Britsoc: The British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Serving the British Expat community since 1920.

Beth’s Book Blog July/Aug 2015

Beth’s Book Blog July/Aug 2015


IMG_0227By Beth Johnson,  Boekhandel Van Rossum

Beth Johnson is the owner of Boekhandel Van Rossum (Beethovenstraat 32 in Amsterdam). Beth writes about and sells a wide range of Dutch and English books for children, young adults and mature readers.


Beth would also be delighted to receive feedback about her book recommendations.




Send Beth a Feedback Email
Beth would love to hear feedback from you.

22632889A Song for Ella Grey, David Almond

This lyrical retelling of the desperate love of the soul mates Orpheus and Eurydice re-establishes David Almond as one of the great Young Adult authors of our time.  This is a tale of first love in all of its intensity in a modern-day setting in the very north of England. It is a story which will twist your heart.


The Accident Season, Moira Fowley-Doyle23346358

All families have secrets.  The Accident Season takes that truth one step further in this brilliant Young Adult novel of a family who carries on with the proverbial stiff upper lip while disaster seems to strike at every turn.  Beautifully written, ghostly, tragic, uplifting – with all of the confusion, drama and passion of teens on the brink of adulthood.  This book will win awards.


22549636Arsenic for Tea is the second in the Wells & Wong Mystery series for 10 to 12 year olds. See also the first adventure, Murder Most Unladylike, and First Class Murder, the third instalment which should be published in 2016. Detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are home for a school holiday with Daisy’s parents Lord and Lady Hastings. But something is clearly not right at the country manor house and when one of the guests falls fatally ill, the detectives move into high gear.  Great fun!!


My Brother is a Superhero, David Solomons3011

Great for all readers of classic comic strips who aspire to become the next Batman or Superman. When comic-mad Luke climbs back into the treehouse he left minutes earlier, he discovers that his nerdy brother who is only interested in maths has been zapped with superpowers and charged with saving two worlds from imminent destruction.  Hilarious, warm, and sure to win the hearts of both boys and girls, ages 8 to 12.


61VENuuaP7LHope in a Ballet Shoe, Michaela and Elaine DePrince

I had the opportunity to attend the Dutch National Ballet’s Cool Britannia programme last week where Michaela DePrince performed in two of the three of the British-choreographed dances. Now well-known as a rising star ballerina, Michaela began life as an abused orphan in Sierra Leone who at the age of four was adopted by a devoted American family.  Appropriate for young adult and adult readers, this is a simply written memoir of Michaela’s discipline and dedication to dance and, later, her determination to break through the traditional resistance to using black ballerinas in classical ballet.  She is an inspiring role model whose perseverance and the support of her family have helped her rise above adversity.


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley22929563

This sparkling novel is a wonderful mix of intrigue in international politics, magical mechanical creations, emancipation and pre-determination of the future!  Thaniel  Steepleton, telegraph clerk at the Home Office in 1883, is nonplussed when he discovers a gold pocket watch of peculiar design on his pillow. But when the watch saves his life, Steepleton seeks out the Japanese immigrant Keita Mori who introduces him to mechanical inventions, music and futurology.  The plot thickens but is great fun.  Highly recommended !


TheSunlitNightUKcoverThe Sunlit Night, Rebecca Dinerstein

In this quirky debut, Dinerstein explores family ties by thrusting her rather typical New York characters, a young artistic woman searching for her place in life and a Russian Jewish immigrant struggling to maintain balance between family loyalty and his own future, out into the world. The distant, barren landscape of the land of the midnight sun in Norway offers the chance of finding the love that gives comfort and refuge. Their summer at “the top of the world”  is warm and  brightly yellow with the paint of art installations.


The End of Days, Jenny Erpenbeckend_of_days_cover

Jenny Erpenbeck’s work has received several literary prizes and is now shortlisted for the Europese Literatuur Prijs, an award funded by independent bookstores in the Netherlands and Belgium. Boekhandel van Rossum is active in the selection of the long list. Exploring themes of time, memory, loss, and fate, The End of Days explores the various courses the main character’s life could have followed, using this construct to depict five moments in European history.  Poetically written and philosophically nuanced, this is a moving novel of the 20th century.


Note from the editor: Beth is a people person who listens closely to the needs of others. She would love to hear feedback back from you about her book recommendations so that she can tailor her next set of suggestions more closely around your needs, and that of our readers. Please drop her an email today, if only to say thank you for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share her love and enthusiasm for books.

Send Beth a Feedback Email
Beth would love to hear feedback from you.


IMG_0204Beth Johnson is the owner of Boekhandel Van Rossum (Beethovenstraat 32 in Amsterdam). Beth writes about and sells a wide range of Dutch and English books for children, young adults and mature readers.

Please feel free to visit here newly expanded store.

Beth's Bookstore | Boekhandel Van Rossum
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