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Abigail (26)

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Journal of Abigail (26)

Friday December 30, 2005
08:09 PM

Three book reviews

[ #28180 ]
It's Christmas vacation, so I spend some time reading books. I finished three of them the past couple of days.

First I finished 100 mannen (100 men) by Mart Smeets. Mart Smeets is a sports journalist, and he has covered the Tour de France for about 30 years now. In this book, he describes 100 cyclists who have participated in the Tour de France - a short article for each rider. It's full with stories, amusing ones, heroic ones, many with a personal touch. It brings up a lot of memories - since the 1970s, I've spend countless hours in front of the TV every July.

Second, Amerikanen zijn niet gek (Americans aren't crazy) by Charles Groenhuijsen. Groenhuijsen is a journalist working for the Dutch television, who has spend the last 16 years in the USA. In the book, he describes how Americans are, and how they differ from Europeans. Unlike many others, he doesn't do it to poke fun at Americans, or to reiterate myths. Instead, he describes how the American society came to be, and why it's unlikely to change. His conclusion: America is a hard society with good manners, Europe is a social society with bad manners. I'd say, a must read for every European who easily ciritizes or generalizes Americans.

The book I finished today (well, technically, yesterday) is Watching the English by Kate Fox. I picked up the book during my 10 minute shopping spree on Gatwick when returning home from the London Perl Workshop. Kate Fox is an anthropologist who tries to describe what "Englishness" is. She has spend countless hours observing people queueing, ordering drinks in pubs, commuting to work, etc. She looks how people behave in work situations, at home, how they spend their free time, how they handle sex, etc, and describes everything in reoccuring rules. Quite an interesting read, and maybe next time I visit England, I can understand people better. (Yeah,, with my new knowledge, I just have to look at your clothes, or the car you drive in to determine your class).

Currently reading: The World According to Clarkson, by Jeremy Clarkson.

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