Friday, 16 May 2014

Lit Nerd Recommends: Amsterdam

I'm sure you're all fed up of me banging on about Amsterdam now (can you tell I loved it), but it occurred to me that there are books I've read set in or around Amsterdam that have been brilliant. It seemed only fitting that Amsterdam became the theme for this week's Lit Nerd Recommends.

1. Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

I saw this in the gift shop at the Rijksmuseum the first time I visited when I was about seventeen and this book has never quite left my mind. It's about Dutch art, passion and deception - doesn't get juicier than that.

2. The Apothecary's House by Adrian Mathews

This is one of those books that I can never remember the name of but elements of the story have stuck in my head. I actually asked my Mum the name of this book (we always read the same books) and she knew what I meant just from me saying 'that book in Amsterdam which has a scene on a house boat'. For a book to stay in my head that long, it must have been good!

3. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Well, I couldn't not include this.

4. The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

This isn't strictly set in Amsterdam but it is Dutch. Like Anne Frank, Reiss was a Jewish child hiding from the Nazis. This is one of the books that got me interested in World War Two.

5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I have literally just finished this one and again, it is arty and partially set in Amsterdam. 

Dutch art seems to be a common theme in this list...

Bonus Recommendations:

I'm going to add in two novels that have very recently come onto my radar which I have not read but look brilliant.

6. The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal

This novel looks at the complex background of Rembrandt's famous painting of the same name.

7. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

This is either just out or just about to be released. It sounds wonderfully disconcerting and has been described as similar to Sarah Waters's style. I'm intrigued.

Can you add any to this list?



  1. "Similar to Sarah Waters's style" - you've got me there. I will keep my eyes open for that one. :)

  2. I read The Fault in our Stars recently, which I didn't particularly enjoy, but part of the book is also set in Amsterdam (these parts were actually well done in the sense of atmosphere). I have a Sarah Waters' book and I've never read anything by her, and your post made me re-intrigued!

  3. Who get ever be bored with Amsterdam?! Gorgeous city. I read Russell Shorto's very accessible history, Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City when I got back from my holiday there last Christmas. It relates the city's history back to the present day so lots of opportunities for trips down holiday memory lane. Bought it at the American Book Center, too.

  4. I really liked 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. Have you read her 'Remarkable Creatures' about two female fossil hunters in the early 19th century? It's even better.....

  5. There's a book I read as a child called The Wheel on the School by Meindert Dejong. And, of course, Anne Frank's Diary.
    Did you get to visit the Anne Frank museum while you were there?


© Lit Nerd. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig