Guest Post #4 – Book Read ‘Round the World: Iris from The Netherlands shares her Book Hobo Experience

World Map 3 (EA)The Enchanted April = Red Pin
Journeyed from Groningen, The Netherlands to Cayce, South Carolina, USA
Distance Traveled = 4287 mi / 6899 km
Total Distance Traveled to Date = 12182 mi / 19604 km

Guest Post #4
Iris from The Netherlands

Courtney at Stiletto Storytime has received her package from Iris so now I am free to post Iris’ guest post! After you read this post, go check out Iris’ blog, Iris on Books. She has made the 2010 BBAW shortlist for Best Eclectic Blog and Best New Book Blog. Courtney also has an amazing blog that features what her “Little Man” is reading and she has recently been published in Wink Magazine!

**Also, make sure that you sign up for the Book Read 'Round the World Giveaway. It is international and includes The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman and two pairs of origami earrings made by my wonderful cousin. It is open until October 1. My review of The Lunatic Express will be posted tomorrow!


Hello, this is Iris from Iris on Books. I am a Dutch book blogger who focuses mainly on literature (contemporary and classic), YA and non-fiction about religion and history. I find it hard to put up any adequate description of my blog, but I always love to make new blogging friends so feel free to leave me a note!

I am currently blogging from Sweden, and I was lucky enough to receive my package from Sandie Lee just in time to read the book and assemble my own gifts for Stiletto Storytime.

It was quite a thrill unpacking the package when it was delivered at my home address. Sandie Lee put in all kinds of small souvenirs from Canada and wrote down information on her country and the area she lives in on different postcards. It was really nice. I especially enjoyed the moose keychain!


And that is when the hardest thing about the Book Read 'Round the World Event started: I had to think of gifts for Courtney. I had a hard time thinking of nice but small gifts (postage in my country in crazy, I ended up spending 20 euros on postage alone). I didn't want to buy her typical touristy things, I'm sorry if that was what you were hoping for Courtney. The thing is, when you're from the Netherlands, you get fairly tired of being known as the country of the "wooden shoes, tulips, cheese, windmills, drugs and Amsterdam". So all of these things were a no go for me. Instead, I decided to focus on small things I enjoy about my country. That all became a little easier when I noticed Courtney has a son. It gave me the perfect opportunity to include Miffy by Dick Bruna. Miffy is I am sure a well known children's figure worldwide, but originated in the Netherlands. I actually told myself I could read because of these books when I was just 3. Because I knew the stories by heart I pretended to read them while turning the pages in time with the story. I hope Courtney's son enjoys the story as much as I did when I was little, I am of course not sure if it works as well in English as it works in Dutch.

Apart from the Miffy book, I bought Courtney a "Jip and Janneke" shopping bag, to stick with the theme of bags that seems to be going on during this event. I felt most uncertain about this gift. It is childish, I know and in the end I think I bought it more because of my own fond memories of these illustrations.. I used to collect these items and Jip and Janneke is a very well known children's story in the Netherlands as well. Ask anyone, and they will show you their ragged copy of the book. Or at least that is my experience. I also included some "dropjes" which is translated in English as liquorice, but I have always been told that it is only available in this variety in the Netherlands. However, shopping in Sweden showed me that the people who told me this might have been wrong.

And last I included a postcard that says "Lieve groetjes uit Groningen" (Kind regards from Groningen). Groningen is the city where I have lived these past 5 years, during my time at university. It is the biggest city in the North of the Netherlands, but not very well known. It is surrounded by grass and farms and so the sheep sees fitting.

All in all, I really enjoyed this event, it was nice getting to feel more in touch with bloggers from around the globe and I'm eagerly awaiting the other posts in the series. I do hope the event will be organised a second time. I did wish I could've included even more gifts and I'm sorry that I could not do so.


Before I forget, Sandie Lee asked me two questions about the seasons and wildlife in the Netherlands. Below are the answers to the questions Sandie Lee asked me:

“Here in Ontario Canada, we have 4 definite seasons; Winter/lots of snow. Spring/rain. Autumn/rain-snow mix. Summer/hot and humid. What is the climate like in your area? Do you experience definite seasonal changes as well?”

We do experience definite seasonal changes and like in Canada there are 4 seasons. I think the difference between the seasons might be less extreme though. Winter is cold compared to the United States for example, but we do not have snow regularly. There are years and years in which it only snows for a few days and then there are years like last year when it snows for 2 months. In winter we mostly hope for frost so we get to skate on what we call “natural ice”: lakes and small rivers that are frozen and we get to skate on. It has been years since we have had the opportunity to skate for weeks and have big events like the eleven city race, sadly.Spring is a mixture of sunshine and rain, while summer is usually sunny, but we have years in which it rains a lot (The Netherlands is similar to England in that it rains a lot over here). In summer the temperature usually ranges from 18-25 degrees Celcius. Autumn can be defined by two words: rain and wind.

“I’m a huge wildlife enthusiast – What different types of wildlife and birds do you have?”

This is a very hard question to answer. Why? Because the only thing that comes to mind when I think of wildlife in the Netherlands is that it is nothing special, at all. We do not have large animals and I do not know if there are any animals that are specific to our country. I think it is important to realize that there are living over 16 million people in a very small territory in this country. There are woods and large stretches of grass, but most of these areas are only 5 minutes away from a city. I think that what Holland is best known for are the many areas close to water and that is certainly true. I am not an expert on it though and I couldn’t tell you if any animals of interest live there. I do like the nature in my country and the way it looks, but I think for foreigners the most special thing is that a) it is incredibly flat, we have no real mountains, except a few very small ones in the south of the Netherlands b) there is water in the cities, which means that there are boats in most cities.

**Be sure to check back for a link to Iris' review of The Enchanted April. I will link it in this guest post when she posts in on her blog and it will also be linked in the Mr. MckLinky in my right hand sidebar. 
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