Dutch reads (Or: What have I read in Dutch in 2018?)

2018 was definitely the year of reading for me. In total I finished 19 books in Dutch and 11 books in English. Thanks in part to a re-read of the Harry Potter series, I must admit. The Dutch translations clock in at just over 3,000 pages for seven books!

Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore. Also a hefty read, it came in at just over 1,000 pages for the Dutch translation and was thus split into two parts. The best part? The Dutch translations were released in December 2017 and January 2018, whereas the English translation was not released until October 2018. One of those times knowing another language besides English has been beneficial for reading.

Harry Potter books #1-7: These are so well known I will not link to them, but I will say one thing that amused me was the name changes to fit better with the Dutch language. For example:

  • Dumbledore -> Perkamentus
  • Hermione Jean Granger -> Hermelien Jeanine Griffel
  • Ron Weasley -> Ron Wemel
  • Minerva McGonagall -> Minerva Anderling
  • Tom Marvolo Riddle -> Marten Asmodom Vilijn
  • Cedric Diggory -> Carlo Kannewasser

You get the idea. Of course, the change to Tom Riddle also meant some changes to the the second book’s spoiler of “I am Lord Voldemort”. In Dutch, his given name of Marten Asmodom Vilijn was revealed as an anagram for “Mijn naam is Voldemort”, or “My name is Voldemort”. Read more about the fun translators had with this bit of the second book.

But before I re-read the Harry Potter series, I read the screenplay for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There’s admittedly a lot of criticism for the series, understandably. Not the least of which because they play fast and loose with time turners! But I thought it was a decent read, and enough reason to go back and re-read the original series.

Spin trilogy by Robert Charles Wilson. In the first book, Earth suddenly finds itself behind a barrier, hiding the stars and other planets. Time moves very differently on Earth than it does everywhere else, with interesting effects. I definitely liked the first and second book, but was less drawn to the third (though I still finished it).

Concept M by Aafke Romeijn. A novel set in The Netherlands in 2020. The main character is “colorless”, a medical condition that causes skin to be a bit translucent and eyes to be a deep dark black. But society begins to panic when doctors predict that persons with the expensive-to-treat condition will be in the majority in the future, as more and more babies are born with it.

Weerwater by Renate Dorrestein. When I was almost finished with the book I remarked to Marco about how I found the language to be a bit difficult to get through. He laughed and said that was just how the author writes. In this book, Almere (an actual Dutch city that was “reclaimed” from an inland bay in the 1960s) is the only city left in the world. All that remains of the outside world is fog, and no one returns when they pass through it. Even worse, women can no longer seem to get pregnant.

You should have left by Daniel Kehlmann. A writer and his family are vacationing in a house in Germany. He jots down his thoughts in a notebook which he keeps – both thoughts on the upcoming sequel he is working on as the strange occurrences going on at the house. It looks more and more haunted each day.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I liked this one a lot. I’ve always liked stories of things taking place in tunnels and under cities and the like (possibly started by Gregor the Overlander many years ago). Neverwhere starts because a man does what most men would do – decide to help an injured person on the side of the street.

We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson. This author is also well-known for the excellent short story by the name of “The Lottery”. It’s about a reclusive family after an unspeakable tragedy kills the other half of the family. But the neighbors have always suspected that it wasn’t a tragedy at all – and that it was probably deliberate. The surviving family members’ routines are thrown into chaos when a distant relative arrives.

Everything’s eventual: 14 dark tales by Stephen King. A collection of short stories, all pretty good. For me, the only one that dragged was the prequel to the Dark Tower series. For the life of me, I couldn’t get into that one. I picked up the book because I wanted to read the short story “1408” (still need to see the movie at some point).

And now on to a hopefully successful 2019!

Categories: Reading | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Dutch reads (Or: What have I read in Dutch in 2018?)

  1. I’ve been thinking about reading Harry Potter in Dutch (to help improve my Dutch) but I think I have to get a bit better first.

    • It was a lot of fun (once I got past the name changes anyway). The first one is of course the easiest qua language, with it being a “B” book in the children’s section. But yeah, it can be difficult for a newer reader. And also intimidating to go to the kids section for books… especially when I was first looking and basically reading picture books, if you could believe that!

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