University Library

A collection with over 800,000 books, journals, illustrations, early works and manuscripts. The combination with a voluminous collection of e-books and e-journals provides a treasure of scholarly information.

Inspiring books

Willem B. Drees: John Fowles – The Magus

Decades ago, a well-read friend directed me to The Magus by John Fowles, the author of The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Again and again, I thought I understood what was going on in The Magus. A few pages later, I would have to let go my earlier understanding. A book that challenged me, a student of physics at that time, who loved the clarity of mathematics. Shortly before the end: “The godgame is over.” Finally: it had all been a game. However, even this final clarity had to be abandoned on the last pages. Uncertainty. Not a philosophical book, or perhaps it was. Confusing. Much later, I discovered a small book with aphorisms by John Fowles, The Aristos. Humans on a raft, in an endless ocean. An optimist, who expects to see the coastline soon. A pessimist. A child. It is like life itself. Acknowledging uncertainty, without denying knowledge.

Willem B. Drees is Dean of the Tilburg School of Humanities and Professor of Philosophy of the Humanities; he also serves as the editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.

Klaas Sijtsma: Johannes Linschoten – Idolen van de psycholoog

My favorite book is Idolen van de psycholoog (“The psychologist’s idols”) by Johannes Linschoten. I read the book when I was studying Psychology in Groningen (1979) and I was deeply impressed by the author’s knowledge and the extent of the various perspectives on the subject: the notions our brain is exposed to and the many misunderstandings they cause, not only in our daily actions but also in scientific research with people. It is important to know that an ‘idol’ is a misunderstanding, a prejudice, or a deception, e.g., phenomena such as cognitive dissonance, attribution, demand characteristics, and experimenter effects. You can consider Idolen van de psycholoog as a precursor to another fantastic book on the limitations of our cognition: Thinking, Fast and Slow, by the famous psychologist Daniel Kahneman. It makes for heavy reading and it more accessible for those who have some knowledge of psychology and statistics. It is a must-read for anyone who conducts research on people. However, please start with Linschoten.

Klaas Sijtsma is Professor of Methods of Psychological Research and Dean of TSB.

Corno Vromans: Eva Jonkers & Laura Vromans – De sleutel naar geluk

My daughter Laura had to do a profile assignment to finish high school. Together with her friend Eva, she came up with the idea to write a book. They were really aiming for the fence because it had to be completed in four months. They succeeded and, as a father, I am very proud of the result. As a bonus, they have earned a place in the university library.

Corno Vromans is Managing Director of Library & IT Services.

Wietske Sijtsma: Chr. Van Abcoude – Kruimeltje

The first and only book my grandfather ever gave me. On its cover, the book is described as a romantic children’s book. But it is so much more. It is a story about loss, loneliness, kindness, dreams, disappointments, hope, perseverance, discipline, damaged family relationships, … It is the story of a young boy shaped by his social circle and the challenges life throws at him. Few people know that the book also has a grown-up edition: Karakter (“Character”), written by Bordewijk. Kruimeltje and Karakter, the two most underestimated books in Dutch literature.

Wietske Sijtsma is policy advisor and former Library and IT Services employee.

Rien Wijnhoven: Herbert Marcuse – De eendimensionale mens

It is the late 1970s. Fresh political science student in activist Nijmegen. The influence of the Catholic church has greatly declined. There is a need for a new faith and a new bible. For many, that was De Eendimensionale Mens (One-Dimensional Man) by Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse was one of the student revolt’s standard bearers in the sixties and seventies. In his book, he reveals the structures and mechanisms of the post-war society, where freedom has become “a means to control” and “[t]he people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.”

Trump’s election and attitude and the rise of political populism in Europe have revived Marcuse’s work. Serious American newspapers and journals have rediscovered Marcuse and use his analysis to interpret Trump’s politics of stigmatization, exclusion, oppression, and alternative facts.

Rien Wijnhoven is chairman of the University Council.

Yara Muller: Joris Luyendijk – Je hebt het niet van mij, maar …

"The game is over before it had even started."

This approach is sacred in politics, and it is not different in the politics at our University. A strong lobby is essential, for that matter, if we want to improve things at Tilburg University for our students. No advice or approval in the University Council without backroom politics , you might say.

Therefore, knowledge and experience on how to lobby is badly needed. That is the reason why Fractie SAM has chosen this book. It contains a lot of essential knowledge and is also a symbol of our unforgettable management year. Knowledge and symbolism we will carry into our later lives.

Yara Muller is the chairperson of student party SAM.

Francine Bardoel: Stendhal – Le rouge et le noir

I first read Le rouge et le noir when I was sixteen years old. Not because I had to, but because I could. I found it in a box with Dutch comic books, which an acquaintance left at our home. I had never read such an astonishing book. The next day I had to go to school, but I cycled into the countryside. Lying between the buttercups in the grass, I read it in one sitting. The book is about well-meaning people in a ruthless class society.

Le rouge et le noir is not just a novel about love and being in love, but it also contains an analysis of power structures. The writer observes that everyone is only trying to gain power. Except for a few individuals, everyone – even the members of the aristocracy and the clergy – turn out to be either unprincipled job hunters or despicable power seekers. The story also contains realism. Julien's reactions often testify to his realistic, sometimes even calculating, view of things. Despite all the romantic feelings, he is driven by the ambition to make a career for himself in this class society.

Francine Bardoel is editor in chief of Univers.

Marijke van der Ploeg: John Irving – De wereld volgens Garp

During the last two years of high school, I had to read 15 books for each language (Dutch, French, German and English). When you have to read, it is never as good as reading for fun. The first book I read for fun after my exams was The World according to Garp.

I don't remember ever having laughed so hard at a book! An absurd story, a dry sense of humor, absurd situations, and a multitude of extraordinary characters. At the same time, the book offers a lot to think about, about the many aspects of life, from birth to death. A few years later, I saw the movie, but it did not compare to the images that I already had in my mind after reading the book.

Marijke van der Ploeg is the Open Access Information Specialist at LIS.