Rumer Godden/Dutch

This must be the most books I have ever read in any year, according to Goodreads I’ve read 109 so far and I still have some updating to do there. There are also some books which I don’t bother to put on Goodreads, I’m sure you’re the same, I tend not to bother with cookery books or craft/lifestyle/design books, even though I’ve read them cover to cover.

During the awful weather we had over the last three weeks or so I did almost nothing but read. Burying my head in books seemed like the best way to avoid the inevitable depression of days and days of endless rain. I just took myself off into different and more interesting worlds, even although the sky outside was so dark I needed a lamp on during the day to be able to read anything at all.

Every other activity came to a standstill, I must admit that it’s often sheer laziness which leads to me reaching for a book, instead of doing something a bit more active and productive, such as sewing machine wrangling. My fabric stash keeps multiplying but it’s not being converted into anything, it’s just piling up, in much the same way as my unread book piles do I suppose.

One of the things which I swore to myself that I would do this year was attempt to learn Dutch. Some of my extended family members are Dutch – or half Dutch and when we went to the Netherlands to visit them last year it felt shameful that I couldn’t say anything to anyone in shops – not even please and thank you. Mind you everyone there seems to speak English. The next visit I was going to be better prepared, but my Futurelearn Dutch course came at a time when I was madly busy doing other crucial stuff. It was only a three week course but I only managed the first week, and although I did well with it I just never got around to the other two weeks. Obviously it was just a wee bit of a taster course, but I had bitten off more than I could chew.

The other thing I thought I would do to help me learn Dutch was to read a book, one page in English then the same page in Dutch. I thought it would be good for learning lots of vocabulary. Well it would have been if I could have got further than page one! Whilst in the Netherlands I spotted a Rumer Godden book in a charity shop, I do love charity/thrift shops, you never know what you might find. I knew that I had a copy of the same book in English back home, The Greengage Summer, I bought it to read them in tandem.

Rumer Godden Books

So I’m starting again on page one, with my Dutch/English dictionary at hand – and yes that was another charity shop purchase, and a jotter to note down the vocabulary. I’m determined to get past page one this time.

I’m also going to be reading another charity shop purchase – Two Under the Indian Sun by Jon and Rumer Godden. It’s an account of the siblings’ experiences being brought up in India. The preface begins: This is not an autobiography as much as an evocation of a time that is gone, a few years that will always be timeless for us; an evocation that is as truthful as memory can ever be. It should be interesting I think and I bet I know which book I’ll finish first!

9 thoughts on “Rumer Godden/Dutch

  1. Oh, I loved this book as a young teenager! My wonderful, bookish Aunt Ruth gave it to me for my birthday. Truly enjoyed and has always made me want to read more Godden!

    • Oops–sorry. Two under the Indian Sun was the book given to me. I very much want to read Greengage Summer. I think I’ll add it to my Classics Club list right this minute, as I’m working on it at the moment.
      Happy reading!

  2. I read The Greengage Summer earlier this year and really loved it. Funny thing is, though I was reading the English edition, there were a number of untranslated French lines of dialogue throughout the story that I used the internet to translate. Good luck with your project!

    • Christy,
      Thanks. I’m fairly sure that I read this one back in the year dot when I was on a Godden binge. It’ll take me a lot longer to get through it this time!

  3. What a great idea. I’ve always wanted to learn Dutch, for the same reason as you, only my husband’s relatives are in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium rather than the Netherlands. Actually, they speak Flemish at home but are all taught pure Dutch in school and one can’t learn Flemish as such anyway as it is more of a dialect.

    • Karen White,
      My brother used to live not far from Belgium but he’s now in the North East where Frisian is spoken, it’s like a combination of German and Scots. My niece was 17 when they moved and everyone at school spoke Frisian, she hated it. His wife is Dutch and their children spoke English to their dad and Dutch to their mum as they were growing up, with no problems at all. It was quite something to see a toddler switch between languages like that.

  4. Wow! 109 books already this year! I am also impressed by your attempts to learn Dutch. Have you ever heard of Duolingo? It is a free online language learning website that turns learning into a kind of game. It’s pretty good. I’ve used it for Spanish and German and really like it. You do it at your own pace. They have Dutch as one of their languages 🙂

    • Stefanie,
      I do read every word too, never skim read, but if you weren’t working – and had terrible weather you would probably be reading as many books too! Thanks for the link to Duolingo, I think I will sign up for it.

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