Looking back and looking forward

So, New Year’s has come and gone, and it has been a solid two months since I last posted anything on this blog. So maybe it’s about time that I fixed that!

Looking back

2016 has been a year which for me wasn’t a great reading year and an even worse blogging year. I’ve struggled and failed at my goodreads goal of reading 52 books. I only read 45 books in 2016 and I don’t even know how few of those I’ve reviewed (and I’m not inclined to check the stats on that one either!). It has been a year for me personally where I have also struggled to find what I want to blog about and how to go about that. But besides blogging I did do a lot of fun stuff this year. I went to Ireland and La Gomera, I ran a 10K, had a real good time with my friends, and turned 25 to boot.

Looking forward

Nobody can look into the future, but that won’t stop me from trying to set some sort of goals for 2017. Once again I set my reading goal for 52 books (and have yet to finish reading my first book of the year, so it’s looking good on that one already!). I also want to get back into running (because I haven’t run since that 10K and that’s just a shame!). I also hope to find my blogging mojo again as well as my love for reading.

The bigger picture

2016 has been a year in which a lot of things happened globally speaking, and from looking at the news most of if wasn’t all that good (or I can just go ahead and say that a lot of it was really bad actually). So I just wanted to say that I think 2017 should be a year where we try to look at the positive things in life, without ignoring the bad, and find a way of giving our life meaning in profoundly positive ways. Let’s not let hate become part of our life, but find love wherever we go.

 

Have you set any reading goals for 2017? What are your thoughts on 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Ramblings: Literary translations

Back when I was little I used to only read books in Dutch, my native language. But after our move to the US I started reading in English because these were the books that were available to me. After moving back to Belgium I continued reading in English, but also some Dutch. At first reading English books was just a way for me to keep hold of this language, now that I’d mastered it. But now I see myself drifting away from the Dutch books if they were originally written in English. I have a couple of reasons for this, and here is where I tell you why.

Influence of the translator

However great a translated work is, it will always carry a bit of the translator with it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, this is just something that happens. They color the story a bit with their unique flavor of writing and sometimes they even adjust the book just a smidge because certain things don’t make sense in a different language (a popular one here is names). The translated works will always differ from the original more than just the language it is written in, and sometimes this is not a problem at all, sometimes it can be.

Language differences

Dutch is not a language that is spoken world wide, in fact not  a lot of people speak it. We in Belgium speak it (the Flemish part of Belgium that is) and people in the Netherlands speak it too. (Some ex-colonies also speak Dutch) All in all it’s safe to say that the Netherlands are the biggest group of Dutch-speaking citizens. Being the biggest group they spend more time/money in translating literary works to Dutch. It’s great that this causes more books to be translated to Dutch than there would be if the Netherlands didn’t exist (or spoke a different language). The thing with Dutch is that just like any other language is that there are different dialects within the language (just like with British English, American English and all the other kinds too). Reading books that were translated by a person from the Netherlands isn’t the same as reading a book from a Belgian translator, they use words we never do or differently than we do. And sometimes it’s these differences that make me feel a bit more distance to a book.

Speedy translations

A reason because of which I will reach for the original work 100% of the time is if the translation was done too fast. I’m talking about books that are coming out in the middle of a hype-epidemic and there is just a lot of pressure for the publishers to get the book out ASAP. It’s very often in these books that you find either sloppy translations or sloppy editing. In any case, you find turns of phrases that just don’t work in the language you’re reading the work in, where it was just clearly translated verbatim. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. That’s exactly what I mean in the first reason for reading original works. It’s always up to the translator to pick how they are going to take these turns of phrases and translate it so that it works in the new language. My favorite example is that I once read a book in Dutch that used the literal translation for “a robin’s egg blue sky”. This is not a thing in Dutch, there are a lot of words that can describe different hues of blue, but this isn’t one of them. In my opinion it is up to the translator to pick a good fit here, so we don’t feel these rough patches. This book clearly had a case of ” the speedy translation” because there were so many pieces were I could just tell exactly what the original text would be in English, it was a huge bummer.

 

So if you are someone who speaks a second language, let me know how you feel about translated works! Do you agree with some of the things here or do you feel differently? Do you have other reasons for wanting to read the original books? And to people who don’t read (a lot of) books that weren’t written in English, do you easily find translated works in your area?

What I’ve been up to this summer

To those who follow this blog, maybe you might have noticed that I have not been the most consistent blogger this week (not that this fact was new, because before summer I wasn’t all that consistent or present either, but this time I have a reason which changes things! (right?) ). This is where I tell you what I have been up to these past couple of weeks!

Around the end of July a friend and I went roadtripping through Ireland for a week and that was amazing! We had great weather, we saw beautiful nature and just had an all round epic time! The people were really friendly as well, as everyone told us they would be.

Here are some pictures:

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Killarney National Park, such a beautiful lake!

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I think this was some where around the Ring of Kerry, but I could definitely be mistaken!

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This was at the Cliffs of Moher, which was awesome! It wasn’t this misty all the time, it cleared up every now and again, but having a misty photo is a must when you go to Ireland!

Afterwards I stayed with my mum for a week because we were both home alone and we decided to team up instead! I’m really happy I went there because we just had a really nice time and the weather was pretty decent as well so we could go swimming together in the nearby lake and stuff like that (my boyfriend generally doesn’t care for swimming, so this was a nice change from that!).

Directly linked to the week where I stayed over at my mum’s with my mum, I stayed over another week there, but this time with my boyfriend and without my mother. She was on holiday with a friend and she asked if we could take care of the dog and cats while she was away. And so that’s what we did. I love those animals dearly, but they are a lot of work! Especially when you have to fit everything around your working day. But we came through unscathed and had a lot of time in our tiny zoo!

And now we’re back home and there has been work, I’ve been swimming, I’ve been getting ready for my 10K run, I’ve been meeting with friends and family, in short I’ve been busy this summer and I’m loving it.

What have you guys been up to recently?

Inside & Out Book Tag

So, I came across this tag on Fictional Living and it looked like a fun little tag. so without further ado, here are my answers:

1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

In general I think it has enough information, though sometimes I come across a synopsis which in my opinion gives a bit too much information (like a certain plot point that I would like to have discovered on my own). But what sometimes feels as too much information upfront can just mean that there are more surprises inside, which makes it alright.

2.New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

I love hardcover books, just because they are sturdier and stay prettier over time. But I really enjoy paperbacks also because they are generally cheaper but also a lot more easy to read (no heavy books to hold for hours on end!). Seeing as I generally take my e-reader with me to pretty much anywhere (you’ll never know when a reading-opportunity will strike) I really enjoy e-books as well, though they can’t be added to your library which is a shame. Audiobooks is something I don’t have a lot of and don’t really listen to that often, so this is, for me, the least fun format for books.

3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

I have never written in books if they weren’t books for school. I’m thinking of starting to add tabs to my books though because I really love quotes and I just want to keep better track of them in my books. plus I think it would be nice to be able to go back and just browse through some curated beautiful moments/quotes in my books.


4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

This is never a deciding factor for me. I never pick a book up based on the gender of the author (nor do I ever not pick up a book over this). I pick books based on many different things (have I enjoyed this author’s work before, does the synopsis sound good, did someone recommend it to me, does the cover look beautiful, etc.)

5.  Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there? 

I only do this accidentally when a certain paragraph or dialogue will catch my eye while reading. I will flip to a next page and my eyes just catch on something in all caps or with some indents or something. Though this has definitely happened less since getting my e-reader because I see less text at once.

6.  Organized bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

I try to keep my bookshelves organized now that I have new ones (and don’t have to stack my books three deep). The only problem is that when I buy new books I don’t immediately put them in their place (it’s a fair bit of work seeing as I arrange my books on author’s names) so it always gets a bit out of control after a while.

7.  Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Not that much. Usually it goes along with a good review by someone. I have added many a book to my TBR based on just a cover, though when actually buying books I’m a bit more selective.

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I like both. Inside can be so nice and cozy, I especially love it when the weather is horrible outside. But reading outside, in the garden, sitting under a tree with a nice little breeze can also be a lot of fun. The only really important thing is that there is not a lot of distracting noise.

Ramblings:The Creation of a New Shelf

So, I had a huge currently reading shelf on Goodreads, and my newly discover friend, Liam over at Hey Ashers! (he just finished an awesome read-along to Throne of Glass, even if you were a fan of this book, you should check it out, his snark is on point!), suggested that instead of just letting all these books clog up my currently reading shelf, I make a new shelf where I can put all these books that I am sort of reading but not really. Behold, the new shelf: “Book Limbo” (combined with to read, because you can’t remove it of the currently reading list unless it goes to either read or to read, so yeah, Goodsreads, FIX THIS!)

These are the books that I never actively decided to stop reading, it’s just something that happened over time. They weren’t what I was needing at that time, or maybe something more interesting came along. Maybe it was just me getting into a reading slump and picking something else up to get me back out. There’s a myriad of reasons why books end up in Book Limbo, and this way I am able to set them aside in a less permanent way then I would if I were to just take them of my currently reading pile in total. Because these are books that I really do want to get back into, it just hasn’t been the right moment for that certain book. So until then, these books are in limbo.

 

Thanks again for the great idea Liam (and for getting me to actually do something with these books!)