This topic has been on my mind for quite a long time. Often, when people (in real life) ask me about my love for reading, they are surprised to hear that I only read in English. I barely ever read anything in Dutch anymore. I don’t think I’ve read a fiction novel in Dutch in years. I do have my reasons for this, but at times I do feel bad for ignoring novels in Dutch. Here are the reasons I read in English.
I prefer to read books in their original language whenever I can. Obviously, that’s not always possible because I only speak a few languages. However, I prefer to read a book in its original language. I find that a lot can get lost in translation: jokes, witty banter, wordplay, etc. Those are all aspects of books that I happen to adore, yet they don’t do well with translation. It just so happens that almost all of the books I’m interested in reading are written by English speaking authors.
I feel like I wouldn’t be able to review a Dutch book for my blog. My blog is in English, yes. Most of my readers do not speak Dutch. And therefore, it would feel pointless to review Dutch/Belgian books? Even if I write the review in English, you’d still not be able to read it unless it got translated later on (which I don’t think happens very often). My blog is very important to me. Especially since I’ve had less time to read lately, I want to make it an objective to review every book I read.
I feel more comfortable when I’m speaking (or reading) English. I know that sounds strange. After all, it’s not my first language. But I find it much easier to express myself in English. Explaining your feelings just feels so much more genuine in English. I don’t know what it is.
But at the same time I feel so guilty at times. I feel like I’m abandoning Belgian writers. I feel like I’m disappointing my home country and language. I do love Dutch. It’s just that some things tend to sound really cheesy and weird in Dutch, while they’re normal or romantic in English. Maybe I’m not appreciative enough of Dutch. The one thing is that I would never read a book from a Dutch-speaking author translated. Like I said, I do prefer the original languages.
Do you have this “problem” as well with your language? Or if your native language is English, have you read books that were originally written in other languages?