Mysteries: Five Books + Ratings Part I

“I felt a queasy mixture of relief and horror: when you finally stop an itch and realize it’s because you’ve ripped a hole in your skin.”

― Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

#1 The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón



Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

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In het oude centrum van Barcelona ligt het Kerkhof der Vergeten Boeken. Hoofdpersoon Daniel Sempere wordt door zijn vader, weduwnaar en boekhandelaar, meergenomen naar de geheimzinnige, verborgen wereld van verhalen.

Vanaf dat moment neem Daniels leven een wending die hij niet had kunnen voorzien. Hij mag een boek uitzoeken en kiest De schaduw van de wind, geschreven voor een zekere Julián Carax. Het boek laat hem niet meer los, ook al schudt de wereld tijdens het grauwe Franco-regime om hem heen op zijn grondvesten. Hij wil alles weten over het boek en de schrijver . En merkwaardigerwijs lijken alle mensen die hij ontmoet, ook de vrouwen op wie hij verliefd wordt, deel uit te maken van het grote spel waarvan het boek het middelpunt vormt.

My favorite quotes:

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”

“People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren’t already complicated enough.”

“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”

“The moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever.”

“Memories are worse than bullets.”


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#2 The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

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The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

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Broeder William Baskerville, een geleerde franciscaner monnik uit Engeland, komt in november 1327 als speciaal gezant van de keizer met een diplomatieke opdracht naar een welvarende abdij in Noord-Italie. Al spoedig ontwikkelt zijn verblijf op de abdij zich tot een tijd vol apocalyptische verschrikkingen: er worden zeven dagen en nachten zeven geheimzinnige misdaden gepleegd, die de muren van de ontoegankelijke, labyrintvormige bibliotheek met bloed besmeuren. Angstige geruchten gaan door de abdij en sporen worden uitgewist. William wordt door de onderzoekskoorts bevangen en dringt steeds dieper door tot de geheimen van de abdij.

My favorite quotes:

“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means…”

“What is love? There is nothing in the world, neither man nor Devil nor any thing, that I hold as suspect as love, for it penetrates the soul more than any other thing. Nothing exists that so fills and binds the heart as love does. Therefore, unless you have those weapons that subdue it, the soul plunges through love into an immense abyss.”

“Love is wiser than wisdom.”

“Daytime sleep is like the sin of the flesh; the more you have the more you want, and yet you feel unhappy, sated and unsated at the same time.”

“A dream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams.”

“Monsters exist because they are part of the divine plan, and in the horrible features of those same monsters the power of the creator is revealed.”

“We live for books. A sweet mission in this world dominated by disorder and decay.”


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#3  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield



Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise — she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story.

Both women will have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets… and the ghosts that haunt them still.

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Een jonge biografe onderzoekt het verleden van de gevierde schrijfster Vida Winter; ze hoort over de geheimen van haar jeugd, over de tweeling Emmeline en Adeline en over de familie Angelfield. Al snel blijkt Vida Winters verleden omgeven door geheimen die op het punt staan onthuld te worden.

My favorite quotes:

“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.”

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”

“There are too many books in the world to read in a single lifetime; you have to draw the line somewhere.”

“A good story is always more dazzling than a broken piece of truth.”

“What better place to kill time than a library?”

“What better way to get to know someone than through her choice and treatment of books? ”




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#4 The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold



The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

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De wijde hemel is het aangrijpende verhaal van de veertienjarige Susie Salmon, die de gebeurtenissen beschrijft rond haar dood en de vreemde nieuwe wereld waarin ze zich bevindt.
Susie kijkt, nadat ze vermoord is, met verdriet en verlangen vanuit de hemel toe hoe ontreddering haar achtergebleven familie treft. Gaandeweg blijkt dat Susies afwezigheid ook een nieuwe kracht met zich meebrengt die de familieleden opnieuw met elkaar verbindt. een ontroerende roman over familie en de verwerking van verdriet.
Verfilmd als The Lovely Bones, onder regie van Peter Jackson (bekend als regisseur van The Lord of the Rings) en met Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon en Saoirse Ronan in de hoofdrollen.

My favorite quotes:

“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

“Murderers are not monsters, they’re men. And that’s the most frightening thing about them.”

“These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections-sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.”

“Each time I told my story, I lost a bit, the smallest drop of pain. It was that day that I knew I wanted to tell the story of my family. Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained.”

“Our only kiss was like an accident- a beautiful gasoline rainbow.”

“Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained.”


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#5  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

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`Waar denk je aan, Amy? Dat is de vraag die ik tijdens ons huwelijk het meest heb gesteld, hoewel niet hardop, niet aan degene die daar antwoord op zou kunnen geven.
Waar denk je aan? Hoe voel je je? Wie ben je? Wat hebben we elkaar aangedaan? Wat gaan we nog doen? Dat zijn vragen die Nick Dunne zichzelf stelt op de morgen van zijn vijfde trouwdag, als zijn vrouw Amy plotseling verdwijnt. De politie verdenkt Nick. Amy’s vrienden onthullen dat ze bang voor hem was en geheimen voor hem had. Hij zweert dat het niet waar is. Zijn computer bevat vreemde Google-vragen. Hij zegt dat ze niet van hem zijn. En dan zijn er de verdachte oproepen op zijn mobiele telefoon. Wat is er gebeurd met Nick’s mooie vrouw?

My favorite quotes:

“My mother had always told her kids: if you’re about to do something, and you want to know if it’s a bad idea, imagine seeing it printed in the paper for all the world to see.”

“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.”

“Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial – you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.”

“There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.”

“Love makes you want to be a better man. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.”

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.”



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Happy reading, en tot de volgende blogpost!




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