Guest Post #7–Judith from The Netherlands shares her Book Read ‘Round the World Experience

World Map 4 (LoPC)

Lost on Planet China = Purple Pin
Journeying from Utrecht, The Netherlands to Ringgold, Georgia, USA
Distance Traveling = 4370 mi. / 7033 km.
Distance Traveled to Date = 16400 mi. / 26393 km.

Guest Post #7
Judith from The Netherlands

Judith from Leeswammes’ Blog in The Netherlands has sent her package off to Julie from Book Hooked Blog in Georgia, USA but since there are no spoilers in Judith’s guest post, it’s time to share her Book Read ‘Round the World experience. Judith has a regular feature called Book Bloggers Abroad that she has been running for a good portion of 2010. She is also hosting the Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge in which people will choose from a list of favorite books her featured guests mentioned in their posts. Julie from Book Hooked Blog has some AMAZING things on her blog. Besides being a Hunger Games fangirl, she is rather crafty and has two gorgeous Great Dane puppies that I love to read about. Please check out both these ladies’ blogs when you finish here. They are great bloggers and I love reading their blogs!


I’m Judith from Leeswammes. My blog is mainly about books but sometimes I post a recipe too. I read a lot of different types of books  but especially contemporary fiction, literary fiction, mystery, chick-lit, and anything else I get my hands on.

About the package:

The package arrived on an evening when I’d been to a book reading at a book shop, and I’d forced myself not to buy anything. A good thing too because when I came home, Carina’s package was waiting for me.

When I opened the package, I found a neat pile of books and cards. When I unfolded and opened all this I found:
  • A nice smiley card with a personal message (and 3 questions, which I will answer below)
  • A very old book called Twenty Five Ghost Stories by W. Bob Holland. This looks as if it’s from the 1930s or so. Very current, with Halloween just behind us.

  • The book: Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost. The book looks in perfect state after having been read by Carin, Carly, and Carina and having travelled from the USA to the UK to Canada to The Netherlands. I tried to be careful to keep it nice. By the way, I was the first one to read this book whose name doesn’t start with “Ca”!
  • A bookmark with the text “Books Leave a Mark”.
  • A doorhanger with the text, “Shhhh…..I am reading for the MS Read-a-Thon!” and on the other side “Shhhh….. Je lis pour le Marathon de Lecture SP!”

  • A small children’s book: Pigs by R. Munsch who, Carina writes in her card, is one of the most famous and most prolific kids authors in Canada.
  • A Ride Guide. This is a public transit map of Toronto.
  • A book about Toronto, with lots and lots of pictures.
---After these two presents I just have to go to Toronto, it looks so nice!
  • A newspaper article about Word on the Street and a booklet about this event: a national book and magazine festival. I’m sure I’m going to be jealous after reading this!
  • A really nice poster saying “Freedom to Read Week”.

I was overwhelmed!

The Questions
The questions Carina asked were well thought-out, I thought.

What books would a Dutch child typically read (what books would be in the “collective knowledge” of most adults who grew up in The Netherlands)?

There are two series that are very popular. The first one is Nijntje (Miffy) which is also known around the world. This is for the smallest children. For the slightly older ones there is Jip and Janneke. In addition, when I was young, me and many other youngsters read a lot of Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish author of Pippi Longstocking.

Are there as many multilingual Dutch as they tell us over here?

Yes, a lot of people know several languages but not necessarily very well. Everyone in The Netherlands will get 4 years (or more) of secondary schooling in which English is required as a subject. Most also learn some French and German (I had 6 years of French and English and 4 years of German at school).

Also, we have a lot of English and American shows with Dutch subtitles. So, we are exposed to the original language and bound to pick up some words here  and there.

So even people who are not highly educated are likely to speak basic English. And if you get to the more touristic places, yes, then everyone will know their English and German.

What do most Dutch really think about pot smoking in Amsterdam?

Hmm, I don’t know what most Dutch think, but pot smoking isn’t something we all do. Some people seem to be into it a lot, especially 20-somethings with nothing better to do all day. Also, it’s very popular with tourists, as you can imagine.

I hate the smell. When I walked to work in Amsterdam I had to pass several “coffee shops” where they sell the stuff, and I really hated the smell. I can’t imagine any of my friends (in their 30s and 40s) smoking pot, but who knows? It’s not something that is happening in my circle of friends and family. I only notice the coffee shops in Amsterdam and other cities, but otherwise, it has nothing to do with me.

[I don’t think I got any information on Canada, so no “snippets of information”]

Shopping for Julie in Georgia, USA

I found it quite hard to find local things for Julie. I myself can’t stand very touristic things that you can find in many shops that only tourists ever visit. So I only bought from shops that I normally frequent.

A few items I got really early on, even before I got the book because I was keeping an eye open for something nice all the time. I was quite worried not being able to find enough nice goodies to go in the package.

When it was almost time to put the package together I combined this with shopping for the Great Grocery Bag Exchange. Combining the two made shopping a lot easier. Although I bought one item exactly the same for both packages, I was more inspired to buy local goodies this way.

A problem I had was that it was very hard to find anything in English that was still local. I didn’t succeed there  and included only items without text and one item in Dutch.

I also could not find a book in English by a Dutch author (which I had planned to include) so at the very last minute I found a novel on my shelves that takes place in the Netherlands but is written in English. I hope Julie will like it.

One Sentence Review of Lost on Planet China:
Initially a very lost traveler in China eventually becomes an expert China traveler compared to newbies.

Thanks for the great gifts, Carina. It was great to get your package. Thanks to Carin for organizing. A great idea and I loved reading the book. (Click HERE for Judith’s review of Lost on Planet China.)
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