageddon. They tried to rob a bank, but all went wrong and a violent pursuit followed. This is part action thriller and part courtroom drama. It raises issues such as religious extremism, PTSD, and militarization of police forces that are still relevant today. An outstanding, suspenseful written story.
Sweeping, epic story that follows Victor Dalmay and his wife Roser over a span of more than 50 years, starting during the Spanish civil war. They escape and end up in one of the refugee concentration camps in southern France. From there they are able to move to Chile, with the help of the great poet Pable Neruda, where later on they witness the overthrow of Salvador Allende (Isabele's godfather and cousin of her father) by Pinochet. They again need to leave their home, this time moving to Venezuela, at that time the most properous South American nation. Eventually they are able to move back to the country they consider their homeland. A historical, absorbing tale.
Lydia runs a bookstore and has a son, Luca, and journalist husband who writes about the drug cartels. He and the rest of their family are murdered, and Lydia and Luca flee from the cartel’s Jefe and downfallen Acapulco and join the migrants who sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope in El Norte. They travel on La Bestia. This is a great story, full of misery and drama, but also humanity. A fantastic book for our times.
A young man who treasures MLK's words has big plans, but lives in the Jim Crow south. Elwood, and Turner, and many other boys, end up in a hellish reform school, where they intend to survive. Based on a true story, The Nickel Boys is heartbraking. The writing is phenomenal - plain but powerful. It stays with you for a long time.
Great story about old and renewed friendships, and observations about life and growing up. Cycling is a central theme, including two climbs up Mont Ventoux ,famous from the Tour de France, in their youth and later as they get together again. A feel-good, pleasant summer read.
I love this book! As her father was an exiled ANC member, she grew up in various African countries, and Canada and the USA, where she studied. Always pursuing her black African roots. After the end of Apartheid she returns "home". This is a beautitul, elegantly written, and at times moving story about belonging.
Fascinating story about Major Taylor, the first Black person to become a world champion in sports. Biking was then the most popular sport in America. The extraordinary Taylor was a heroic athlete who broke racial barriers, battling Jim Crow laws and attitudes, even those of his colleagues. Inspiring and riveting.
Beautiful, epic tale of World War II and race relations, following 3 characters. The war in the Pacific, Japanese prison camp, black tank battalion in Europe, and work at a shipyard in Mobile Alabama, are part of the story lines, set against a backdrop of race relations. This is a wonderful historical novel.
Extremely powerful saga! "Fox" grew up in an environment that led to petty crime, just to survive. While locked up he's convicted of murder, but is innocent, and spends 40 years in solitary confinement. This is a story about institutionalized racism and inhumane conditions, but also about hope, and his unbreakable spirit and remaining sane, about friendship and inspiring and helping others. A superb memoir!
I just loved this - couldn't put it down. Epic, gorgeous tale of two brothers dealing with family tragedy, justice, revenge, aborigines and bloodshed, and guilt. Set in the 1800's at the edge of the Australian Outback, where life and the environment are harsh, but so beautifully described. Great Read!
20-something Colin - punkrocker and zine publisher - decides to eat a 'slice of regular' at every Manhattan pizza place. He visits over 400 places, falls in love, gets sober, and gets attention all over the world. Included are some of the reviews - and they are funny. This is about his life, but leaves you craving for a great slice.
Beautiful story of the American west, set against the backdrop of the glorious Utah landscape. Fascinating portrait of the Wright family - several generations raised cattle, and they are arguably the most successful rodeo family in US history. Great tribute to rodeo culture and the US west. This story is certain to please you.
He dropped out of college and has been driving a long haul truck for over 30 years, and wrote this great book about it. Could not put it down. He brings to life a seemingly mundane job in this rollicking story. Very entertaining!
Great thought provoking book about people and an event set in a country where people are considered to be so tolerant. But are they? How far would you go to protect your family? Hard to put down till the very end.
Captivating story about the most powerful US spy during the Korean war era. He set up his own spy network in Norht Korea, and was also very close to the South Korean president. A thrilling, true tale and account of the Korean war.