Book Babble: my words for what others might call a discussion. In my first Behind The Books post, I talked about how I “stopped” reading Dutch books and switched to English. Being a Dutch book blogger in the Netherlands who only reads English can be quite complicated, but it’s all worth it! I do occasionally pick up a Dutch book, but it’s quite rare! Today I want to talk about why I don’t read Dutch.
It all started with The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. I wanted the book, but it wasn’t (and apparently still isn’t!) translated to Dutch. I was thirteen at the time and although I was better in English than most of my classmates, I didn’t know if I could do it. My “need” to still read the book won over the “fear” of failure and I ended up buying the book. To my surprise, it was easier tor read than expected! After that, I only bought three more books in Dutch and started reading in English.
The Dutch Language
The main reason I don’t read Dutch is because I cannot stand the Dutch language. There’s something about the translation from English to Dutch that makes a book ugly. Especially the use “You” in a Dutch book. In English, there’s only “You,” no matter who you talk to. In Dutch, there are many different translations for different (groups of) people. In English “U” might be rude and lazy, in Dutch is actually the polite way to say “You.” Reading The Selection by Kiera Cass in Dutch was a huge struggle for me because I use of the “polite you” annoyed me too much. “I” (Dutch translation “Ik”) was annoying as well when a book is written in first person. It sounds much more natural in English than in Dutch. In The Selection, America actually sounded like a whiney and egocentric little toddler to me, even though I know she isn’t because I read it in English as well and I loved her! The English language is so beautiful to me and the Dutch really isn’t. When you want to say something in English, there’s tons of way to say it. In Dutch, there’s usually only one or two. This makes English much prettier than Dutch.
The price of Dutch books is absolutely ridiculous. Most YA paperbacks are around €15-20, if you look at those same books in English, you can save between €5-10. Basically, you can either get two English books or one Dutch book. Or a Dutch paperback or an English hardcover. It’s an easy choice for me.
It’s quite rare when a Dutch YA book is published in hardcover. The 100 by Kass Morgan is the exception because those only have a hardcover edition. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi had a hardcover edition, but they have sold out and now only the paperback is available. Even Harry Potter hardcovers are rare! I’ve never actually seen one – I think. Since I’m a sucker for hardcovers, it makes me quite sad to think there are barely any Dutch hardcovers out there.
The Messy Publication Industry
The publication of Dutch translations can be very messy. The Alice in Zombieland series has four books, but only three are translated. Pretty Little Liars has sixteen books, and only eight are translated. After six books, they changed the edition and I’m left with a non-completed series. The Vampire Diaries is doing quite alright, the books all have the same size, but the last few books that came out have a completely different cover. Where’s the consistency? The Dutch publishing industry has made a lot of improvement over the past few years, but there’s still so many “mistakes” being made! This kind of stuff happens all over the world, but it feels so much bigger in the Netherlands because the industry is too small for mistakes like these. I’m quite the perfectionist when it comes to my bookshelves, so I’ll pass on Dutch translations/publications.
Some of my favourite books aren’t translated into Dutch and I don’t see them being translated anytime soon. The translation of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray came out a while ago, and I was so happy! Not because I could finally get it, but because Dutch readers could finally get it as well! I’m really missing translations for books like Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch and The Orphan Queen/The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows. Where do I sign up to translate them?!
How do you feel about translations and different editions of books? And if English is your second language, in what language do you read? I’m curious, let’s discuss in the comments below!