Last night I did something new - I tagged along with the Dutch girl next door, Meral. She is heavy into swingdancing. Yes, they still do that, you could even say it is going through a revival! With jazzy tunes and clothes from the 1920s - 1940s, they tap their feet and swing along. Normally I'm quite a dancer, but this was way out of my league. Jazz for me is not real dancing music, but they all went for it, very cool to see. Meral even teaches it, so although I didn't do any dancing last night, I think I'm practically obliged to go to one of her classes.
Her friends were all lovely people and with one girl, Inken (a West-Frisian name! Her parents are German) I really clicked, she studied English literature and did a media degree as well, so we had a lot in common. We talked about books and history and we found out that we both loved Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke!
It's a great book - a history/fantasy novel, but very different from what you expect when you hear 'fantasy'. Yes, it has fairies, magicians and alternate realities, but in the end it is just British! The setting is England in the late 1800's during the French war. The main plot is about 2 English magicians working on the revival of English magic. This process is regarded by every character in the book, including the magicians themselves, with an air of British up tightness, suspicion and curiosity at the same time. You can imagine that this leads to very funny and comic situations. I highly recommend the book. By the way: Sophieke, if you read this... Don't buy it ;) I will make sure it will be your Christmas present if you don't have the book already.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, together with Schijnbewegingen made me aware of the fact that I've read quite a lot of history novels, but haven't really read the original writers of those eras. That's why I plundered the bookshop yesterday and placed orders for a lot of classics! Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare (I've never read Othello and that is the piece where my name Jago comes from, it's appalling!) and Edgar Allan Poe. Luckily most of them are cheap Penguin pockets, so no real damage to my already depleted funds.
Because! I did my Christmas shopping! It took me yesterday and today to find stuff for Jan, Ak and Job, but! I've got it and it's on its way as we speak. I hope everything arrives before they leave for Belgium. Only time will tell, I guess.