Jacqueline Oud - Culture

Top books summer 2004

Fasten your seatbells its summer time

Its high time to prepare your holidays and beside most probably your swimming suit, you’d better not forget some nice books. For finally the time has come to take a rest and find time to read. Finished the daily stress, it’s all time for yourself now.

So why a book?

I have taken a tour to find the most popular books for the moment and included some less known books that are - kind of trademark of my website - rather interesting to read too and might bring you some nice surprises. Though I would totally agree that summer holidays is also to do simply nothing, I reckon that you’d always take at least one nice book with you. Books can in fact sometimes even turn out to be a good friend when you want to be quite, or even, attract new friends asking the typical :"Hello what are your reading? "

The list

One important point before presenting you the list: I have given the titles in general in English. However, the books should all be available in at least: French, Dutch, German and Spanish so no need to worry for your language.


  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K Rowling. The 5th book of the Harry Potter series. You have already had the opportunity to go to its last movie and probably don’t want to wait any longer to know the latest part of Harry’s life.
  • Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that was really fun reading it when I was younger, but still provides a good laugh today. Good holiday lecture.
  • Italian Tales by Italo Calvino. This extravagant Italian writer did also write some short tales that are very funny and very good to read. In almost every language you should be able to find a collection of them.

Action and detectives

  • The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown. It has become the 2004 worldwide best sold book till now and it is really good to read. (I recogise some Umberto Eco in it, but this is more easier to read)
  • Some nice Robert Ludlum polar, he’s someone you can count on regarding the modern polars.
  • The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch, one of the Netherlands’ best actual writers. Ok, the book is huge but it really is a masterpiece. Should you really be in lack of time, try to get the film - I do have it - it’s worth it.
  • Issac Amisov’s Foundation Series. In these times of commotion around the film I Robot, I like to point out another big work from Issac Amisov. Foundation was with the Robot Collection his masterpiece.


  • Alexander, the Trilogy, by Valerio Massimo Manfredi. This trilogy retracing the live of the Great Alexander is made upon the historical facts and is really good to read. In fact, it is that good that one of the 2 currently in-making movies are entirely based upon this novel. Don’t miss it.
  • The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, by Amin Maalouf. In these times of terrorism and opposing cultures, it is good to have a moment of looking around 360° and change views.

World - or difficult to classify

  • Abyssinian Chronicles, by Moses Isegawa. A great African novel showing a clear and at times spicy image of live in postcolonial Africa. This novel came as a surprise but gained notoriety in many European countries.
  • Bernard Ollivier’s Longue Marche trilogy describing his journey alone from Turkey to China by following the Silk Route. This trilogy reflects in a non commercial way the challange and reality of a man travelling alone by foot on the Silk Route. It might not be translated to any other language than French yet.


  • My Life, by Bill Clinton. A real American way book by the former USA president, yes he who gained most attention with Monica Lewinsky. He relates his own biography including ofcourse the issues that most of all make the book sell ...
  • The Dignity of Difference, by Jonathan Sacks. This is the reply to Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations. Six years after the initial publication of Samuel Huntingtons work, the topic is still alive and even more delicate. With this fresh reply from the Rabbi Sacks, he shows us the importance of understanding and looking next to globalisation and world economies.

Oh, in case you really can’t take a book [1]]

Should you really don’t have any time to read, or if you need to travel light - go for a walking trip with your bagpack - a book is quite delicate. Some solutions nevertheless:

  • You can decide to take a very light and thin book but very complicated, then it will take you nevertheless quite some time to read it. Exemple: the Tao Te Tsjing, the book of the "Road" that has come to us from the Far East.
  • You can find a small book with jokes or funny stories that you can read over and over again. Or even some with hints or "how to ..."
  • Find yourself a little book with poetry, that is nice a relaxing to read and you can pick it up whenver you want to.
  • You can ofcourse write down the list of books from above and buy one of them when you have arrived at your destination.
  • If none of the above options wil be possible for you, then you really don’t have a chance. The only thing to do is to read these books - or a selection ofcourse - at your return from holidays.

[1[How about the possibility to take a book with puzzles or mathematical games?

[19 July 2004]

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