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#Essays The Fire This Time



Introduction: Jesmyn Ward

  1. Ms Ward tells us James Baldwin inspired her as a wise father.
  2. His essay Fire Next Time is the basis of the title of this book.
  3. Baldwin was the widest read African American writer of his time.
  4. Baldwin’s  essay The Fire Next Time sold more than a million copies in 1963.
  5. The staying power of this essay, even after 57 years
  6. ….is his writing style.
  7. He personalized the large conflicts which made it a fascinating read.
  8. Not preachy…but straight from the heart!
  9. If you haven’t read this essay, please do.
  10. ….I’m sure you will not forget it.


Kima Jones (1982)

  1. Homegoing, AD  (poem, prose)
  2. Title is taken from an old African-American belief that
  3. death allowed an enslaved person’s spirit to travel back to Africa.
  4. I loved the humorous observation  that
  5. …indicates
  6. “Here’s the down south story we didn’t tell you…”
  7. “When did everybody stop eating pork
  8. “…when all women become Nefertiti bangles and headwraps
  9. …and all us named like Muslims.”


Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah (1982)

  1. Essay The Weight  is  about James Baldwin.
  2. Ghansah writes of her decision to visit James Baldwin’s
  3. …former home in the south of France.
  4. She is one of the most brilliant essayists writing in America today.
  5. Take the time to READ her Pulitzer Prize winning essay for feature writing:
  6. The Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof


Wendy S. Walters (??)

  1. Lonely in America (essay)
  2. Ms Walters remarks on how little she considers the reality of slavery.
  3. Her avoidance, in fact, comes from denial of slavery’s ugly truths
  4. …and its existence throughout America,
  5. Ms Walters ends the essay with her investigation of an African
  6. burial ground recently found in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
  7. There is a sharp sting in her words….


Isabel Wilkerson (1961)

  1. Where Do We Go From Here?
  2. This is a very short piece of prose…not even an essay.
  3. Wilkerson describes the “continuing feedback loop”
  4. ….that sees progress for civil rights, followed by
  5. …a great downtrend, and repetition of these trends.
  6. It feels like no matter where African Americans live….
  7. geography could not save them.


Honorée Fanonne Jeffers  (1967)

  1. The Dear Pledges of Our Love: A Defense of Phillis Wheatley’s Husband
  2. This essay describes Ms Jeffers research.


Daniel José Older

  1. This Far: Notes on Love and Revolution  (letter form)
  2. …this is Older’s letter to his wife (Natassian) and future child.
  3. Natassian wants Older to explain to their unborn children why he writes


Natasha Trethewey 

  1. Theories of Time and Space 
  2. The speaker begins with the expression, “You can get there from here”
  3. but warns that the journey will always take the reader to unfamiliar places.
  4. This idiom is  used by persons being asked for directions
  5. …to a location that cannot  be accessed without complicated directions.


Edwidge Danticat

  1. Message to my Daughters
  2. Edwidge Danticat’s essay begins with her trip to Haiti.
  3. Danticat and her friends survey the dusty refugee camps.
  4. She reconsiders this idea of refugee
  5. in light of a housing project in her Brooklyn neighborhood.
  6. That residence and  the school she attended,
  7. operated like a refugee camp by treating people as temporary.


Garnette Cadogan

  1. Black and Blue
  2. This was so interesting!
  3. As a preteen, Cadogan  developed his after-dark walking habit
  4. and sometimes stayed out until sunrise, to his mother’s dismay.
  5. He describes walks in his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica
  6. …his college town on New Orleans.


Emily Roboteau

  1. Know Your Rights –  essay on urban murals
  2. After the Charleston shooting in 2015 Ms Roboteau
  3. ...takes her children to see the recently reopened
  4. …High Bridge in New York City.
  5. The bridge connects the Bronx with Harlem
  6. …and was closed for over forty years.
  7. She tell her kids to notice and enjoy the
  8. ….world around them when they leave home.


Kiese Laymon

  1. Da art of Storytellin
  2. Laymon has one of the best ‘hooks’ in all these essays:
  3. Kiese Laymon’s essay begins by describing Catherine, his grandmother,
  4. enacting her morning routine before
  5. …working as a “buttonhole slicer at a chicken plant”.
  6. Laymon wants to find his ‘voice’ in his writing.


Mitchell S. Jackson

  1. Composite Pops
  2. This hits the reader ‘right between the eyes’.
  3. Jackson’s essay begins by asking how boys without fathers
  4. …spell the word father.


Clint Smith (1988)

  1. Queries of Unrest
  2. Picture this…I’m walking in the morning sun
  3. …taking photos and minding my own business.
  4. When this one sentence stopped me in my tracks:
  5. “Maybe that’s because when I was a kid
  6. a white boy told me I was marginalized
  7. and all I could think of was the edge of a sheet of paper
  8. …how empty it is –“
  9. Wow, what an observation…what a gut punch.
  10. I immediately looked up ‘Clint Smith’ and
  11. I had book credits to burn.
  12. His collection of poems “Counting Descent” is just 1 hr 2 min.
  13. But once I heard his voice….so intense.
  14. I knew I had to have this book and take Clint with me on my walks.


Kevin Young

  1. Blacker Than Thou about Rachel Dolezal‘s blackface.
  2. …this is a hilarious essay



  1. This book is an excellent introduction to so many
  2. young African American writers 
  3. writing themselves into the world and
  4. into the future and being committed to a future.


  1. Ms Ward explains why she edited this book.
  2. Highlights a few of the selections and
  3. ….hopes with her book
  4. “…a reader might see those like me anew.”
  5. Ms Ward:
  6. “All these essays give me hope. I believe there is power in words. .
  7. Maybe someone who didn’t perceive
  8. ….us as human will think differently after reading this book.”


Last Thoughts:

  1. I listened to the audio book
  2. but felt I was missing so much
  3. …of these excellent essays.
  4. I ordered the Kindle book….and that is the best way
  5. ….to savour these  talented writers.
  6. #MustRead….you won’t regret it!



#Non-fiction Rage


Finished: 19.09.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A+++++++


  1. As ex-pat living in Europe I often tell myself
  2. USA politics: “Not my circus, not my monkeys”.
  3. But no matter how often I say this
  4. I cannot get “this monkey” off my back.
  5. This is my 10th book about Donald J. Trump in 2020
  6. ….and it will be my last.
  7. I’m done with Trump…done with this monkey.
  8. Bob Woodward has given me the ‘gold standard’ about Trump
  9. Now it is up to the voters to decide the future of the USA.
  10. I agree with Woodward’s assessment:
  11. “Trump is the wrong man for the job.”
  12. #MustRead


Last thoughts:

  1. I always read Trump’s tweets with a grain of salt.
  2. Tweet: dd. 18 September 2020 (…3 days after publication)
  3. Bob Woodward’s book is very boring & totally obsolete
  4. Didn’t even talk about the recent Middle East deal. Just another
  5. tired, washed up, Trump Hater, who can’t stand that I have done so much,
  6. so quickly.”
  7. Trump is in constant attack mode.
  8. PPS: 14 August Trump called Woodward to ask if the ME Deal would be in the book
  9. …but Woodward explained the manuscript was already sent to the publisher.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: RIP


  1. 6 km done – (06:20-08:00 hr)
  2. I was awake  at 5:40
  3. ….checked twitter and my heart sank.
  4. Justice Ruth Ginsburg dies weeks before election.
  5. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.
  6. I don’t know whether to grieve or fight.
  7. It has been 84 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was
  8. nominated and confirmed in an election year.
  9. This is a tradition I am afraid Mitch McConnell and Trump want desperately to break.
  10. I’ve decided…fighting is winning out.
  11. We can grieve when it’s over.
  12. I hope out of the deepest fiber of my being that the USA makes the right choice.
  13. Will Republican Senators break ranks and refuse to vote for a justice before 03 November?
  14. This is their opportunity to show us that they do have a soul.
  15. Sorry for my political rant so early in the morning but this
  16. …feels like the book “Alexander and the…Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day“.
  17. But the children’s book leaves the reader with a hopeful message:
  18. …every bad day comes to an end, eventually.
  19. I leave you with a hopeful sunrise!
  20. Leeuwarden, The Netherlands Foto: 07:14


Rest in Peace  (1933-2020)




#Non-fiction Compromised


Finished: 16.09.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A+++++



1. Impressive!
Russian government’s goal is to weaken the USA
…to diminish America’s global role
…to neutralize a perceived USA threat to Russian interests.


2. Right now Russian security services and their proxies have
geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election.
— Trump’s attempt to cause chaos by telling his supporters to vote twice
— Trump’s attempt to sabotage the post office to prevent mail-in voting
— Trump’s attempt to discredit mail in voting, a long-standing and reliable method.


3. Peter Strzok’s experiences with the Trump Administration
makes it clear whose side Trump is on!


Last Thoughts:

1. Trump ruined Strzok’s career as an FBI counterintelligence operative
….for purely domestic political purposes.
It is hard to read….and I’m sure even harder for
Strzok to accept the injustice he has incurred.


2. Strzok’s book is a warning to us all…
If the president or anyone else impedes or subverts the national
security of the United States in order to further domestic,
political or personal interests
…that is more than worthy of your attention.



# Non-fiction Donald Trump v. The United States


Finished: 11.09.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A+++++


Giving Trump presidential powers is so alarming
…according to M. Schmidt…that advisors and staff were
trying to STOP the president causing permanent  damage to US

Trump in the White House

…it is the political equivalent of

…lending your fragile vintage convertible
to the red-eyed, rager-throwing seventeen-year-old down the block.



Last Thoughts:

Excellent….I stayed up until 0200 am to finish the book last night.
I could not put this ‘political thriller’ down!!


#Non-fiction White Too Long



  1. Drawing on history, public opinion surveys, and personal experience,
  2. Robert P. Jones delivers an examination of the
  3. relationship between American Christianity and white supremacy.


What is white supremacy?
It is not hooded men running around burning crosses.
It is a set of practices informed by the belief that
white people are valued more than others.

White Too Long is about R. Jones’s journey of gradual personal awakenings
to these realities.

What is on the line in the election 2020…in simple terms?
People are worried(white Christianity) about
— the changing face of America
— longing for a time when white Protestantism was the undisputed cultural power.

What is the current situation 2020 in a nutshell?
There are “…ripples signaling a deeper current.”
….racism, Anti-semitism, Islamophobia and tribalism politics.

Like water rushing through a failing dam…this energy represents
the cumulative claims for justice that have been held back
by the sheer dominance of white Christian America.


What is the core message?
This book…
ILLUSTRATES  how the white christian beliefs and practices
are dependent on the UNACKNOWLEDGED African American presence.
DOCUMENTS the centuries-long commitment to white supremacy within White Christianity
CALLS FOR an honest reckoning with this complicated-painful-shameful past.

Moment of humor….had to laugh!
Page 101
“…Jesus had to be white.
No proper white christian would let a brown man into their hearts
….or submit themselves to be a disciple of a swarthy Semite.”

GOOD INSIGHT: last paragraph at the end of chapter 3
see page 105!! ( the book!)

Chapter 4: I learned about
— the pseudo-historical negationist ideology “Lost Cause” (course in basic white supremacy 101)
UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy)
— they placed 780 Confederate statues/plaques/Tiffany stained glass windows in churches in local communities (….100 removed in 2015 after massacre in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church and many more removed after George Floyd’s murder on 25 May 2020)
— history, design and deeper symbolism of the Confederate flag
— support for slavery, white supremacy and new meanings for its use today (21st century)
I was clueless about this powerful symbol!

Strong point: up-to-date (…including G. Floyd’s murder, Trump’s assimilation with a white supremacy base)

Strong point: golden opportunity for the reader to confront a violent and unflattering past in US history

Weak point…IMO: discussion about the historical role prominent white Christians (Rev. Basil Manly Sr. chapter 3), churches and seminaries had in creating and sustaining white supremacy. It was a part of the book that did not interest me. Advice? …skim through these pages but don’t give up on the book. It gets better!

Strong point: Chapter 5
R. Jones dares to approach some very delicate questions!!
How prevalent are racist and white supremacist attitudes among white Christians today? Interesting and complex statistics are explained at a level that every reader can grasp. You’ll be surprised by the results!

Strong point: Chapter 6
Robert Jones takes the reader on a visit to inspiring new museums and memorials.
If I lived closer to Mississippi and Alabama I would love to  visit
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Macon Mississippi
The National Memorial for Peace And Justice, and
The Legacy Museum both in Montgomery Alabama (see Google for more info)

Strong point: Chapter 7
The author ends the book with a very good analysis about responsibility, repair.
He uses the Bible reference of the curse of Cain to indicate
who really bears the responsibility for reckoning the past.

Page 231:  ‘good quote’
“The challenge for white Americans today
…especially white Christians is whether
and how we are going to answer the questions:
“Where is your brother?”
“What have you done?”

Trivia: title “White Too Long”
This is a reference to James Baldwin’s New York Times Op-Ed
The Price May Be Too High February 2, 1969

Baldwin says:
“ …this country’s white population impressed me….
they have been white, if I may put it so, too long;
they have been marked to white supremacy too long….”

This book is absolutely stunning
…in its honesty, analysis and writing skills of Robert Jones

I happened to watch CNN interview with Christine Amanpour and Mr. Jones.
I was swept away by the author’s  blunt assessment of white supremacy
which is based on his stellar theological credentials:
PhD in Religion from Emory College
MDiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

I’ve read several “tell-all” books this year about Trump and his Administration.
But this book towers above them all….

White Too Long speaks to the problems
we are facing now with all this  racial injustice in our headlines these days!
Forget Trump…he supports white supremacy, you and I both know that.
Educate yourselves….as to what we all can do to cure this cancer eating away
…at our Society.






#Summer Lockdown…August?

August 01

No walk this morning….it was raining at 05:00 hr so that was an easy decision. Temp 21 C and it so humid! I had to turn on airco in bedroom just to flip mattress and put on clean sheets….without succumbing to the oppressive air. Not used to these Florida weather conditions! So busy day….clean house etc and of course Saturday begins with #NeedCoffee + croissant! …oh, here is #Caturday painting by New England artist Serena Stevens.


August 02

5.6 km – done (05:23-07:05)…walked slowly…and had many foto opportunities!
Enjoying my coffee on this wonderful Sunday morning…thought we’d have a cloudburst just now…but as Leonard Cohen said: “There’s a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in!” Sunrise is officially at 05:55 and I just missed it, but nevertheless I still think this snapshot is beautiful. Foto: 06:06 hr


Look who sat just waiting for me on a fence. I haven’t see him before! So quiet, so serene….I’ll call him Frits! Foto: 06:35 hr.

I moved closer….but he just sat there enjoying his foto shoot. Foto: 06:37 hr. #NeedCoffee…. een tweede bakje! (second cup)
PS Love the green backround and the calico colors in his fur.


August 03

5,6 km – done (05:23-06:53)
No clouds, no rain so time sto slap on my walking shoes. Temp was nice 13 C…but there is a heat wave coming this week.
I was a little late for sunrise at my usual stop, so here is the first light at the duck pond. It looks like a sunset instead of sunrise! Foto: 05:49 hr.

Well, if this cat face dosen’t scare the bejesus out of you…I don’t know what will! Bruno says: “ I iz in da’ house.” Foto: 06:35 hr. Time to head back home….#NeedCoffee

Books:  REVIEW

August 04

5,6 km – done (05:13-06:45)
It was dark this morning…sun is an rising at 06:05 and huge storm clouds are still hanging in the sky. One lonely car parked in Elfstedenhal car park….always makes me nervous to see something out of the ordinary….but bravely walk past it. Full moon….foto 05:45 hr


I look over my shoulder to see the sun breaking through cloud cover. Foto: 05:59 hr. Everything starts with a sunrise but it Is what we do before it sets that matters.


Heat wave is coming…so this will probably be the last majestic cloud photo for a few days. Love the heat…but boring skies….with few photographic oportunities! Foto: 06:18 hr. I have a cat breathing down my neck on the back of my chair….he want’s his breakfast! #NeedCoffee


August 05:  READING…

No walk today…weather is perfect but my grocery delivery time has been changed to 07:00 am. Wah? Time to catch upon my reading…a great Canadian writer Emily St.John Mendel “Station Eleven”. Get the e-book or the paperback…you will be astounded how talented she is.
Written in 2014… did she know about a virus then? Spooky!

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime (King Lear). That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again.
Written in 2014… did she know about a virus then? Spooky!


August 06

5,6 km – done (05:15-06:53)
Unbelievably warm this morning (05:30 hr)…and it is only going to get hotter….our first real heat wave of the summer.
I could hear construction behind WTC building at 05:30 …probably they are all on “tropical heat wave” working schedule. No cats or dog walkers today…sort of a ho…hum morning walk. Here is sunrise at the duck pond. Foto: 05:48 hr.

You have to look closely in the sky but there is a “geese flying team“ practicing ‘touch-and-go’ (take off and landing). I could not take a better photo because they sneaked up on me and I still had my sunglasses on. So, this is a ‘hit-and-miss’ attempt at photography.


But further in the field…. I saw the group commander (Harry the heron)….literally keeping a close eye on the new flying recruits(geese)! #NeedCoffee …and must turn on the air conditioner. Keep cool, Netherlands!


August 07

5,6 km – done (05:23-06:39)
Walks during a heat wave are just 1 hr 15 min long. No clouds, animals are staying in their shelters to keep cool….not many photo opportunities. The duck pond is the place to be for subtle pre-dawn colors. Sunrise is officially at 06:10…this foto is 05:39 hr

Sunrise in a heat wave….not beautiful…just a foreshadowing of the day to come! Foto: 06:06


August 08

5,6 km – done (06:25-07:40)
Late start after a terrible warm night….sleep at 10 PM…awake 01-02 AM…sleep…awake 03 AM…sleep etc. I was glad to get out of bed and take a walk! Temp was 22 F (71 F) at 0630 and 24 C…now. Emergency water giving to all plants and pray they survive this week! With a blistering sun hanging in the sky….it has an antiseptic sting. Nothing is moving on land…only on water. Foto today is of my faithful swans. They manage to stay refreshingly cool . I will miss them in the winter. Foto: 06:45 hr



Mork insists on sleeping in his cramped carrier in 30+ C heat!!


Formula 1 ….qualification in UK Silverstone. #Heineken and snack!


August 09

5,6 km – done (05:23-07:20)…walked slowly and took many photos. Temp: 20 C….very humid but around 0700 a breeze began to blow. I was never so happy to see some cloud cover to temper this heat!
Sometimes there is nothing to see, but this morning cats, joggers, dogs and cootlings were everywhere! Sunrise was almost a duplicate of the one on 02 August (see foto). I expect a change in the sky Wednesday…..thunder showers always follow a heat wave. Foto: 06:08

As I continued my walk…the cloud cover became thicker….this reflection was stunning but unfortunately the backround is less attractive…solar panels Foto: 06:40

I’ve been walking almost daily since April….and have cultivated some friendships along the way. Remember Kevin and his mother Coot sitting on the nest? Just look at him now…swimming. At times I am speechless to see such love in the eye of a mother Coot…her boy is still having a bad hair day….but he is the most beautiful cootling to her! Foto: 07:01 hr


A day without cats? Well….unthinkable! I found this one on the end of my street…with some definite cat-titude. I call her Beyoncé. Foto: 07:17 hr

What a diva….she’s bored already! Foto: 07:17hr


Beyoncé…She can shade you with her eyes! She’s trying to get me in a position of weakness…. by not buying into this tired trap of a ‘cute cat photo shoot’!
Beyoncé: ” …we’re done here…and mic drop!”
Foto: 07:18 hr. #NeedCoffee


Just because I love photography…I want to share this amazing shot of #MaxVerstappen. WOW!


August 10

5,6 km – done (06:40-08:15)
Late start…muggy night and sporadic spurts of sleep made me turn off my alarm clock around 03:00 hr. I’ll walk when I wake up. Streets and bike paths are bustling with “woon- en werkverkeer” (commuters). During this heat wave I’m not getting up at dawn for is just not interesting to see the sun pop up and blind me in the eye! So today…some snapshots of the landscape. Foto: 07:35 hr


Mother nature knows how to protect her creatures….this hare blended into the backround I hardly noticed him! Look at that muscular body, rugged fur….a real #ToughGuy in the meadows! Foto: 07:35 hr


August 10

Reading…French  Les années by A. Ernaux

#20booksofsummer20 Reading French with best friend in the middle of a heat wave #canicule 32 C…airco full blast. “Les années” by Annie Ernaux

REVIEW  Les années



#Summer Lockdown….second wave?

July 18

5,6 km – done (04:33 – 06:33 hr)
Walk slowly, wait 10 minutes for the sun to rise….and it was worth the it! I wonder how many people saw this utterly magnificent sunrise! I was speechess. The sun was veiled with a sheer cloud and resembled a sunset….the colors were so warm. Official sunrise: 05:33 Foto: 05:47 hr. The sunrise in these beautiful colors lasted just 5 minutes…but I have captured it for eternity!  “Sauve quelque chose du temps, où on ne sera plus jamais” ( Annie Ernaux, book Les années, 2008)



I took this photo at the last minute…love geese and it looked like the sunlight was just perfect. But I did not think it would turn out this well! I have to choose a good back round to give the photo composition a polished and peaceful look. Those irritating solar panels just above the reeds (NL: de rietkraag)…seem to ruin many shots. The reeds, the rippling water and the way the geese swim in perfect rows of 3 (…expect the one straggler)…was just a gift to this amateur photographer! Foto: 06:15 hr


July 19

5,6 km – done
I really wanted to stay in bed this morning but I knew I would be ridden with guilt the entire day. Very quiet Sunday morning (…no noisy trucks rushing veggies to the grocery stores). Temp 18 C (64 F) at 05:00! Some days the sun wants to stay in bed as well… Foto: 05:28 hr


July 20

European  Coot

We have 3 types of friends in life: friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime. Carla is a friend for life! There are other coots hiding in the reeds but when I whistle…Carla swims to greet me! Foto: 06:13 hr


Summer in The Netherlands

Now if I had a boat this would be the perfect place to moor parallel alongside the quay or bank. This place is on the outskirts of town…walking paths/bike paths close by and in a 10 minute walk you are in town for a shopping day or coffee. Imagine waking up ….hearing the birds…and perhaps seeing me meandering by! Foto: 06:22 hr. #LoveTheReflection….in the mirror-like water.

Best Friend

Coffee and croissant with a friend….best way to start the week!


July 21

5,6 km – done
Good news – walks start later and I feel I’m experiencing a normal sleep cycle. Last month I felt like a dairy farmer who has to get up so early to milk the cows….Exhausting after a few days.
Bad news: more traffic, bikers and the rabbits have gone down their rabbit holes.
Sunrise (05:37 hr…you have 16 hours of sunlight to enjoy!) was hidden by some passing clouds…so I keep walking and hope to catch the light later. Foto: 05:54 hr


Heading South soon…?

One on the most haunting sounds of nature is hearing the low ‘honk’ of geese flying. It is always a sign that summer is here…but winter is coming. These geese were out for a practice formation flight before making their long trek south in a few months. As you can see they need to log in some flight hours to pull the team together in the familiar V-formation. #NeverGiveUp Foto: 05:52 hr


July 22

5,6 km – done (04:50-06:40 hr)
Struggled to get out of bed….but once I’m outside and sniff the morning air I’m glad I decided to put on my walking shoes. For the first time a car stopped to speak to me! It was a van for a security firm (beveiliging). He said I see you every day…and I said “I see you too….and it gives me a ‘safe/secure feeling’. Response by the gentleman: “That’s my job!’ Sunrise Foto: 05:35 hr


Who are you?

Not much happening in the fields and duck ponds this morning. A few bikers on the path but that’s it. My best fotos today were taken just out side my front door! This ‘rode rakker’ (Dutch for red cat) was doing his morning round….checking out the street life. Foto: 06:38 hr


Finished: 22.07.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: D
Bad news: parts 1-3
The low score is because of the false advertisement surrounding this book.
About 60% of this book is about her father Freddy Jr., it is a sad, irrelevant story.
Good news: part 4….powerful analysis of D.J. Trump that I very much enjoyed.
Buy the book?….wait and borrow it from the library



Classic… I never thought I would read….b/c I dislike V.S. Naipaul as a person after reading a revealing article about his dysfunctional marriage. Nobel Prize in Literature 2001 for “Bend In The River”. Short review:…/classic-bend-in-the-river/

July 23


After a late night “at the Irish theatre” ( watched streaming performance ‘The Weir’ on You Tube)
good news:…I was able to recharge my sleep batteries
bad news: I have a very upset cat who is not liking his ‘eating schedule’ being descimated. My response? “ Tell it to the Marines!” (Tell it to the Marines” is an English-language idiom, originally with reference to Britain’s Royal Marines, connoting that the person addressed is not to be believed). Still I wanted to share with you my 30 seconds of calm…swans. #NeedCoffee

July 24


I have waited months to capture a blue heron, and today is my lucky day! Here is Harry…just chillin by the Elefstedenhal skating rink pond! 70% of herons in The Netherlands breed in our province (Friesland, see Google) known for its canals, lakes and wetlands. These birds do not head south in the winter…b/c our winters feel like a very cold Spring…so no need to fly to Benidorm, Spain! Foto: 07:40 hr

July 25

Every cloud has a silver lining and this was a beautiful sky…crisp, clear with volatile clouds in the distance. I was able to protect my camera from the downpour...but must invest in a waterproof carrier bag very soon! Foto: 07:21 hr


July 26

Art:good read in The New Yorker

Hopper depicts solitude….not loneliness.
By being separate, we belong together


Art:  Van Gogh

Location of Van Gogh’s last painting “Boomwortels” (tree roots) painted (…sadly unfinished) hours before he committed suicide in 1890, is discovered by Dutch art expert. Place: Auvers-sur-Oise


July 27

5,6 km – done (05:23-06:43 hr)
Very slow ‘photo’ morning….I was out walking early. The duck pond gives you and idea what is to come…rain, again. Foto: 05:39 hr

Not even  Bruno was  interested in me!


July 28

You always hear…“scattered showers expected”...and it seems they all fall on my head. Second drenching this week…and beware those little pixels on the rain radar….’buienradar’…are very big and wet! Foto: 06:24 hr



EXCELLENT home made tomato soup
…from scratch! Dinner in 30 minutes!
Makes 3-4 servings (…depending on size of soup bowl)

Sauté in 2 TB butter…in soup pan
1 onion chopped
handful chopped celery( leaves)
2 garlic (crushed)

Sprinkle 1,5 TB flour…..mix
add 2 c. water + 1 tablet bouillon
add 14 oz can tomato chopped
a…couple squeezes of tomato pasta from tube (test for taste)

add at the end….1 TB fresh pesto (optional)
add couple squirts Balsamico vinegar
add small squeeze honey!

July 29


Your 30 seconds of calm.….my garden.


July 30

5,6 km – done (05:15-07:15 hr)
High pressure means clears skies and capturing a sunrise is a challenge. It creeps up on you…but the days are 1 hr 15 min shorter than on 21 June! Foto: 06:08 hr (official sunrise 05:51 hr)

The March Hare:

This was just a rabbit on the run. I’m surprised I even got a decent foto of my furry friend. Foto: 06:10 hr
This reminded me to the March Hare…who appears to be late for his job with the Duchess (Alice in Wonderland)

July 31


5,6 km – done (05:27-06:45)
So quiet this morning…many people are on vacation and Friday is often a day people are off from the workweek. The sun was creeping over the treetops around 06:00 hr. Only one friend was prowling the grassy path…I call her Stella. Foto: 05:37 hr #NeedCoffee


Now for something completely different…

Well, just when I thought no more photos….I run up against a car with eyelashes! Really, not painted on the hood…real curls…I touched them to make sure! It seems it is a car from a dog walker…lots of hairs and dog blanket in the back seat! #NeedCoffee and a good book.  Foto: 06:59 hr



#French Les années Annie Ernaux



  1. I will use a quote by a
  2. reader Susan Clark Germaine on
  3. who just finished the book yesterday.
  4. She took the words right out of my mouth:
  5. “…very long and tedious, and I had to force myself to continue to read it.”
  6. There were some strong points (see review) and
  7. …some memorable quotes but all in all this book was
  8. …not worth the effort it took to read it in French.
  9. All credit to Ms Ernaux for creating such a complex book.
  10. There is so much reality (politics, philosophy, literature) mixed into her memoires
  11. …it is just a bit too much to take in.
  12. She overwhelmed this reader to the point that
  13. …I was struggling to finish the book.
  14. But….at least I’m reading again!


Strong point: Nice feature of Ernaux’s writing
…she takes the reader into a shoebox of photographs
…of the past and guides us with her memories.

Book is filled with….
“…les sentiments, images et sensations…”

1940s – The book spans the time frame from the author’s birth in 1940 up to 2006,
and moves from her working-class upbringing in Normandy to her years teaching French literature in a lycée….living in the Parisian suburb of Cergy, raising two sons and eventually divorcing.

1950s – Ernaux writes both personally and collectively, situating
her own story within the story of her generation,
without ever confusing the two.
There is no “I”…..only “one” and “we”.

1960s – emphasis of politics and how the younger generation will
be able to create a better future

1970s – the ideals of May ‘68 convert themselves into
objects (fridge, Hi-Fi music player, color TV), entertainment and starting families.

1980s – the desire to vacation without the husband and children
Fluctuating between the desire and fear of losing everything.
Wife and mother contemplating….divorce.
Ready for anything to regain, find the desire of a future.

Weak point: Difficult to stay engaged with this book.
There is not really a traditional story.
It is just a continuous summation of life lived
1940s-2000 with some ah-ha moments:
1960s transistor
1980s deaths of Barthes, Satre, Beauvoir, assassination attempt Pope John Paul II
Surprised Chernobyl is cover in one sentence…this was a major incident!
1990s – Mitterrand dies, Marguerite Duras dies….mobile telephones.
‘Elle’ …her last lover…her last retreat.

Note: this is NOT a ‘touchy-feel-ly’ fictive memoir….it is filled with
references to literature, philosophy, existentialism, politics, protests, sit-in, gender issues, French Algeria (Harkis, Pied-noirs)
revolution/liberation (May ‘68 in Paris, Chili, Cuba, Vietnam, Czechoslovakia)

Strong point: page 166 Ms Ernaux describes the moment she decided to write this book.
A book like ‘Une Vie’ 1940-1985….’le destin ( the fate) de la femme’
She wants to re-live the passage of time in and around her in the
dispossession of (freeing oneself) people, things and events.

Last thoughts:
I have been taking photos during my daily walks during the COVID Lockdown.
It was a way to enjoy life that is still within a 5 km radius from my home.
The last sentence in this book reminded met of the importantce of photos:
“Sauver quelque chose du temps, où on ne sera plus jamais.”
Save something of time….where we will never be again.



Classics Club Spin #24

I can’t look…..what is the number for #24 CC spin?


My list:

  1. Les années  – Annie Ernaux  – READ
  2. Rien où poser sa tête – Francoise Frenkel
  3. Je suis le carnet de Dora Maar – Brigitte Benkemoun
  4. La petit fille sur la banquiese – Adelaide Bon
  5. Et tu n’es pas revenu – Marceline Loridan-Ivens (Prix Lectrice Elle 2016)
  6. L’étrange défaite – Marc Bloch  (French historian, resistance, written 1940…published 1946)
  7. I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey – Langston Hughes
  8. The Tradition – Jericho Brown (poetry)
  9. Nganajungu Yagu – C.P Green (Victorian Premier’s Prize Poetry 2020) (ALS Gold Medal 2020
  10. A Fool’s Errand: Creating the Nat Museum African American History and Culture – L. Bunch
  11. Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and My Music – Archie Roach
  12. The Yield: A Novel – Tara June Winch
  13. Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder and Memory In Northern Ireland – P. Keefe
  14. Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For – Susan Rice
  15. The Sixth Man: A Memoir – C. Wallace
  16. The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to Border Wall in the Mind of America – G. Grandin
  17. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
  18. Deacon King Kong – James McBride – SPIN!!

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK‘A hilarious, pitch-perfect comedy set in the Brooklyn projects of the late 1960s. This alone may qualify it as one of the year’s best novels.’ The Washington Post

  1. North River – Pete Hamill (1935-2020)
  2. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaisto (Booker Prize 2019)




What is the spin?

  1. Compile list of 20 books by Sunday 9th August.
  2. Try to challenge yourself.
  3. Deadline:  30 September ….finish book and review it
  4. Hashtag: #ccspin