Friday, August 1, 2008

Jeroen van Bergeijk

Jeroen van Bergeijk's new book is My Mercedes Is Not for Sale: From Amsterdam to Auto-Misadventure Across the Sahara.

Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I am usually reading three or four books at a time. It's a habit I hate, but can't seem to lose. What usually happens is that I am reading a book that I think I should read, but don't completely enjoy, and I start another book, and if that's not what I'm up for at the moment, I start another and so on. Also, being a journalist, there are books I have to read for work and there are books I read solely for pleasure.

I am Dutch, so I usually have at least one Dutch book going, currently Tim Krabbe's (of The Vanishing) latest called Marte Jacobs, which hasn't been translated yet.

I picked up Joseph Mitchell's anthology Up in the Old Hotel, which I couldn't find in my native Amsterdam, and am absolutely loving it. He is without doubt one of the best American nonfiction writers in history.

I am also reading Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing. I discovered McCarthy through the Coen Brothers movie No Country for Old Men. (I must admit that I discover a lot of great American writers through movies.)

Then I have going A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan. I am reading it because this is a big dream of mine as well: to build my own home. Of course in Holland, a place that is so built up and urbanized, that is quite an impossible dream.

Finally, I just finished Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? in which Thomas Kohnstamm tells of his adventures as a Lonely Planet guidebook writer. I always wondered how these books were put together. At least in Africa, where I have used them a lot, they always seem a few years out of date and inaccurate. Thanks to Thomas I know why that is (but as he explains, if you take them with a grain of salt, they're useful).
Jeroen van Bergeijk is a journalist based in Amsterdam and has written for the New York Times, Wired, and many other publications in Europe and the United States. His documentary Ours is the labour debuted at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in 2007.

Visit Jeroen van Bergeijk's website, and learn more about My Mercedes Is Not for Sale from the publisher.

--Marshal Zeringue