Books, Random

The book you should read after seeing “Dunkirk”

dunkirk movie review

Last night, I went to see “Dunkirk” and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

From the first moment I saw the trailer, I knew I had to see this movie and see it on a big screen. You see, we don’t go to the cinema that often. It takes a lot of planning with two kids and a husband who works through the night. But we made it and I’m so glad we did.

If you know nothing about the historical events surrounding the evacuation from Dunkirk, you might want to do a little research, just to give you a bit of an idea. You might be a bit lost otherwise. They don’t explain it, you’re thrown right into the middle of it and have to figure it out on your own, like they had to figure it out on their own.

The story is told from three different point of views, three different timelines moving towards each other and once you see it, once you see how and what, it’s brilliant.

You have the men on the beach waiting, waiting, waiting…
A man steering his little boat across The Channel hurrying, hurrying, hurrying…
And pilots from the RAF searching, searching, searching…

A clock keeps ticking, ticking, ticking and then stops. We’re there and there’s hope.

The scale, the noise, the chaos, panic, desperation… it was all done so perfectly. Honestly, it hurts my heart to write all of this down.

This movie touched me.

Of course, I’m super interested in the wars, especially WWII because we talked about it so often in school. (My school was a hospital during WW II. In one of the halls where we used to study, they used to make gas masks.)

The story is so simple. 300.000 men on a beach, trying to escape the Germans who have them surrounded. 300.000 men trying to get home. You can almost see it from here.ย This movie makes you feel their fear. And you know that it’s real. You know that real people stood on those beaches waiting, waiting, waiting…

It was beautiful.

I want to see it again. Soon.

This movie tells the story from the British side and if you want to know more, I have just the book for you.

book Weekend at Dunkirk

Weekend at Dunkirk (Week-end a Zuydcoote) by Robert Merle.

It’s an old one. I read it in French at school but there’s an English translation as well. I’m not sure where you’d find it. It probably won’t be easy but if you ever come across it, you now know you have to pick it up!

Set during World War II, it follows Julien Maillat, a French soldier who tries to join the English Army on the Royal Navy flotilla to England by boat. No matter how hard he tries to make it, he and his French partners are hard pressed to get away as the fight is getting harder and the Germans closer and closer. – Goodreads

Have you seen Dunkirk?

Are you planning to go and see it?

words multilingual polyglot languages
Random

The Struggle of Being Multilingual

When I was little, 99% of our summer holiday travels took us to The Netherlands. I was that age where I made friends no matter where I went, but the fact that they all spoke Dutch made it even easier. We quickly moved passed my belgian accent and the differences in context for some words were hilarious. I even stayed in touch with some of them as penpals. I’m still friends with one girl, Madeleine, on Facebook.

keukenhof
Me at Keukenhof, The Netherlands

The few years where my dad felt a little more adventuruous took us to Germany (the year when Ruslana’s Wild Dances won the Eurovision Song Contest.. it’s the only thing I remember from that trip, just listening to that song for days on end) and Britain (Kent has some great gardens. My English-loving-heart was singing). One of our travels took us to France. It was the most miserable trip of my teenage years. Not just because I was in full teenage-turmoil, but because I hated French. (The language ofcourse, not the people)

You see, French is my second language. We have three official languages here in Belgium (Dutch, French and German) even though the country is only the size of a grain of rice on the worldmap. That’s why I started learning it aged eleven. We didn’t click. I was never any good at it. You have to understand that I love languages and not being able to get the basics right frustrated me immensly. The sentiment grew until I couldn’t bear the sound of it.

Back to our trip to France. I must have been fifteen or sixteen years old. We were visiting this medieval castle and my mother thought it would be a great way to practise my French if I went to buy the tickets on my own. I cheated. I ordered them in English.

good moaning allo allo
For me it was the other way around

Now, almost fifteen years later, I’ve gotten a little better at French. I understand just about anything if the person speaking isn’t going at a thousand miles per hour. I can read it too but I won’t go looking for French books. Most importantly, I can explain things now which is essential for my job. I still don’t like the language though, I don’t think I ever will. Speaking French is a necessity here. Even though our capital should be perfectly bilingual, most of the people living/working there only speaks French. They do, however, expect me to be bilingual. If you’re looking for a job, they’ll expect you to be bilingual. That means Dutch – French and unfortunately not Dutch – English.

Just because I can speak French, shouldn’t give other people the right to expect that from me, especially when they can’t speak Dutch. I mean, I can count to ten in five different languages (Dutch, French, German, Spanish and English). I didn’t mind trying to ask for the train schedule in Spanish when we went to Barcelona ten years ago. Then trying to think of all the things we lost at the police station after my dad got his backpack stolen. I can say hello in Greek, Italian and Russian. I love learning basic words whenever I travel to a country where I don’t speak the language. Words are my thing. I only wish I could decide when I want to adapt and not be forced into it.

Please excuse the rant. It’s just something I needed to get off my chest.

What languages do you speak? Can you teach me to say hello in yours?

Love

Ellen

Books, Random

Currently reading

I apologize for the lack of reviews lately. I’m currently making my way through the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and I want to do a series review when I finish A Court of Wings and Ruin. Which will be next week of the week after that.

I’m also slowly making my way through #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. When I started reading it I made such quick progress that I was convinced I would finish it in a couple of days. But apparently, they made a Netflix show, based on the book and that show, well let’s just say people weren’t very positive about it. Those reviews have seriously damaged my enjoyment of the book. So instead of a week, it has already taken me just under a month and I still have about 80 pages to go. I just can’t get myself to pick it back up.

I try to read as often as I can and reading the ACOTAR series has helped me pick up the speed a little. They are just so entertaining, not very well written but a lot of fun. I’m enjoying myself and I’m flying through them so…

See you soon!!

 

Have you read ACOTAR, ACOMAF and ACOWAR? No spoilers!! But did you enjoy them? Who’s your favorite character? Mine’s Rhys… He’s everything I love in a character.

Books, Random

Reality vs Fiction

Lately, a lot of the things you hear and see on the news resemble what you had previously only read in a work of fiction. Stories dreamed up by writers suddenly become real and honestly, it’s quite frightening. Because if one thing can become reality, what’s stopping everything else from happening too?

The most recent story I heard was this:

TV show contestants spend year in wilderness โ€“ with no one watching

(source: The Guardian, click here for the full story)

Basically, they dropped a group of people in the wilderness and left them to fend for themselves. After a while they stopped broadcasting the program but still left the contestants out there, for a year…

And all I could think was: “wait a minute, I’ve read this story before!”

I give you, The Last One by Alexandra Oliva. (buy)

A group of people is dropped in the wilderness where they have to survive. They stay on the show until they give up and the show runs until there’s only one person left. There are no fixed rules, no one knows when the show will end. And then the end of the world happens, without them knowing it. Needless to say, the show is no longer broadcasting. They carry on with no one watching.

Sometimes reality resembles fiction so much it scares me.

(The book was great by the way. If you like dystopian reads, this is just the book for you.)

Books, Random

2017 Reading Resolutions and Goals

Looking back on 2016

These were my resolutions:

1. Donโ€™t force myself to finish a book

I DNF’ed a few books this year and I did not feel guilty about it in the slightest. There are soooo many books I still want to read, I’m done wasting time on the ones I don’t connect with.

2. Read more Shakespeare

Didn’t get around to this unfortunately.

3. Read more YA

I read the Grisha trilogy + the Six of Crows duology. There was also Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, which I liked. Passenger, A Darker Shade of Magic, Between Shades of Grey, Salt to the See, All the Light we cannot see…

So I think I did well ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Stop wasting time on Pinterest/YouTube, read instead

This is still a weakness. I just love Pinterest and Youtube… But I did manage to complete my Goodreads challenge of 35 books so I’m happy..

5. Keep better track of the books I read

I’m still not very good at taking notes while I’m reading, mostly because I lose myself when I’m enjoying a book. I lose track of time and my surroundings and I just forget. ย I have kept track of the books I’ve read on Goodreads and that has helped me.

For 2017

I want to:

1) Read 5 Dutch books

There have been a lot of highly acclaimed Dutch books this pas year and I just really want to read them.

2) Reread 2 books

I want to reread The Song of Achilles and maybe the Night Circus.

3) Read a play

2016 was the year of the disaster that was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I refused to read it, I never will. I want to read a play, I’m still figuring out which one.. Recommendations are welcome!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

4) Read 40 books

I managed to read 35 books this year and I think there’s still room for a couple more.

5) Continue to discover the fantasy genre

I’ve rediscovered a love for fantasy and I want to read some more of the fan favourites. I’m just not sure where to start… but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

 

And those are my goals for 2017.

I also want to write more and I have a couple of projects to look forward to. It’s going to be a busy but interesting year.

Love

Ellen