Three things working at a publishing house has done for my reading

As some of you might know, the end of last September I started a work placement at a Dutch publishing house. That’s right, I’ve officially joined the working class: this girl now works a nine to five job! Ever since I started my PR & Marketing internship at Overamstel Publishers I have been wanting to share some of the perks of working at a publishing house (aside from spending all my time surrounded by books). So here they come:

Books in Dutch have rejoined my TBR

Most books I read are written in English by native speakers. When I became fluent enough to read in English instead of Dutch I never really looked back. Slowly, so slowly I didn’t even realize it happened, I stopped reading books written by Dutch authors. When I started my internship at Overamstel I was suddenly surrounded again by the Dutch written word and meeting all those authors once again peaked my interest. I picked up a non-fiction book written my Maartje Laterveer, a freelance journalist for Vogue and multiple dutch major newspapers, and I finished the whole book in three train journeys to and from work! Next up was the thriller Broertje (roughly translated: little brother) from Michael Berg, while I almost never read thrillers, and I completely lost myself in the story. And so it continued. I recently finished Dagboek van een getuige (roughly translated: the diary of a witness) by Astrid Holleeder and it was such a powerful book about hardship and perseverance.

What I am really trying to say is: I am finally reading in dutch again. I finally realized reading in dutch doesn’t mean that I have to read translations, there are SO MANY wonderfully talented dutch authors just waiting to be discovered and I am so happy to have rediscovered this. It was somewhat of a revelation to me and I am making it my goal to discover as many as possible in the years to come.

You simultaneously read less and more

This sounds so logical and illogical at the same time. It’s just that at the publishing house I read quite a lot and when I get home I don’t always feel like reading even more. I mostly find myself reading on the train journey’s to and from home, that is if I can find a place to sit… So I have a lot more selective about the books I read. I’m not the type of reader that is able to read multiple books at the time, that will just end up annoying and confusing me. So I have become choosy in what books I read, and I am totally fine with it. I’ve found that the amount of books I read has cut back drastically, but overall I enjoy them way more and end up rating them pretty high. I’ve become so attuned to my likes and dislikes, so choosing books that I’ll actually enjoy reading has become a lot easier.

My reading is developing again

Overall, I have been reading a lot more as my reading just doesn’t solely consist of books anymore with the publishing house related stuff thrown in. Moreover, I have started reading different books! For starters, I’ve discovered a newfound love for non-fiction. Two of the Dutch books I previously mentioned are non-fiction and I enjoyed both books immensely. You will actually be seeing some of that in the upcoming month, as I have a dual review scheduled of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I’m really excited about posting this review as it is very different from my regular reviews. It’s more of a discussion between two people on a certain book and you will be treated to the point of view of a medical student (my sister) and a literature student (me), which, especially regarding When Breath Becomes Air, will prove a really interesting combination. I have also begun reading poetry again, such as Robert Burns, Rupi Kaur, and Robert Frost. I’ve just really seen my reading develop again, and frankly, it makes me excited to discover new books outside of my comfort zone.

So there you have it: three things I saw change about my reading since I became an intern at a publishing house! One thing that hasn’t changed though, is my excitement to see what I’ll read and discover next.

Have you seen your reading habits change in any way?

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  1. Jenneke
    04/12/2017 / 15:48

    So interesting how reading habits change!

    I’ve seen mine change as well over the years. Since I’ve studied more and more, I started reading for leisure less. On top of that, I find myself almost in trouble nowadays to find a fiction book that is able to grab and hold my attention. I’m more and more going towards nonfiction books about economics, politics and psychology (I know, sounds really boring, but I find them interesting), almost akin to what I read for my studies (but than popscience – or popular science books). I still have some fiction authors that I love, and I know I can e.g. get totally lost in books written by Dan Brown (I can only start reading if I have a day off, because I know I’ll just read through the nights to finish those books), but it has been long since I’ve finished a fantasy, romance or distophian novel that I started reading – my give-up Goodreads list is almost growing faster than my list of books I’ve read.

    My new plan is to “force” myself into reading again by having the goal of (re)reading a book every week. Just to get into the habit again. I’m now on my second week, and I have rediscovered the relaxed feeling that reading a book gives me, which is so much better than relaxing by watching Netflix. I don’t know, maybe I’ll rediscover my love for books, or maybe I’ll become that person that reads less than 10 books a year, of which half are study/work related (the horror – but I’m kind of going there I am afraid).

    Any tips for getting back into reading?

    • Iris
      19/12/2017 / 12:58

      I’d say don’t set the goal to high and pick up books outside your comfort zone! I went outside my comfort zone by picking up Dutch books and turning to non-fiction. I love fantasy books and retellings and there are some GREAT new releases that I know you’d enjoy!

      Also, try not to choose series, grab a stand-alone. There is less pressure in picking up just one book, instead of picking up one that has a sequel. Romance novels are my guilty pleasure. I always pick up one when I’m in a slump because I don’t need the plot to be great or the worldbuilding to be amazing… I just want a good love story with some sexy time, haha.

      Hope this helps!

  2. 05/12/2017 / 21:15

    As I mentioned on IG, I really love this post! I’m so glad you shared some of your experiences with us. It makes me really happy that you’re discovering Dutch Authors. I know I’m spoiled because English is my native language, and maybe I can’t really understand, but it makes me so sad every time someone tells me that they refuse to read in their native language. I do understand why people want to ALSO read book in English, but not exclusively. And if people stop reading books written in any language besides English, what does that do to the publishing industry everywhere else? Eventually being an author is going to be the exclusive privilege of Americans, Brits, Australians, or people who can write fluently in English. That’s not a world I want to live in.
    Also, Sebastian and I linked your post in a post we’re publishing tomorrow. I hope that’s okay.

    • Iris
      19/12/2017 / 12:50

      I totally get what you mean, I think no one should refuse to read in their native language. It’s so easy to to so because there is just such a big market of English books that it’s easy to lose sight of books written in your own native language. And I agree, if people would only read in English the publishing industries elsewhere would collapse and that would be a HUGE mistake.

      I’m a bit slow in replying, but of course that’s fine!

      • 22/12/2017 / 15:52

        Thanks, Iris! And I completely agree. :)

  3. 06/12/2017 / 15:49

    Great post. I too read almost exclusively in English for a while, but in the last few years have discovered reading in Dutch again. I do need to pick up more by Dutch authors themselves though. Right now I pick up a lot of translated works. I have even gone back to the library. :)

    • Iris
      19/12/2017 / 12:46

      That is awesome! I don’t find myself picking up translated works, but as I am doing a work placement at a publishing house I’m in touch with a lot of Dutch authors and I pick up their books without hesitation. It’s so interesting that you have rediscovered reading in Dutch again as well!

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