menteuse: (soul food)
[personal profile] menteuse
Happy Birthday [ profile] beyondtheworld! I hope you have a fantastic day and a great party and lots of presents and overall fabulous time. ♥
This entry is going to be something not that many people probably end up commenting on, but it's something I've wanted to write for a while because I do find this subject interesting. Yes, this is going to be a post about reading and it is a very long one, but I still hope someone clicks the cut and takes the time to leave their thoughts. I do hope to get some discussion.

So, why am I writing this? Sometime last week I was going through someone's Tumblr I was linked to and ended up seeing what I assume to be a Harry Potter secret. The OP was saying that they didn't believe someone at the age of 6 could have read the books and the people reblogging and commenting were saying they were reading at the age of 2 (none of them said they were reading Harry Potter though, so I assume they were referring to other books) and there were comments with things like if the OP came from a place where you could get better education they would believe a six-year-old could read those books. Now, this is why I got interested and started thinking about how I and a lot of people around my age in Finland have learnt to read.

(Sidenote: When I talk about reading I am here referring to reading books, not magazines or newspapers or fics.)

I learnt to read when I went to first grade, at the age of seven. My parents (my Mum mostly) read to me a lot when I was kid, though funnily enough my most vivid memories of someone reading to me are from the days I was in daycare and the lady taking care of me read Grimm stories. But yes, I didn't learn to read until at school, my parents flat out refused to teach me since my Brother had learnt to read before he went to school and was awfully bored on the classes when everyone else was practicing and my parents didn't want that to happen to me too. Which resulted in long evenings spent with my Alphabet book and me proclaiming "I will never learn to read". Oh how wrong I was.

After I eventually did learn, I went through all the children's books and a very vast majority of the YA books in my local library and even in the neighboring one when I got a bit older. I have read so much since. I've kept a list of all the books (sans some school related textbooks) since 2003 until this day and can check back and wonder how on earth I read some of the books I did when I was 13, 14 and realize I didn't really understand them at all. My Mum still reads quite a lot these days, as does one of my Godmothers. My Dad does read, but he has those specific niches he's interested in. My Brother however, doesn't really read at all. Just last weekend when we were talking about something I can't recall now, he mentioned how he couldn't remember the last time he had read a book. Which I found not only a bit sad, but also very interesting. I know my cousins don't read either, and one of them even takes pride in it. /short literary history of my family

So the things I would love to discuss take us back to the original claim that a six-year-old could read a Harry Potter book. It's been a while since I went to school for the first time, but somehow I still think that while some Finnish kids could read those books before their seventh birthday, a lot of them couldn't. Somehow I still see that learning to read is something you do at school, though it is definitely changing. Which is why I want to ask, could a 6-year-old in your country read books like Harry Potters or something similar? When do kids in your home country usually learn to read and when did you learn to read yourself? And I'd also be interested in hearing how you learnt to read, with an Alphabet book or with a parent or in some other way?

As I mentioned, I've kept a list of all the books I've read in the past few years. Nowadays my yearly total comes up to around 50 books, when at best years it has been over 100. Out of curiosity I also counted all the books I've read in English (I still read majority of the books in Finnish) and came up with around 60 books. Which is a surprisingly small number, because I've had the feeling I do read most books in English these days. However, I did check how many of those 60 books I've read during the last three years and that number is 48. Which explains that feeling I've had. This brings us to the topic of how much do you read each year and what do you think reading a lot means? I went through one literary blog and almost laughed when someone stated "I read a lot, 8 to 10 books a year" because to me that equaled the books I read in two or three months. I know different people read in very different ways and many people have changed their reading ways with ebooks and tablets coming to the market. I would love to know have you changed your reading habits?

And in order to make this a post for those who do not read, I would love to get your input too. Is there some reason you don't read, because it's difficult or takes time or is simply boring? Really, I'm interested in these stories too because I admit I know nothing about a life without reading books.

I would love to hear your answers to some of these questions, or if you feel like leaving me with a short story of how you see reading, I am more than happy with that too. I just find this genuinely interesting since I know very little about how people in other countries learn to read and how they read. Yes, we give each other book recommendations, but that only means we've stumbled upon a book we liked, nothing more really.
As a last note I would like to remind that I am sending out Christmas/holiday cards and if you didn't comment in my last post saying you'd like one, now is your time for that. I do love sending out those cards.

Date: 18 Nov 2011 11:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
actually I don't know how and when I learnt to read but I've heard it was very early, when I was around 3 years old. since I remember I always read a lot and always I read mostly books (I don't consider reading magazines and newspapers a real reading) when I was 10-13 during summer holidays I used to visit the library every 1-2 days as that's how long it took me to finnish a book. And I remember I was in the first grade when I read "Anne of Green Gables" so I'd say it's possible to read Harry Potter by 6-year-old these days, probably I'd have read it as well 20 years ago ;)
to be honest I have no idea how kids learn to read here but I assume most of them to do at pre-school and in the first grade so when they are 5-7 y.o.
Last year I started doing lists of all the books I read (and movies I watch) and last year I ended up with 58 books (if I remember correctly) which I think it's pretty good for me and my crazy lifestyle ;) However this year will be worse with around 40 books I guess (now I'm around 35). But considering an average person in Poland reads less than 1 book per year I'm exceptionally good ;) I just can't imagine a day without a book, I read each day in bed, before going to sleep (even if that means only 1 or 2 pages) and whenever I'm in the bus/train/tram, unfortunately it doesn't happen very often that I read besides these situations...

I don't feel like I could ask for any Christmas cards as most probably I won't be able to send any but if you really want to I think you have my Warsaw address ;)

Date: 19 Nov 2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, after reading everyone's comments I feel like I'm the weird one who didn't learn to read very young. Haha, I remember going to the library about once a week in my teens and checking out at least three books at a time. I have to admit, I don't think I've ever read Anne of Green Gables, I never seemed to get into those kind of books.

It's kind of sad average Pole reads so little. Your reading habits sound pretty similar to mine, I've taken up reading on the trains again. And I usually read before bed too, though sometimes that can be two hours even. Oh and I hope you post a list of all the books you've read this year at the end of December, would be interesting to see it. :)

I'm not asking anything in return, so I'm going to send you a postcard. And yes, I'm pretty sure I do have your address.

Date: 29 Nov 2011 11:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
but you explained why you learnt to read that late and that's a perfectly good reason, it's not like something was wrong with you!
sure, I'll post such a list soon but my reading taste is pretty weird this year ;)

Date: 30 Nov 2011 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well that's true. And I guess it has to do with our school system being different from, say the British one, so that we don't need to learn really young if we don't want to.
Haha, well I've been going through some pretty strange books this year too.

Date: 18 Nov 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Mm, I learnt to read before I started elementary school... By accident. I had this book that I really loved and mom kept reading it to me and then, one day, I just... learned to form the words myself.

Date: 19 Nov 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That sounds like such a wonderful way to learn to read. Can I ask which book it was? I think I might have learnt earlier if I didn't have about 25 different books I wanted to be read to me.

Date: 20 Nov 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unfortunately I have no memory whatsoever what book it was but it was about a cat...

Date: 21 Nov 2011 08:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That happens. I have tons of books that I only remember one thing about and thus can never find them again.

Date: 18 Nov 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wish i had the self discipline to keep a journal of all the books i read! I've been meaning to start one for years, but i never did. I should put a book journal on my wishlist for Christmas, for sure. I think kids here at age 6 definently have read some Harry Potter, but perhaps just the versions that are made simpler to read, and also just the Swedish translation. I myself never read Harry Potter in Swedish and can't imagine how bad it must be XD Then again i'm just opposed to reading any book that has been translated from its original language. Unless it's a a rare and great work of translation, that is. It happens. /book snob

I'm pretty sure i learnt how to read when i was around 5-6, but i can't remember exactly. I read simple story books for kids with pictures in them, and i remember the very first book i read in whole was Anne of Green Gables. I loved it and was extremly fascinated by reading, i remember feeling like a part of some secret cool society for finally being able to read. Hahah. 8D;

Date: 19 Nov 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it just becomes a habit once you start. It does help to keep the journal near where you have your books though. I need to get a new journal this year, my old one has just one page left. I remember checking the Swedish translations and wasn't very impressed by them. I love the Finnish ones though, they're excellent and I think they are part of the reason why almost everyone here has read Harry Potter. I think reading on the original language is amazing, you get the exact feel of everything but to me it can be so time consuming (not to mention money consuming since the libraries don't have that much works in original languages.) Ido admire you for doing that.

I wish I could remember the first book I read in whole, but cannot. I haven't read Anne of Green Gables though, ever. Haha, familiar feeling, I totally get you. :D

Date: 19 Nov 2011 08:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A post about reading! I love it!

Okay before I get down to answering your questions, I'd like to say that I would love a card for Christmas if that's okay! I'll be sending you something too, of course :)

Now, reading. It's funny how your family and my family are sort of similar in that my parents and me and my sister love reading, but not my brothers. My first younger brother especially, I can't even remember the last time I've seen him with a novel/book that is not school-related. I'm trying to brainwash my youngest brother to start reading though, like buying him books with pictures and in big letters (cos he gets bored reading pages and pages of text) and that has topics which interest him. It seems to work because he's reading more, but he needs someone to push him from time to time cos he'd rather be playing games.

Date: 19 Nov 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Of course it is okay, you are definitely getting a Christmas card! :)

I sort of doubt my brother read his school related books, he just barely graduated from upper secondary school. I approve of you trying to brainwash your brother to read, you are obviously a good sister for doing that. :D It somehow seems that boys in general like to read less. I know my mum has read to me and brother when we were kids but only I ended up spending hours and hours with books.

tl;dr sorry

Date: 19 Nov 2011 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Which is why I want to ask, could a 6-year-old in your country read books like Harry Potters or something similar? When do kids in your home country usually learn to read and when did you learn to read yourself? And I'd also be interested in hearing how you learnt to read, with an Alphabet book or with a parent or in some other way?
In Malaysia it really depends, I guess. There was this survey a while back which said an average Malaysian reads three pages of book per year, which is super depressing but also unfathomable to me because there are so many bookshops and people are reading everywhere I go and... well, I guess I'm in a privileged position. Being from a middle-class, educated family is not the same as being from a family who don't grow up reading so I think it's fair to say that yes, 6-year-olds in the cities would probably read books like Harry Potter (we have Malay translations too) but not the 6-year-olds in the rural areas. We have a vibrant market for local books though (apparently, since I don't read local books ugh I sound like a snob but they're mostly trashy chick-lits and I tried reading a popular local book courtesy of my flatmate but I almost cried at how horrid it was) so I guess we could say reading in Malaysia is not solely for artsy fartsy English-speaking people only.

I started reading when I was about 5, mostly alphabet books I guess but honestly I can't remember. I'm pretty sure my parents don't read me to sleep, lol. Here's a funny story: when I first started reading properly (I was maybe 9), I was all over Malay translations of Nancy Drew, those Enid Blyton books about the Five Detectives and Mallory Towers, and even that Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Detectives series (man, I love those books!). But I was reading them so much that my mom became worried that I will never learn English because I kept devouring all those translated versions (in my defense, I didn't know they were translations). I outgrew them when I discovered the Sweet Valley books, Babysitters Club and the Goosebumps books and from then on until now I've read mostly English books with some exceptions (I realise I prefer non-fiction Malay books like war historicals rather than fiction ones because like I said, fiction ones are t e r r i b l e unless the books are those high literature ones in the vein of like... Malaysian Shakespeare, in which I have very little interest on. I should try them but seriously, the Malay language in those works are so difficult to get through).

This brings us to the topic of how much do you read each year and what do you think reading a lot means?
Umm, I wish I could say I read a whole lot each year but I would say I read an average 30 books per year? It varies though... like when I started working I think that year I ended up reading only 5 new books (UGHHHH) but last year when I had nothing to do I read 50+ books and I was pleased about that. This year I've only rad 28 books so far but I'm trying to read as much as I can while I have a library near me! I would like to say reading a lot makes you more knowledgeable about things and have more things to talk about but... that's kinda presumptuous. I would just say that by reading a lot, sometimes you figure out the things you want to read and the things you don't. Maybe you'll learn things - there's no point in reading 100 books if everything just flies past you - but at the very least you know what people are talking about. Like for me, I'm very bad with classics but when I tried my hand at classics last year and this year, I found that I enjoy reading Du Maurier and Wilde, but I can barely finish any of Henry James's works. So yeah, not every genre is for everyone but sometimes you find something you like.

I would love to know have you changed your reading habits?
Not really? I still can't really read books on the computer (this might be different if I have a Kindle which I waaaaaaant) so I still read them in print format. But I find that I have more time to read here because I use the public transport so I'm always reading on the train. I can't do that in Malaysia, since I drive everywhere there.


Re: tl;dr sorry

Date: 19 Nov 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't even think of the rural vs. cities thing, since it has been forever since it had any impact on how much people read here. I think even the smallest towns here have had a library so people could read even if they couldn't buy the books themselves. I do like the fact that you have Malay books too, even if they aren't that good since from what I've understood English has a pretty large threshold there. IDK, there is just something different about reading in your mother tongue.

I love it that your mother has been worried about you not learning English because you read Malay translations. I don't think my mum ever even got me a book in English, though she might have paid my copy of the Order of the Phoenix. (Which is the first book I read in English and it took me weeks.) And can I just say how much I love it that we've basically read the same stuff when we were kids/growing up. I kid you not, I probably read every single Nancy Drew book our library had and owned a ridic amount of the Sweet Valley books. And what you say about Malay books makes me realize how happy I am that Finnish literature is pretty good, we have some excellent authors and translations.

Haha, maybe it's presumptuous but it is kind of true. I mean, you can always try talking about books if you meet someone you don't know and end up having an awkward silence. At least that's what I do. And the point about knowing what people are talking about is so true, sometimes a book comes such a big hit that if you haven't read it you keep missing so much in conversations and such.

I'm very bad with classics
ARE YOU ME. Seriously, I'm trying to get into Russian classics right now, and I adore Wilde, but there are works by Austen or Shakespeare and other that are considered classics and I just can't get through them. I seriously love it how similar we seem to be when it comes to reading. :)

Ahh, I want a Kindle too (or a tablet but they're sooooo expensive). Plus I love having a real book in print format on my bedside table. And I've noticed I read more now that I go to Helsinki at least once a week and have a book with me on the train.


Re: tl;dr sorry

Date: 21 Nov 2011 10:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're right, there's something different about reading in your mother tongue. I noticed when I read that Malay novel this year I was able to relate to most of the things that goes on in the book socially, culturally - rather than a book set in the US, for instance. My problem is, though I'm Asian and I grew up in Asia, I tend to have a more Western thinking and lifestyle, so reading Malay books give me conflicted feelings, lol. I could relate to the situation in the book, but not to the characters. Maybe I just haven't find the right niche in the Malaysian book market!

Hahaha I'm glad to know we read the same books when we were kids! Oh, what Russian authors are you reading now? I read Dostoevsky's short stories earlier this year and I liked them! Planning to read Crime and Punishment but I have so many books to read now, lol. I don't mind Shakespeare (but I need to be in the mood, hahah) though I've never read any Austen. I should try just to see if I like her writing even though her subject matters aren't to my liking.

Tablets are expensive, I agree! Kindles are not so, you can get one for less than 100 dollars but I'm sort of waiting to save for an iPad, hahah.


Re: tl;dr sorry

Date: 21 Nov 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That happens to me too. I feel like some books set in the US I can't relate to in any way since I don't have to deal with the things the characters do. I even have that problem with Swedish books, there are some things that I can relate to as we do them just like the Swedes do, but then there are some things that just throw me off. And I find it interesting that Malay books give you conflicted feelings. (You are also making me want to read a Malay book but I doubt they've translated anything into Finnish.)

I actually got some Russian sic-fi book from the library today, but I forgot the author's name. D: I read Crime and Punishment in the spring and actually liked it. I'm kind of trying to decide if I want to read more Dostoevsky next or if I should pick up some Tolstoy. I've tried to read Pride and Prejudice, but couldn't finish it. It's funny really, because I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and enjoyed it a lot. I guess I just needed the zombies. xD

Yeah, I'd love a Kindle, but then again the Samsung Tablets looks veeeery nice too. Oh well, can't afford either at the moment so I'll stick to traditional ways of reading.


Date: 19 Nov 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi! Well, I'm not from abroad but I'm gonna answer anyway. :)
I wasn't interested in learning to read before school, I couldn't be bothered. That only means that I had my mum reading me all these books that I loved. She used to read me the Bible (not because we are religious but because I decided I wanted to hear those stories) and Pocahontas. which she must have censored, I don't remember hearing about sex then. Yeah, so, I learnt to read in school, two or three weeks after starting. It felt like an accident really. I was reading my Alphabet book and then I just could read it through (and did). After that I read all the kids/YA books in our local library, almost at least. No Sweetvalley high, though. (But I read Anne of Green Gables when I was over twenty, so...) :D And I love books, the format. And book stores. I wish I had more time than just read my school books. And that I'd have a reading light here in H, too. It's kinda awful I can't read in bed here. I feel like you know the rest, at least like almost. :D So many classics that I can't even think to try now and so many things I think I've read way too young. (Hey, I only like Shakespeare's comedies...) All in all, I don't read enough nowadays. Or I wanna read more, but I wanna graduate, too. :)

Date: 21 Nov 2011 09:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was in no way limited to just people from abroad.
I can't remember if I had any interest in wanting to learn to read before school, I just remember I really wanted to go to school. I feel like it took me forever to learn how to read but it probably wasn't that long in the end. Haha, yeah, we've both probably gone through most of the books in that library. :D Gosh, you need to get a reading light, you should always be able to read in bed. (I've never even read them, maybe I should try.) I know, it's choosing between school related stuff, reading and everything else. Somehow I feel like I've started to drop that everything else.

Also, can I just say that I like your book wishes a lot. I went "I want to buy all of these for her!". Too bad my finances wouldn't like that.

Date: 23 Nov 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, good. :)
Yeah, me too. I really did., I can remember that myself but my parents have told me the rest. Like when I learned to read, I remember the way I did, but not when. Just that I was already at school. :D And I thought too that it took like forever. :D I think, we have. I was though pleasantly surprised now that I visited there that they had quite many new books there! I know! It's so weird that I haven't got one and complaining about it clearly isn't helping at all. :D Yeah, maybe I should, too. ;)

Oh, yes you may. I'm glad you found them inspriring. :) I liked your wishes a lot, too. I've got
plenty awesome things to choose from. :D Yeah, it's too bad that our finances are limiting our possibilities in buying all that stuff, but it's the thought that matters. :)

Date: 24 Nov 2011 09:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Maybe we were still too young to remember exactly when we learnt. I feel like in general I remember very little of my childhood. They do have a pretty good selection of new books these days. I kept going through them during summer, it's nice to find something new when you go there. Haha, you just need to go to IKEA of something and get a lamp yourself.

Good. (I did realize I do have the first part of Anna Karenina too but since I've never read it I forgot it when you asked. Oops.) True, it's always the thought that's the most important. And I feel like I'm buying everyone books this year. That's what you get for being associated with me. :P

Date: 22 Nov 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's really interesting that your parents didn't teach you read because they didn't want you to be bored at school. It's a smart approach. I learnt to read when I was 2-3, with basic nursery rhyme and picture books, which is how I think most kids in Australia do it. I don't remember the other kids in my class at school being unable to read. I'm not sure if many six-year-olds would have been able to handle Harry Potter, though. They might have been okay with the words, but I'm sure a lot of the plot points, jokes, etc. would have been lost on them. I read it when I was about nine.

I used to read about twelve books a year. I am a notoriously slow reader. Over the past couple of years, I've gone up to about 25-30. I think that's mainly because I haven't been traveling or watching movies. It definitely requires a concerted effort for me to read this much because I am so slow, and because I usually like to take some time after finishing a book to ~process it. I read more when I'm studying because it's an escape. As soon as uni finished a couple of weeks ago, I found reading so hard. There are so many creative things I want to do, and reading just isn't that high on my list anymore.

I wish that I were a more prolific reader, but my main concern these days is output rather than input. I feel like time is so limited and my pursuits tend to be long-term and time-consuming (writing, making music, designing clothes). I do love reading, though. I love discussing books with my friends. I love beautifully constructed sentences and being inspired by great writers.

Date: 22 Nov 2011 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it was partly them being smart and partly them thinking they don't want to do something the teacher at school is supposed to do. I find it interesting that given how late people of my generation have learnt to read here, we still top those PISA lists that are about reading skills. I agree, smaller kids might miss some plot points and such if they read Harry Potters at the age of six or so. I think I was about nine too when I read the first one.

I find it interesting that I actually tend to read quite a lot while traveling, but that might be because I often go alone. And I get what you mean by taking time to process a book, I do that too. I can understand you not spending your time on reading because you really do so many creative things that I could never do.

I love beautifully constructed sentences
I think this shows in your own writing, your way of writing is so exquisite and beautiful. I think you manage to pick up a lot of good things from the books you read and use them. And I mean that in the most positive way. :)

Date: 25 Nov 2011 10:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I finally, finally have the time to reply to this entry. I've been thinking about this since I read it standing outside a bar last Saturday. :D

My parents read a lot and read a lot of books to me when I was small. I think these points are so, so important. It's not surprising that many people aren't interested in reading books when their parents never were either.
I learned reading in school, in first grade when I was about six or seven years old. I guess I could have learned it before but my parents kind of thought like your parents. They didn't want me to be bored in school and they also thought that it should all come from me. Like, they would always tell me what a specific letter was called when I asked about it. (I tended to read signs on the street going 'What letter is this?' or 'What does this word mean?') But they didn't want to make me sit down and actually study. So when I got into school I could spell and write my own name, my cousin's name (Anna) and zoo. And maybe more, I don't remember. I do remember sitting on the train one day though. I had this little book in my hands my mum had read to me many, many times, and I was acting as if I was reading it out loud because I knew it by heart. A man actually was surprised that I could already read at my age, haha.
The funny thing is, even though I probably would have been able to read before school, in the beginning I had a very hard time learning it. It seemed as if I was stuck or something. I could read some easy words but not more. As a result I got really frustrated because things usually came to me easily and I cried and didn't want to try anymore. Then, all of a sudden when I was trying to read my alphabet book once again I could. Just like that. Something must have snapped. And I think I was one of the best readers in my class immediately, when we did small plays or stuff like that I always had to be the narrator... Looking back I'd say it didn't even take me that long but it felt like ages to me. I just needed to get over that certain point.

I then started reading all the time. When I ate on my own, before sleeping, in the garden. I remember going on vacation with friends that had kids too who always urged me to play something with them when almost all I wanted to do was to read.
My local library was pretty small but it did have a lot of children's and YA books so I used to go there every two weeks and got about 5-10 books each time. One day I met one of my friends' mum there and I think I had only gotten a few books. So the librarian told her that 'Katharina has probably read all the book in the "young section" here and can't find anything anymore' which was about true. So I started looking for adult books that were suitable.
When I was about ten years old my parents decided that I shouldn't attend the normal six years of primary school but go to a new school after my fourth year so I had to apply at different schools. At the school I eventually ended up going to I had a conversation with the principal and a teacher and when they asked about my reading habits I actually told them that I sometimes even read while brushing my teeth. With the book lying on the toilet. Uhem. But I guess they liked it because they accepted me. :D

Sadly, I don't read that much anymore. A couple of years ago it was even less. These days I'm often not relaxed enough to read during the day, only if it's a really good book that I then finish over the course of a couple of days. Sometimes I prefer TV, a stupid habit that I got into during a time of my life that wasn't too good. Books couldn't really take my mind off most of the time, television could so whenever I feel lonely or hopeless these days I'd rather watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy or the like instead of reading a book which annoys me endlessly.
This year I will still have read more than thirty books (yes, I keep a list, on my Livejournal and also my diary) even though I was travelling most of the time.

I've run out of characters, are you kidding me? :D

Date: 25 Nov 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The thing is that I sometimes just don't have any new books. My uncle has a book store so I can't just walk into any store and get a book. Small book stores don't do so well so I support him of course. But, the book store is on the other side of Berlin and now it's even more difficult. I have to order the books I want and my dad has to pick them up for me which is a bit complicated. I hate not being able to buy books spontaneously even though it's awesome to have a book store in the family...

I think a 6-years-old would be able to read Harry Potter, not every 6-year-old though. But I doubt that most would understand what they were reading and I probably wouldn't give the books to my child at that age. I read the first one when I was 9 or 10 (it was a Christmas gift from my uncle and I was like 'ugh, I don't like magic' and then I read it in two days and couldn't think about anything else, I had all the words racing through my mind. Muggles, Slytherin, Gryffindor, Voldemort,...). I do think that most kids should decide what they want to read for themselves. My parents probably thought that I was reading some books too early but I was never really scared or confused, I kind of always knew what was good for me.

It's funny that I often feel more comfortable reading an English book even though I sometimes don't understand every last detail. People in Germany just don't grow up with English like people in Scandinavian countries or The Netherlands do so some of my friends are often surprised when they see me reading English books. I just don't really want to read translations from English books anymore if I can help it because the originals just feel more...original. If I knew any other language fluently I'd do the same.

I wish I could get more into classics. I've read some German ones, probably some British or American ones as well but I mostly remember reading a few of Jane Austen's works. It always make me a bit sad to discuss classics with the internet community because to most people that means only British or American novels even though Europe is like the birthplace for literature... This list keeps on going around the internet, and sure, it's a BBC list but it still bothers me that "War and Peace" is pretty much the only non-American/British book on there and even European people treat it as if it's the list to consider.
I often find though that classics can't entertain me as much as a Jodi Picoult novel. I wish it was different but in the end I think you can learn something from almost every book there is and as long as it makes you happy why not read mainly chick-lit like my friend Janine does?

Anyway, there are many more things I could have discussed but I've run dry for now. ;) And my comments are almost longer than your entry which is bit weird.

Date: 25 Nov 2011 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I bet I would feel like that too if someone in my family owned a bookstore. Luckily (I guess) no one does, so I just buy most of my books online these days. Which means I have tons of books and sometimes no time to read them.

I do think that most kids should decide what they want to read for themselves.
I agree so much. It annoys me when people say they are going to read this and that book for their kids or make them read them. Just, don't. Let them decide themselves if they want to read them or not. Harry Potters and Lord of the Rings are not for everyone. Yes, if your kid wants to read them you should let them, but for the love of god don't force them.

I do prefer originals too, but then again, I'm in such a wonderfully lucky position that the Finnish translations are most of the time excellent and new books appear in the libraries very fast so it's just easier to wait a while and then go pick them up there.

Ah, that BBC list. It is so heavily dominated by books originally written in English (which, well, is understandable since it was put together by Brits) but it does make me sad when people don't take the time to look for novels that have been written in non-English speaking countries. I feel like asking people on my flist to make a post recommending books from their countries, because it would broaden everyone's horizons and it would be interesting to see what kind of literature tops their bestseller lists.
Ultimately, for me, reading is about feeling happy, so if chick-lit is what makes you happy you should definitely go for it. If it's biographies you're into, then read those. I'm past the point of judging people based on what they read, I'm just willing to love them because they do read.

I love you and your long comments. Like I said, you have so many good points. :)

Date: 26 Nov 2011 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sorry, I'm intervening your conversation, but that's so true about the "compiled by Brits". They're literary culture is/has been rich and old and all, but it is so often so (and often said) that translated literature doesn't do that well in the UK (or States...) and that makes/made me quite sad. It's not the only literature (or good literature) and English isn't the only language that one can use well while writing. ;) And if War and Peace is the only (or almost so) nonoriniginallyinEnglish book that is on the list, so...

Date: 26 Nov 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It still makes me sad because sometimes when I read an amazing book in language other than English it makes me sad there is a huge bunch of people to whom I can't recommend it because they won't get an English translation or that the translation is ridiculously hard to find. This is partly why I am so happy Larsson's Millennium trilogy did get publicity and became popular because it proves non-English literature can be just as good. I think Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina were representing the originally Russian literature on that list and if I recall even slightly correctly, One Hundred Years of Solitude was there too. But if we take that, all the books on that list were written originally either in English, Russian or Spanish. I am not going to guess how many languages there are in the world, but those three don't even begin to represent them all. Or the whole world for that matter.

...I seem to have a lot feelings about this.

Date: 27 Nov 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad you guys agree with me on this.
I do love English and the fact that you can communicate with so many people from all over the world these days because of this language. And unlike many others I don't mind English words sneaking up in German or other languages. But then again I wouldn't want to trade in all the different languages in the world, there are so many that already aren't in use anymore and it probably sounds science fiction-like to even think about English being the only language out there one day. But still, forgetting about non-English literature definitely isn't going to help with keeping diversity alive. I'm sad [ profile] thereshedances's project [ profile] readtheworld mostly took place while I was abroad because this really was an amazing idea.

Date: 27 Nov 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I too like it that English is a lingua franca, but I hate it when people forget that there are still A LOT of people who can't speak it (or understand it). And if we forget about books for a second, I think it shows common courtesy if you learn a few words of the language of a country you're going to. You don't need to be fluent, but the locals appreciate it. I find it curious most of our foreign students are afraid of speaking Finnish even though some of them speak it so well. And there are so many things in other languages that English doesn't have, so many cultural things that if you try to replace them with English translations, it just doesn't work. People really should step out of their comfort zone and check books that were written in other languages than English (if their native tongue is English, that is).

I took a quick look at that [ profile] readtheworld project and wow, I'm sad I missed it. Any chance they'd start another one next year? Because I would love to do something like that, it would be so much fun.

Date: 27 Nov 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, yes, yes. Won't say more because I'd probably only repeat your points. :)

I actually asked [ profile] thereshedances about doing something like this again but she was rather disappointed by the way the community worked out. Maybe you should take over or steal the idea and create something similar? ;)

Date: 27 Nov 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh what a shame. Was it because there weren't enough people reading or something like that? But I do kind of feel like stealing the idea and doing something similar. If only I didn't suck at coming up with names for communities (or for anything) and being a mod.

Date: 27 Nov 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not sure. Maybe. Participating in that community definitely was a bit of work though.
Well, coming up with a name is only a tiny problem, and you probably shouldn't mod a community on your own anyway. I'd be your first (and hopefully) active member! :D

Date: 27 Nov 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can imagine, it's not always that easy to write about books no matter how much you love them.
Could I recruit you as a co-mod? Having a comm like that would be so fun, but I know that next year I'll have periods when I won't have much time for non-school related stuff.

Date: 27 Nov 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I feel honoured. :D I'd actually like to do something like this but I'm not the most creative person and don't know that much about books but if you don't mind I might be up for it.
I'll probably be busy too but I always still manage to do a lot of nonsense online so why not do something senseful instead?

Date: 28 Nov 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! :D I am not an awfully creative person either, but I'm sure we can get something together. And I think there is a lot of stuff at [ profile] readtheworld that we can steal/borrow/recycle/modify.
I know right. Besides, if nothing else, this would hopefully encourage us to read more.

Date: 28 Nov 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! :D
I remebered that there was some other community I was part of. But it was more like a book club and you had three choices out of different categories each month which didn't work out so well because some books were hard to get and not everyone read at the same speed. They had discussions and questions and everything and it was a really good idea and set up, just too overwhelming for most people.
Maybe we should keep that in mind. It would be nice if people could actually discuss the same books but a rather loose concept like [ profile] readtheworld might work best.

Date: 28 Nov 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here you go: [ profile] rainyday_reader. It's members only though.

Also, 'remeMbered'. :D

Date: 30 Nov 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also, going to PM you in a few minutes because what I've been planning and stuff would be too much for a comment. (I just don't want everyone to think I'm insane. xD)

Date: 30 Nov 2011 10:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was once considering a book club type of thing, but gave up because of the reasons you mentioned. It would be a bit too difficult. But we could do something similar, just a bit differently (like, two months to get a book and read it instead of one month), because discussing books is so much fun.

Date: 25 Nov 2011 11:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am not even going to ask why read this standing outside a bar, I am not.

Your point about parents reading to you (or their kids) is so important. My Mum always keeps saying I read so much because they kept reading me when I was little. And really, this is just one of those things that gets the ground to build on at home. Kind of like manners. If they don't teach you those at home, you're not going to get interested in them at school either. (Unless you're a ~rebel.)
Oh I know that feeling of being stuck when learning to read, I think I had it too. There was just a time when it felt like no matter how much I tried I couldn't get anywhere and it was so frustrating. I guess that it only felt like it took forever to learn because remember how it felt like a year laster forever when you were a kid and looking for something? Must have been the same effect.

I love it that so many people on my flist have been those "read all the time" people. I did it too, to the point that my parents started to be annoyed by it since I insisted on reading when we were visiting people and everything.
Haha, I don't think I've ever read while brushing my teeth. I do remember we did these reading journals in elementary school and it was kind of a competition who reads the most books during one semester. There was this one book every single person in my class read probably more than three times. I don't even know why, it wasn't particularly good or anything even.

It is really hard for me to read during the day too. Unless I'm on the train or trying to kill time somewhere I only read during the evening, before I'm going to bed. And I think I said this to someone else too, but I've noticed that I keep reading more when I'm traveling, I just need to have something to occupy my time on the planes and trains and such. (I think I'll need to go take a look at your book list to see if there is something I might want to read. I keep one on my LJ too.)

Date: 27 Nov 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This comment is also a reply to your first comment... :D

I'd say German translations are the same most of the time but I don't like missing puns etc. It's the same with TV, I just can't stand watching dubbed versions anymore.

Oh! You should definitely go and ask people about their recs. I'd do the same but my f-list is awfully small and quiet these days so I wouldn't expect a great outcome.

I already kept a list in 2009 and 2010 on my Livejournal and my 2009 book list is horrible. I only read 18 books that year but it got better in 2010. Still, I definitely need to read more! I'm so good at wasting my time without doing anything special.

Date: 27 Nov 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, it's a shame if you miss out puns or that something that makes a book so much fun to read. (This is kind of random, but I adore the person who translates Don Rosa's Donald Duck comics into Finnish because his stories have so much historical details and puns and somehow they always make it work in Finnish. It's amazing. :D) LMAO oh dubbed TV, one of the things I can't stand about German-speaking countries.

I think I should. Though I think I need to make some recs about Finnish books too. Need to find out what has been translated.

Haha, I think I had a list on my LJ in 2009 too. In 2010 I had one for sure. It's funny to look at my lists and realize there are some months during which I read only one book. Makes me wonder what the hell I was doing all that time.

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