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Posts from the ‘Messages’ Category


#Xmas 2021

  1. This is crazy!
  2. I just ordered a Xmas present for my friend in USA
  3. ….estimated time of delivery…22 Nov-08 Dec!!!
  4. Santa Claus better order dubble expresso’s if he is going to survive
  5. the supply chain delays or strikes by postal delivery companies!!
  6. 68 more #XmasShopping days left….

Spring?…it doesn’t feel like it!

Nothing was going to stop me from biking this morning…not even a spot of rain! I covered the camera in plastic, pulled my cap on and connected the IPOD to my audio book. Yes I got wet but the feeling of my leg muscles burning off the pandemic pounds was worth it! Update: 5 week no sugar, coffee, alcohol, buttered toast and jam…
I had a difficult day yesterday…urge for sweets….so grabbed a grapefruit…sweetest thing in the house! Wind mild 8kts (11kph, 7 mph) temp 6 C (42 F). Sun was doing its best…but lost the fight with the clouds!
If you look closely at the previous photo you can see a single bird.…drifting in the water. It is a common merganser (North American) or goosander (Europe)… a large seaduck. It is the first one I’ve seen. I loved the contrast of his beak and ‘crazy hairdo’ with the diagonal lines in the water. You can even see the pearls of water rolling of his back! This has to be my “lucky shot” of the day!
May be art of tree
Covid: 2020…2021 so many things have been cancelled. But one thing is sure: “Spring Cannot Be Cancelled” by David Hockney. Happy First Day of Spring! I could look at this painting for hours!
On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquility for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at La Grande Cour, the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year earlier, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art.
David Hockney’s new book “Spring Cannot Be Cancelled”  will be published on 27 April 2020 with 142 color illustrations
Decided to take my chances and climb this lookout post. Steps were slippery… but  I got some great photos from this vantage point!
I think this a my “lucky shot” of the day...beautiful duck surrounded by a golden pond. The illusion is … seems the duck is swimming in the reeds not water! Stunning!
This is my “lucky shot” today…the lines of the trees, the perspective... the emerald green grass…and the sun slipped behind some clouds to give the photo a diffused light. The church tower in the distance draws the viewer’s eye, just beautiful! I’ll take this photo again when the trees are in their summer glory. Time now for tea…. I have survived 4 weeks without coffee, sugar and chocolate. That means…just 20 more days….then Lent is over and I can celebrate with a cup of JAVA on Easter!
Celebrated #ReadingIrelandMonth21 hosted by @cathy746books:

March 2021

  1. Poem:  “Still”  – Felicia Olusanya (aka FeliSpeaks)  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  2. Anseo – Úna-Mingh Kavanaugh  REVIEW  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  3. Why the Moon Travels– Oein DeBhairduin  REVIEW#ReadingIrelandMonth21
  4. Ulster American – David Ireland  REVIEW  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  5. Irish Short Stories – J. McGahern, W. Trevor, C. Keegan   REVIEW #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  6. Don’t Touch My Hair – Emma Dabiri    #ReadingIrelandMonth21


And of course….I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in lockdown!

May be an image of one or more people, drink and text that says 'Put some whisky in my coffee because it's Ireland somewhere. som ee cards user card'



Meteorological Spring…

Meteorological Spring today…but it didn’t feel like it! Cold east wind (…damn Russians) that stings my face. The fog has lifted but still it’s 50 shades of grey.


My feet are still frozen from a long bike ride…b/c it was brutal in the winter fog! Temp 0 C wind was clam WNW but still….very cold. Initially I wasn’t going to bike today…but I made a commitment in Lent…daily bike rides with the exception for rain/wind, no need to catch pneumonia!
But here are the REAL die-hards….sitting on the shore with a fishing pole! I was glad I was moving on a bike to keep warm!
This is a typical Frisian Farmhouse…. it looks so gothic, so isolated …in the mistl It is a “Head-Neck-Body farmhouse”: residence (the head) and a kitchen (the neck) placed in line in front of a big shed (the body).
Earlier this week ….I rode by a typical farm raising the famous Holstein Friesians cows…best milk in the world! They are known as the world’s highest-production dairy animals. USA and Holstein Friesians: were introduced into the US from 1621 to 1664. The eastern part of New Netherland (modern day New York and Connecticut), where many Dutch farmers settled along the Hudson and Mohawk River valleys.
No farm in Friesland is without the famous “Stabyhoun” gatekeeper! Boy, this guy had me in his sights the minute I got off the bike to take a picture. #NoNonsenseDog
I promised this would be the year of dogs…so I mustered up the courage to see if the stabyhoun (…I call him Leroy) would agree to some portraits. He’s a tough negotiator! He still stays near the farm…not sure if I know the ‘secret password’ that would allow me to approach.
Just look at that face! This guy means business!
Now the tension is over….Leroy settles down in his ‘waakhond’ (watchdog) mode. He sees I’m not a threat…just an amateur photographer…biking…chasing off the blues, so Leroy let’s me live!
  1. I feel better today after putting yesterday in my memory box.
  2. Met a neighborhood cat in front of the house,
  3. stopped to pet her and got to feel her fur…so soothing.
  4. Yes….It has been a sad couple of days
  5. ….luckily I took this last beautiful picture of Mork on Valentine’s Day.
  1. RIP Mork (2010-2021)
  2. …you have left me so suddenly.
  3. I could not help you anymore.
You were such a great companion
Loyal and true
My heart will always wear
The pawprints left by you.

Well…I’m still here.


I thought the Election in November 2020 would do me in
…then came the Georgia Senate races (2 democratic candidates in a Red state!)
…then came the insurrection on The Capitol 06 January 2021 (….now we learn it was a planned attack)
…then came the decision to BAN Trump from Twitter
then the  Deutsche Bank cut all ties with Trump and Co. Trump owes them 400 million dollars!
…you have to be really shady if DB doesn’t want you as a client.
…Deutsche Bank makes deals with the devil!
…then came the impeachment.

I am a confessed news junkie and must admit scrolling the twitter page
until  0200 AM has taken its toll.
( …the USA news kicks in….just when I should turn off the lights and go to sleep!
I just could not face another  ‘fake’  video message from Trump  before he leaves The White House and turned off the TV.


Good news?  all the above have kick started SPRING CLEANING…and the house is
starting to sparkle.  I must admit I’ve been very lax with household chores.


I was just getting back to some serious reading after the US  Presidential Election tension
…..then 06 January happened. The Insurrection  in Washington D.C. shook me to my core…and felt like the  moments in history that  will leave haunted:  JFK, MLK, Robert Kennedy assassinations and 9/11 attack.
I could not open a book.


So life goes on…Washington DC  looks like the Green Zone in Baghdad  Iraq
…more troops there than in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
…Inauguration  Joe Biden happened without any more violence in DC.
…will the Senate convict Donald Trump for insurrection and citing mob violence?
…of course not.
…January was the deadliest month in USA with 90.000 covid deaths. Let that sink in!!                Sometimes I just cannot bear to turn on the news….but I must.
The nation will get through this but the scars are visible.


Here in The Netherlands... the pandemic continues
The FULL lockdown has been extended for another 3 weeks.
The British variant of the virus is in the country….and people are
afraid it will spread exponentially…as it has done in the UK.
Remember…we get have intense ‘lorry traffic’ between UK and NL  as a port of
entry to the EU for goods and foods.


The NL cabinet has placed us in  a curfew (9 pm – 0430 am) 24 Jan – 09 Feb in an effort to
further cut down on contacts between people and so reduce the spread of the virus.
This is the first time this draconian rule has been implemented since WW II  1945!                                We will hear tomorrow if the curfew will be extended beyond 10 February.                                            Our health guru Jaap van Dissel wants to limit social contacts
given that half the infections with a known source
happen within a household and 36% derive from visits.


So that is just  life in a nutshell. I did manage to   read 5 books in January:

  1. Girl, Woman, Other –  Bernardine Evaristo  – REVIEW
  2. Heads of Colored People – Nafissa Thompson-Spires  (12 short stories)  REVIEW
  3. A Black Women’s  History of the United States – Daina Ramey Berry  REVIEW
  4. AI  Superpowers – Kai-Fu Lee – Excellent!  5 star
  5. Society 4.0 – B. de Wit – Review


...but I hope to  get back to regular postings….soon.



  1. It’s time for me to have a break from this ol’ book blog.
  2. … it’s doing my head in and
  3. I need more time to just read and relax.
  4. 2020 was an exhausting year!
  5. I will be updating my Challenges 2021 
  6. …list with my reading progress.
  7. If you want to  reach….I’m still on twitter @nl_burns.
  8. I’ll return in the Spring
  9. …with my books, walks and foto’s!
  10. It’s time to hibernate and #NeedCoffee
  11. Live well, be safe, wear a mask
  12. for the love of all that’s holy
  13. …it’s not too much to ask.



  1. Girl, Woman, Other –  Bernardine Evaristo  – REVIEW
  2. Heads of Colored People – Nafissa Thompson-Spires  (12 short stories)  REVIEW
  3. A Black Women’s  History of the United States – Daina Ramey Berry  REVIEW
  4. AI  Superpowers – Kai-Fu Lee – Excellent!  5 star
  5. Society 4.0 – B. de Wit – Review


#2020 Good Riddance!!

  1. Even by dismal standards, it has been a shocker of a year.
  2. Pandemic, lockdowns, economic slump, apocalyptic wildfires
  3. …in Australia and USA and the most divisive
  4. …bitter US election in living memory


But it is time to think  of 2021…

  1. You can always stay connected via:
  2. Twitter: @nl_burns



  1. Brona @Bronasbooks for #AusReadingMonth21 (November)
  2. Karen @Books and Chocolate #BackToTheClassics 2021
  3. #BlackHistoryMonth (February)
  4. Cathy @746Books  #ReadingIrelandMonth21 (March)
  5. #NationalBookAward 2019 -2020 (winners and finalists)
  6. #PoetryMonth (April)
  7. #DutchLiterature (8 NF books I hope will be translated soon…)
  8. #AWW2021  @AustralianWomen WritersChallenge
  9. #TheEdithReadalong2021 @BronasBooks  (November)
  10. #NonFicNov  (non-fiction weeks) (November)
  11. #NovNov @746Books (novella) (November)


  1. So it is time to hit the reset button
  2. …and finally enjoy the long-awaited  2021.
  3. Here is my challenge 2021 reading list .
  4. Here is my monthly planning 2021
  5. Happy New Year 2021!


#Reading Challenges 2021

  1. A little too early to pop open the bubbly?
  2. I don’t think so.
  3. After a year we all want to forget
  4. …I am excited and eager to start afresh.
  5. Books will get me to a sunnier Summer 2021 where we all
  6. can enjoy all the things
  7. …we used to take for granted!


January – December 2021:

  1. 19th C Classic: Iola Leroy   REVIEW F. E.W. Harper (1892) 
  2. 20th C Classic: The Ways of White Folks: Stories  – Langston Hughes (1934)
  3. Classic by woman: Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel – Z. N. Hurston (1937)
  4. Classic in translation: The River Between – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1965)
  5. Classic BIPOC Author: The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison (1970)
  6. Classic new Author: Palace Walk: The Cairo Trilogy –  Naguib Mahfouz (1956)
  7. Classic favourite Author: Notes of a Native Son – J.Baldwin (1955)
  8. Classic animal in title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou(1969)
  9. Children’s Classic: The House of Dies Drear – Virginia Hamilton (1968)
  10. Humorous Classic: Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes (1930)
  11. Travel Classic: The Lonely Londoners Sam Selvon (1956)
  12. Classic Play: Funnyhouse of a Negro  – Adrienne Kennedy (1964)



  1. Tara June Winch   The YieldREVIEW
  2. Ali C. Eckermann – Too Afraid to Cry: Memoir of a Stolen Childhood
  3. Miranda Tapsell – Top End Girl
  4. Karen Wyld – Where the Fruit Falls
  5. Kirli Saunders – Kindred (ordered from AUS)
  6. Nardi Simpson – Song of the Crocodile (ordered from AUS)


February: #BlackHistoryMonth

  1. The Dead Are Arising – Les Payne – REVIEW
  2. How to Make a Slave and Other Essays  – Jerald Walker   REVIEW
  3. A Black Women’s  History of the United States – Daina Ramey Berry  REVIEW
  4. Another Country – James Baldwin
  5. Dying of Whiteness – Jonathan Metzl   REVIEW
  6. A Promised Land – Barack Obama  REVIEW
  7. The Awkward Black Man – Walter Mosley  REVIEW



  1. Poem:  “Still”  – Felicia Olusanya (aka FeliSpeaks)  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  2. Anseo – Úna-Mingh Kavanaugh  REVIEW  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  3. Why the Moon Travels – Oein DeBhairduin  REVIEW   #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  4. Ulster American – David Ireland  REVIEW  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  5. Irish Short Stories – J. McGahern, W. Trevor, C. Keegan   REVIEW #ReadingIrelandMonth21


April#Poetry Month

  1. Jay Bernard – Surge
  2. Jericho Brown –  The Tradition   REVIEW
  3. Danez Smith – Homie
  4. Danez Smith – Don’t Call Us Dead
  5. Shane McCrae – The Guilded Auction Block
  6. Yusef Komunyakaa – Neon Vernacular
  7. Fiona Benson – Vertigo and Ghost
  8. Borderland Apocrypha – Anthony Cody –
  9. The Essential Gwendolyn BrooksG. Brooks



  1. Viet Thanh Nguyen – The Committed
  2. Daphne A. Brooks – Liner Notes for the Revolution
  3. Hisham Matar – The Return
  4. Robert Jones jr. – The Prophets
  5. Zadie Smith – White Teeth
  6. Cathy Park Hong – Minor Feelings (essays)
  7. Teju Cole  – Open City
  8. Nafissa Thompson-Spires –Heads of Colored People – (12 short stories)  REVIEW
  9.  Wallace Terry – Bloods 
  10.  Walter Mosley  – The Long Fall (The First Leonid McGill Mystery)    


June:   #NationalBookAward

  1. The Yellow House Sarah H. Broom  (memoir)
  2. Wayward LivesSaidiya Hartman (criticism)
  3. Magical NegroMorgan Parker (poetry)
  4. Know My NameChanel Miller (autobiography)
  5. Everything Inside: StoriesEdwidge Danticat (fiction)
  6. LOT: Stories – Bryan Washington (finalist)
  7. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies – Deesha Philyaw (finalist)



  1. Clint SmithHow the World is Passed (June 2021)
  2. The Awkward Black Man – Walter Mosley (short stories) 
  3. Sweat – Lynn Nottage – 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  4. Ruined – Lynn Nottage – 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 
  5. Topdog/UnderdogSuzan-Lori Parks
  6. Disgraced – Ayad Akhtar 
  7. The Piano Lesson – August Wilson
  8. While Justice Sleeps – Stacey Abrams (May 2021) (CF)
  9. Sombody’s DaughterAshley C. Ford (June 2021) (memoir)
  10. There There – Tommy Orange (debut novel)   REVIEW



  1. Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion Jia Tolentino (essays)
  2. Trust Exercise Susan Choi (fiction)
  3. The Sixth Man Andre Iguodala (memoir)
  4. Girl, Woman, Other –  Bernardine Evaristo  – REVIEW
  5. Solitary Albert Woodfox
  6. Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli (fiction)
  7. Afropean: Notes from Black Europe – Johny Pitts –  Leipzig Book Award 2021
  8. Unworthy Republic – Claudio Saunt (Native American history)
  9. Memoiral – Bryan Washington (fiction)


September:  Dutch Literature   

  1. Indo – Marion Bloem  (NL-Indonesian)
  2. Mijn ontelbare identiteitenSinan Çankaya (NL-Turkish)
  3. Wij slaven van SurinameAnton de Kom (NL-Suriname)
  4. Reizigers van een nieuwe tijdAbdelkader Benali (NL- Moroccan)
  5. Wie Was IkAlfred Schaffer (NL-Aruban) P.C. Hooft-prijs 2021 (poet)
  6. Wees OnzichtbaarMurat Isik (NL-Turkish)  Libris Prize 2018
  7. De Tolk van JavaAlfred Birney (NL-Indonesian) Libris Prize 2017
  8. Revolusi – David van Reybrouck (Belgian historian)


October #TheEdithReadalong21

  1. Grand Days
  2. Dark Place
  3. Cold Light


November: #AusReadingMonth2021

  1. Stan Grant – Talking to my country
  2. Archie Roach – Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and My Music
  3. Stan Yarramunua – A Man Called Yarra
  4. Tony Birch – White Girl
  5. Omar Sakr –The Lost Arabs
  6. Omar Musa – Millefiori 
  7. M. M. Morsi – The Palace of Angels 
  8. Paul Collis – Dancing Home
  9. Kim Scott – Taboo
  10. Victor SteffensenFire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management


Back to the Classics 2021 Reading List


  1. It’s back…for the eighth year!
  2. Back to the Classics 2021  reading challenge.
  3. Sign-up  and challenge information
  4. …is available  Karen @BooksAndChocolate


Here is my reading list:

1. 19th C Classic: Iola Leroy (Penguin Classics) by Frances E.W. Harper (1892)

2. 20th C Classic: The Ways of White Folks: Stories (Vintage Classics) by Langston Hughes (1934)

3. Classic by a woman: Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)

4. Classic in translation: The River Between (Penguin African Writers) by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1965)

5. Classic BIPOC Author: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)

6. Classic by new-to-me Author: Palace Walk: The Cairo Trilogy, Volume 1 by Naguib Mahfouz (1956)

7. Classic not read favorite Author: Notes of  Native Son (Penguin Modern Classic) J.Baldwin (1955)

8. Classic with animal in title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969)

9. Children’s Classic: The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton (1968)

10. Humorous Classic: Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes (1930)

11. Travel Classic: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) by Sam Selvon (1956)

12. Classic Play: Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy (1964)


Lockdown  reading






#First Touch of Winter…

  1. The Netherlands is trying to manage the
  2. covid virus with pragmatic leadership…and keeping a cool head.
  3. The Dutch are smart people and realize we just have to get through the winter.
  4. We closed ALL bars and restaurants since 15 October
  5. …and we are bending the curve of the virus!
  6. They will remain closed until at least 01 December.
  7. We are desperately trying to create an environment
  8. in which some Xmas celebration is possible.


UPDATE:  12.11.2020

  1. The Netherlands and USA were  similar
  2. ….of course the difference  in population
  3. …calculation has been made
  4. USA is 19x more than NL.
  5. On Nov 1 2020 the number of hospitalizations were the same (see calculation)
  6. On Nov 8 ….after NL has had lockdown since 15 October (all bars/restaurants closed)
  7. NL:  hospitalizations  decreased and are still decreasing.
  8. USA: hospitalizations increased 20 % !!

Where it started:   30 Sept – 13 Oct

Where it is now: 28 Oct – 10 Nov


  1. Great news….NO fireworks will be allowed on New Years Eve 31 Dec – 01Jan.
  2. That is just a harrowing tradition here and the noise goes on until 0200 am sometimes.
  3. People (…like me who enjoy quiet)….all cats and dogs are jubilant!
  4. This is quite a bold decision to reduce the pressure on hospitals,
  5. care givers, police, firemen…
  6. …they have enough to do besides sweeping up all the chaos.


  1. I lost all reading-focus during the Spring/Summer.
  2. I took walks, took photos, listened to audio books and
  3. wrote some Covid Journals on this  book blog.
  4. I just had to write about my feelings to process them.
  5. Now, since September I have been able to get back to a reading schedule
  6. thanks to some challenges
  7. #AusReadingMonth2020, #NovNov and #NonfivNov.


  1. NL: our R-number is now down to 0,91 (was 1,4)
  2. we still have 20/25regio’s niveau ‘very bad’ and 5 niveau ‘bad.
  3. Masks are worn in all public places (stores visits to medical centers etc),
  4. luckily libraries are still open..that helps people remain sane.
  5. We are feeling the tug toward a time of hibernation,
  6. descending into darkness with Persephone. (FOTO)

#AusReadingMonth2020 Sign-Up

  • I cannot wait to start #AUSReadingMonth2020!
  • @Bornasbooks
  • This day has been circled on my calendar for two reasons:
  • enjoying reading Australian  writers
  • enjoying being physically fit  living in my ‘covid’ bubble!



  1. I am going to follow Brona’s lead ….and use her template for a sign-up post.
  2. I am just too exhausted…
  3. …following  USA election coverage 24/7) to create something different.
  4. Brona has put time an effort into organizing this challenge and
  5. …inspiring me yet again to read AUSSIE!
  6. Many thanks, Brona!
  7. This year I was  blown off course by the covid tsunami
  8. ..and lost many reading weeks.
  9. I did write ‘Lockdown Journals’ and review a few books.
  10. I just could not concentrate and
  11. keep my focus on fiction while reality was in my face!
  12. I did manage to read a few books….but not many Australian writers.
  13. I hope to make up lost time during #AusReadingMonth2020.


For AusReading Month I plan to finish and review:

  1. I thought to shake a few things up…I’m doing a bingo card
  2. concentrating on a single genre.
  3. I am trying to do a POETRY bingo card!
  4. Reading poetry…
  5. …takes more concentration and research than a novel!
  6. The up-side….the books are between 60-80 pages!


  • QLD – Comfort Food – Ellen van Neerven
  • FREE SPACE – Argosy – Bella Li
  • TAS – Another Love, Another LifeGraeme Hetherington,
  • SA – Ruby Moonlight – Ali Cobby Eckermann
  • NT – Dew and Broken Glass – Penny Drysdale
  • ACT –Things I’ve Thought To Tell You Since I Saw You Last – Penelope Layland
  • NSW – Waiting for the Past – Les Murray
  • VIC –  Empirical  – Lisa Gorton
  • WA –  Nganajungu Yagu – Charmaine Papertalk Green – READING


For AusReading Month I plan to finish and review:
  1. I going to try to complete a 2nd bingo card!
  2. I told Brona…I’m going ‘whole hog’  and then some!
  3. My bingo card genre will be non-ficton.
  4. These books will double as options for Non-Fiction November
  5. I will try to read the Walkley Award 2020 longlist.
  6. The winner will be announced
  7. …Walkley website ( from 7pm AEDT on Friday, November 20.  


The longlisted titles are:

  • NSWAfter the Count (Stephanie Convery)
  • VIC – City On Fire (Antony Dapiran)
  • VIC – Hazelwood (Tom Doig)
  • VIC – Buckley’s Chance (Garry Linnell, Michael Joseph)
  • QLD – Body Count (Paddy Manning)
  • FREE SPACE – We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know (Sophie McNeill)
  • VIC – Fallen (Lucie Morris-Marr) – READING
  • SA – Penny Wong (Margaret Simons)
  • NSW – The Altar Boys (Suzanne Smit).


For AusReading Month I plan to finish and review:
  1. Depending on my energy level in November
  2. I may start…a 3rd bingo card!
  3. My bingo card genre will be fiction.
  4. I may not finish this card….I will plan a few books:


  • QLD – An Item From the Late News (Thea Astley) – READING
  • FREE SPACE – Pearly Gates (Owen Marshall) – New Zealand


  1. Who am I
  2. Nancy Burns
  3. Where  do I live?
  4. The Netherlands