7 Reasons to read Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style

So, something pretty cool has happened. I’ve become a published author!

Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style is an anthology of stories written by women expat bloggers living in the Netherlands, which I wrote an essay for and helped edit.

After months of work by publishers Olga Mecking and Lynn Morrison, as well as the community of bloggers who helped put the book together, I’m proud to announce that Dutched Up! is now available as a Kindle e-book on Amazon and on iTunes.

Dutched Up Rocking the Clogs Expat Style

The fact that I’m in this book is reason enough for my mom and husband to buy it, but I realize you guys might need a little more convincing. So I’ve thought of 7 reasons you should go and get Dutched Up!

You’ve got a Dutch connection. If you currently live or have ever lived in the Netherlands, this is the book for you. You’ll discover you’re not the only one who’s been mistaken for a lady of the night, peered into your neighbor’s wide-open windows, or left dumbstruck by Dutch directness. Or perhaps you have a Dutchie in your life—spouse, boyfriend, or in-laws. You’ll recognize bits and pieces of them here, and perhaps learn a few new tips and tricks for living with their, ehem, unique way of being.

You’re living the expat life—or are contemplating it. From your first confrontation with a foreign supermarket shelf to being the eternal Other at your workplace, these are experiences you can relate to all too well. Contemplating a move overseas? You’ll benefit from an insider’s look at all the little nooks and crannies where culture shock resides, waiting to leap out and ambush you. Call it an early warning system.

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2013: My Year in Books

When I was pregnant, my mommy friends told me to read as many books as I could before the baby came. Looking back at my year, I actually got to read quite a few! I love reading, so I’m glad I still managed to eke out some precious page time, even with the demands of a new baby.

Receiving a Kindle as a no-occasion present from Marlon enabled my reading habit to flourish. Instead of just staring into space—or lovingly into my baby’s eyes, as TV commercials would have you believe—during Tala’s numerous feedings, I held my Kindle in my free hand (one-handed activities rock!) and read while nursing.

Book reviews are not usually my thing, but looking back, I decided these books were worth sharing. So, in no particular order, here’s a one-time-big-time review of my year in books.

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Atlantis Books in Oia, Santorini

What’s with this year and awesome bookstores? First there was the Stedelijk Museum bookshop, where I scored a really cool alphabet book for Tala. Then there was our visit to Selexyz Dominicanen, a 12th century church-turned-bookstore in Maastricht. Good things must come in threes, because this is the third fantastic bookstore of the year: Atlantis Books in Oia, Santorini.

Atlantis Books Oia Santorini

I was first drawn in by the palm-sized, beautifully printed books displayed out front. They’re published by Paravion Press and are designed to be sent by mail. I’d be thrilled to receive one of these from Santorini… better than a postcard, indeed!

Atlantis Books Oia handmade books

Then I saw this and just had to laughed. For €5, which do you think would be a better companion: a cat or a book? I’d have a hard time choosing, although if it was our cranky black cat for rent, I’d probably advise someone to take a book.

Atlantis Books Oia rent-a-cat

It’s hard to resist something that makes you laugh out loud, and Atlantis Books did just that with this adorable display. How could I not step inside?

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Selexyz Dominicanen: Heaven for booklovers

There are so many churches in Europe that if you’ve been traveling for a while, you almost feel that when you’ve seen one church, you’ve seen them all. Well, the Dominicanenkerk in Maastricht is different.

Selexyz Dominicanen Maastricht exterior

That’s because this 13th century Gothic church has been deconsecrated and transformed into what is officially one of the world’s coolest bookstores. And I’m not exaggerating here.

Selexyz Dominicanen Maastricht4

I had seen this branch of the Dutch bookstore chain Selexyz on more than one list of the world’s coolest bookstores. I simply couldn’t miss the chance to see it for myself during our weekend visit to Maastricht.

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Stedelijk Museum bookshop & ABC3D

For me, no museum visit is complete without a stop at the bookshop. Amsterdam’s museums have terrific ones, and the ever business-savvy Dutch have cleverly ensured that at the major museums (the Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk), visitors can access the bookshops without having to buy a ticket to the museum itself.

Our family trip to the Stedelijk ended, naturally, with a visit to the museum’s stunning shop.

Stedelijk Museum bookshop

Not only does it look like a really nice place to just sit and browse art books…

Stedelijk bookshop

but it also has a great little selection of design gifts and goodies. I had my “mommy glasses” on (the parental equivalent of beer goggles) and zeroed in immediately on the children’s section, which has design-y books in English, Dutch and—my personal favorite—children’s books that can be read in any language.

This is how I found Tala’s first alphabet: a pop-up book called ABC3D by Parisian graphic designer Marion Bataille.

Marion Bataille ABC3D

The holographic cover alone promises something different. This isn’t your ordinary alphabet!

Marion Bataille ABC3D holographic cover

I love pop-up books for the sense of fun and surprise they bring to reading, and ABC3D combines those elements with some seriously cool type design. I looked for our family’s initials and took a few shots to show you.

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