Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me or ramble on about a book or non-book related topic. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
As most of you know I live in the Netherlands, my mother language is dutch and I read almost exclusively english books. One day I realized what an unique perspective this gave me and that it would be an interesting topic to talk about and explain why I only read english books and not dutch ones. How one day that changed and why I decided to keep reading english books.
How did I switch from only reading dutch books to only reading english books.
In case that picture didn’t give it all away already, yes it was Twillight that caused me to switch from dutch to english books. It’s happened years ago, I think it was in my first year of uni. Back then I had a part time job on saturdays at the bread deparment of a grocery story. I loved to read. I had lots of trouble with english in high school, but I was slightly better at it than german and french, I am horrible at learning new languages. Then one day during lunch break during my work I sat in the lunch room for emplyees and I saw some girl reading a book, it was called Twillight. It looked like a nice book, I based that only on the cover and seeing that girl read it. Soon after that I made a trip to my local bookstore to buy it.
And guess what? They only had the english version of the book and were out of dutch copies at the moment. Before that I only tried reading a fantasy book in english and didn’t understand much of it. I talked with the lady who worked in the bookstore and she advised me to just give it a try in english and that it was worth to read it in the language it was originally written in and that would make it better. I am not sure how I feel about that statement now, but back then I bought it and decided to read the book in english. And even though my english wasn’t that good, I could read the book and I loved it. I bought the rest of the series in english as well and never picked up a dutch book again after that. Okay that’s not completely true, some of my uni books were in dutch and I bought a few non-fiction books about job interviews and some other random topics. But once I realized I could read english books it was like a world of new possibilities had opened for me and I only read english fiction books from then on. I never looked back.
So dutch bookstores here don’t have as big an assortment of english books as dutch books, if you are lucky they have a small section of english books. Eventually I realized you could order english books online and realized they were even cheaper there. So yeah Twillight changed my life, I loved that book. Not only did it make me realize that I could read english books, I also found out which books I wanted to be reading. Up till then I mostly read high fantasy books and while I liked them, I didn’t love those books. I loved Twillight and I knew that book had something that was missing in those high fantasy books, romance drama, character depth and I wanted that in my books.
Once I went to uni my english vastly improved in the first year as all my study books were in english. I had to look up a lot of words that first year and always had a translation dictionary close by. But after that first year my english was pretty good and would only get better. Nowadays it hardly happens I have to look up a word and I can read english as well as dutch. I often don’t even consciously realize which langauage I am reading or talking or thinking in. I can switch in the middle of a sentence or throw random english words in my dutch language. Talking/ writing in only english goes a lot better than in only dutch for some reason. I have gotten quite some blanks stares from my mom when I used an english word in the middle of your conversation. I slip in english sometimes as well, but less often. It’s like my brain only makes the distinction between languages I can understand and read fluently and those I can’t.
Why do I read English books?
- Because I can.
My english is good enough to read books in english, so why not read english books as well. Reading and writing in english goes fluently for me. I sometimes struggle with the grammar, but I also do in dutch. Grammar will never be my strognest point. When I was younger I wasn’t good at english, so reading english books wasn’t an option as it wouldn’t be fun to read a book and look every word up. I actually read an english books before Twillight and I put it down as I couldn’t understand it enough. I read that book a year or two before twillight I think and that was a fantasy book so it probably contained somewhat more difficult language. As I couldn’t read those book enjoyable I never picked up english books. When I did get good enough at english there was no longer a reason not to read english books.
- Because I prefer reading in english, dutch makes me cringe.
Nowadays when I read a blurb or first page of a dutch book it jsut makes me cringe. Dutch isn’t a pretty language in my opinion. It feels harsh and crude, compared to english. I once read the blurb of Twillight in dutch as my mom bought it and I burst out laughing. It just sounds unnatural to me. This does not apply to all dutch text, I dont’have any trouble with reading recipes or non-fiction or labels etc. But with books? Dutch just isn’t my language of choice. I prefer reading in english, it feels more natural to me.
- More variety/ more choice/ more etc
There are more books written in english, which means there is more variety and choice when it comes to finding books to read. There are more options when it comes to readign books in english. Lots of books never get translated to another language, sor eadign in english gives me access to all those books originally written or translated to english. While there are a lot of dutch books, in general there are less people who speak dutch than english and thus also less books written in english than dutch. There are less dutch books, so less variety and less choiche. Also most people on the internet are english and that also means more people to talk with about books. So reading english books gives me more books to read and choose from.