I’ve been thinking about discussion posts and I wanted to make a more personal series. So as of now, I’m starting the ‘Why I..’ series in which I explain certain things about me that are related to reading, books, publishers, you name it! Today I want to talk about why I don’t read books in my native language.
I live in the Netherlands, great country, honestly. We have a number of amazing writers, and still I don’t like reading in Dutch.. Why? It would be so much easier. I wouldn’t have to wait an eternity for books to arrive, I could enjoy some of the amazing books that are published in my own country. Some of the books here have amazing covers. Just look at these amazing covers for The Last Namsara and The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli. Have you seen the art on the inside of the dustcover?!
Then why do I still read English books? There are a number of reasons, and I will explain very clearly *I hope* why I do and hopefully it’ll make sense!
Alright, so loads of books sold here are translations, mostly of English books. This means that if I wait long enough, I could read most of the books I would usually read in my own language. EXCEPT not all books get translated. Not even all books in a series! The Throne of Glass series was actually canceled after the first three books. They’re only being republished now, so you can imagine that loads of other, lesser known books, never get translated at all. Can you imagine how disappointed I would be if yet another series would just.. evaporate after 2 or 3 books?!
This indirectly brings me to my next point. Do you know how long it takes before a book gets translated?! Right now, I am in the position to read books immediately after publication, I can chat about them with all my (English) friends on Discord, Instagram and Facebook. I can listen to audiobooks since most popular books are also audiobooks, and not to forget, eBooks! Dutch books.. well.. sure, the YA books are translated pretty fast right now, and I have a huge list of books I still have to read, but that doesn’t mean I want to wait to read all books. Some books I’m just really really excited for and I want to read as soon as they’re published. Which brings me to my next point.
ARCs aren’t really a thing in the Netherlands. I’ve worked in a bookstore for years and sure, we’ve gotten some ARCs, but that was when they were already published and we had to read the so we could tell our customers what they were about.. So not really ARCs then. But now, with Edelweiss and NetGalley, being sent books directly by publishing houses, I can read books months before they are published, which is AMAZING. And it’s understandable that all of those books are in English. They’re written by English speaking authors, or authors that choose to write in English. And you can’t deny that UK and US publishing houses have a way bigger reach than those in a little country like the Netherlands.
One reason for me to read in English is a bit harder to explain.. I love Dutch, but the English language has a more nuanced way of saying things. I’ve always found Dutch people to be a bit blunt. Somehow English seems more.. magical, lyrical, musical? Descriptions of people, of places, even of ordinary items can be so beautiful somehow. Plus, jokes are way funnier in English, trust me. They don’t translate well.
And my last point.. It’s what I’ve gotten used to. I got my first English lesson when I was 9 or 10. I probably sucked at it, but when I got older, I got hooked on tv shows, and it was just easier to stream them (without subtitles). I was pretty much forced to learn English. And then I got a bunch of friends from all over the world, who all spoke English. It was honestly the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
I’m able to do so much more than just reading English books. It’s really enriched my life and I hope it’ll continue to do so. I will continue to read English books until I can no longer see. I will follow new anticipated releases, read books when they’ve just been released, talk to my friends about those books, recommend them to others, read ARCs and tell the world about books that haven’t been published yet but which they need to read as soon as they are.
That’s the condensed version of why I don’t read books in my native language. I understand that most people that will read this post will be native English speakers, and won’t have ever had these issues. But I just want you all to know that I’m very grateful for everyone in my life, English speaking or not, for talking to me in English, for teaching me new words, for enriching my life and making me.. me. Honestly, because of that most of my thoughts are in English and I even have trouble thinking of Dutch words while I already know the English word :’)
And sure, there are a few Dutch authors I’m crazy about. Not a lot, probably less than five, and I do buy their books. But those authors are exceptions, I could never fully commit to reading Dutch books and thankfully, I don’t have to.
Until next time,