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Beth’s Book Blog | Summer Reading 2016

Categories: Beth's Books, Bikes, Books
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Summer Reading

161426Take some time this summer to read the Young Adult books of Meg Rosoff, recent winner of the most prestigious Children’s and Young Adult award,  the ALMA, a sort of Nobel prize for younger readers. Rosoff’s books are for ages 13+ and are highly regarded by adults as well.

Start with How I Live Now, her debut which was recently filmed.  Just in Case is also wry, sad and very funny as is Jonathan Unleashed about young people just starting their first jobs in New York. A quirky author like no one you’ve every read!

Fates and Furies
, Lauren Groff.  Obama phoned the author to tell her this was his favorite book.

Little Life, 
Hanya Yanagihara – A sad but beautiful novel of friendship.  This is a long book to savour during your holiday.  Something very different and special.


Before We Met, Lucie Whitehouse – A terrific thriller that will have you guessing until the end.

The Improbability of Love, Hannah Rothschild – A dirty painting discovered by the lovelorn Annie McDee turns out to have an amazing historical background. A great summer read about art, food, and history – as well as daring to fall in love again.



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.
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Cyclists Beware

Categories: Bikes
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by Andy Symmonds


routeverwijzing_fietsdepotThe Amsterdam Gemeente have managed to develop another money raising scheme that may also bring some benefits to the somewhat congested areas of Amsterdam. You may have noticed that parking areas for bicycles (and those pesky scooters) have been allocated with the drawing of white lines to designate these spaces.

Parking outside these boxes, even if they are as packed full as they usually are, now leads to the risk of your bike being kidnapped and held for a €15 ransom. This happened to me last week when I popped into the Apple store on Leidseplein to buy a new router. Service was prompt and I left the store in less than five minutes to discover media_xl_2138559that my bike was missing. My immediate thought was that it had been stolen, then I spotted it on the back of a Gemeente vehicle along with several other just kidnapped bikes. Pointing out that the bike had not been there for more than five minutes and that the neighbouring designated parking areas cut very little ice with the hostile kidnappers – their idea of help was to point me to the nearest board showing the details of who to call. Many bike owners will naturally assume that their bike has been stolen and report it to the police first, thus wasting time and effort for everyone.

After several attempts I was finally able to connect to the phone line that informed me of where my bike would be taken. This is where the adventure began. Once I had confirmed that my bike was at the fiestdepot at Bornhout, I had to take the wonderful combination of tram, train and bus to reach this destination (not a particularly swift img_7525process). Arriving at the fietsdepot then led to the search for the bike, and after paying the €15 tax we were reunited. The cycle home wasn’t exactly short or fast but at least it was quicker than public transport and healthy as a bonus.

The reason for writing this piece is to alert Zine readers to the fact that they now need to be more careful where they park their bikes, no matter how short the stop is. The Gemeente are clearly taking a hard line and will kidnap your precious transport in the blink of an eye. The focus is likely to be in the city centre, but as another revenue opportunity who knows how quickly this initiative will spread.

You have been warned.