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message 1: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1807 comments Most Goodreads members are from the U.S., since that's where this network started. But we have a large and growing membership in other countries as well, and quite a few nationalities are represented in this group. The idea for this thread was suggested by one of our newest members, Puffix, who's from Romania.

What country are you from, and does your nationality influence your reading? (And if so, how?) Do you read in more than one language? Do you read mainly authors from your own country? Does your country have a flourishing book trade? What about library systems in your country? And is it easy or difficult to get copies of books by foreign authors?


message 2: by Woolfie (new)

Woolfie Silvanus (nightlightknight) | 12 comments Well I'm from Malaysia, and I live in Kuala Lumpur, the capital. I used to have to read books in the national language, Malay when I was at primary and secondary school, but out of choice, and due largely to my Dad, who's English, I have only ever read English books. Perhaps I do not give Malay books a fair chance, but I'm not really to bothered about that, as there is a more than sufficient plethora of books in English to fill up several hundred lifetimes.

Not that the local authors here do badly, they don't, there is a growing market for Malay language stories, so much so, it can be seen in the smaller bookshops encroaching upon territory once occupied by English books. In general books here are pretty pricey, but when you use the exchange rate, it is cheaper than if you were to buy it in England or America, odd how a hundred ringgit feels so much more than 15 dollars or pounds but be less!

There are a smattering of libraries about, and they cater well enough to reading tastes, but the bookshops are heavily frequented s a general rule. In some of the major bookshops the range naturally is much greater,and the facility for ordering books not in store is a great help, if you can stand the wait of three weeks to a month!

I am proudly what you may call a bookshop ghost, because I invariably haunt one on my days off work, and more often than not leave satisfied with a book or two to add to the tottering towers and overstuffed bookshelf back home!


message 3: by Teo (new)

Teo  (puffix) | 17 comments As Werner said, I'm from Romania. I proposed this topic of discussion because I believe that our upbringing influences our views on books and their meaning. Most people I spoke with in my country would take a philosophical book that has the word vampire in it and read it at face value, Romanians being a very superstitious bunch.
I read in three different languages but mostly in English. I stopped reading in Romanian and Romanian authors because either the translations are extremely bad or simply because the authors are no good. There are, of course, exceptions like Mihai Eminescu (poetry) or Ion Creanga (stories).
I recently discovered that although my country has a flourishing book trade most of the books sold are either children's books and self-help books of some sort. I find this assessment sad because culture thrives on reading and spreading information.
I am happy to say that my bookshelves are overflowing with books in about five languages (try reading with a dictionary near you... it helps).


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I have to read with a dictionary near me when I read Ayn Rand. I find it both amusing & shameful that an immigrant, who picked up a language as weird as English as her second language, has a better vocabulary that I do.

I took some French in high school, many moons ago, but do not speak or read any other language. I've always regretted not being able to study Latin. That would be handy to know. Anyway, my brief brush with a foreign language was enough to make me have a lot of respect for anyone who can deal with more than one, especially when English is the other.

Is English taught in your schools as a required 2d language? I've heard that it is in quite a few. Makes me pity the poor kids. I had & have enough trouble with it & I'm a native. Is it pretty easy to practice speaking it? I see Woolfie has an English father, but what about the rest of the folks around? How about you, Puffix?


message 5: by Teo (new)

Teo  (puffix) | 17 comments Jim, I started speaking English at age 3, in kindergarden. My mom is kinda strange about languages so I had to learn English and German. I don't really remember German but I can read it with a dictionary nearby but as you can see English stuck. I also speak and read Italian rather fluently I suppose. French is hard and I don't recommend Latin to anyone who doesn't speak another latin-based laguange. Regarding speaking English, it's kinda hard sometimes because I get the words muddled (I know how and what to say but I got my tongue pierced some years ago and it muddles my speech if it's not a latin-based language)


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) That'll teach you to poke extra holes in your body. Of course, they always said that when I jumped out of working aircraft, too.
;-)

Kindergarten when you were 3? I didn't start until I was 5. Is that typical? Is your Mom from Germany?


message 7: by Teo (new)

Teo  (puffix) | 17 comments Yes, it's typical... it started sort of like up is the ceiling down is the floor and so on so on and my Dad is from Germany or so my Mom tells me :-?? anyway, I poked two more holes in my body before I got bored with the pain and blood of all of it... it kinda gets old after three pierce-rings and your tolerance goes down.


message 8: by Werner (last edited Nov 16, 2011 03:29PM) (new)

Werner | 1807 comments I was born and bred in the U.S., and don't read in any other language but English fluently or for pleasure. (As a seminary student, I learned basic Hebrew and Greek for Scripture study, but I'm rusty in both languages, since for years I've only read the Bible in English.) That does influence my reading; Americans tend to be rather parochial, and I realize that I am, too, though I deplore it. When it comes to reading fiction (which is what I read, more so than nonfiction) the majority of authors whose work I've read are American; and most of the rest are British. (That would also apply to my nonfiction reading, too.) I've read only a small smattering of works by authors of other nationalities, and most of those are short stories. That even applies to Canadian and Australian fiction, despite the facts that it's (mostly) in English and that I have a daughter and son-in-law who are Aussie citizens, and to Swedish literature, though the latter would be part of my ethnic heritage. (I'd like to be able to speak or read Swedish, but have never invested the time and effort to learn. :-( ) I often tell myself that I should remedy this and make a special effort to broaden my acquaintance with world literature, but the vast majority of books I really want to read are still by American or British writers.

Being a college librarian, I have really good library access (and access to two different public library systems, since I live near a state line that divides two systems with reciprocal borrowing privileges). We have enough bookselling venues (including a local brick-and-mortar bookstore that can special order pretty much anything requested) that purchasing both new and used books isn't a problem, and especially the latter are usually affordable. That's a blessed state of affairs that, like most Americans, I probably take too much for granted.

Many works by foreign authors are available locally, and many that are not could be obtained by interlibrary loan. There are two caveats that apply there, though. First, for foreign-language works, those of us who are monolingual (and that includes most Americans) are dependent on English translations. Most worthwhile foreign works written before ca. 1965 have been translated, but in the case of more recent books, our book trade has mostly tended to translate only the "artsy highbrow" type writings and to ignore 'popular" works (that is, any works that a normal reader would actually enjoy). And second, though international interlibrary loan is theoretically possible, most U.S. libraries don't offer it. (My college library doesn't, for instance, because the college's postage meter isn't programmed to handle the return postage.) But most of us could still read a lot more foreign writings than we do!


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Teo, I had my ear pierced many years ago. It was a party & the girl who thought I'd look good with an ear ring was pretty & available, so I let her stick a pin through it. I think I kept it open for a few years. Used to have a silver pot leaf with jade inlay that one of my girl friends gave me, but it is long gone now.
;-)


message 10: by Teo (new)

Teo  (puffix) | 17 comments I have a silver pot leaf in my eyebrow... it's kinda cute. You should have kept the hole in your ear... it gives personality... I don't mean the hole.. I mean the earring you put in it. I found that I can understand more about people from their accessories.


message 11: by Kessor (new)

Kessor C (kessor_c) | 3 comments Guess Where I'm from? I'm from Cambodia, part of Asia. I guess I learned English when I was 10(I'm 17 now). I came to the U.S. last year in June (2010).

My hobby is about writing and reading (tend to go with writing more ;D). I don't remember when I started to love it, but by the time I finished 10th grader, I had already wrote 5 novels (in my language). Of course I guess they are ridiculous and kinda childish.

However, this is my senior year in the U.S. and I'm taking Creative Writing 1... so next semester I'm going to work for a literature magazine at my school, and I'm super excited.

Okay, I'm gonna answer your questions, Jim.
I don't know if my nationality influences me to read or not. I just know that I love to read and write. So I do what I love.
I read more than one language obviously. My language, English and Latin. I also know Thai a little. Lol, i guess because I'm a language person. I read different authors from my country, but mainly authors are always more interesting.
No trading at all, they are only popular in Cambodia.
Library system in my country are ridiculously poor. :(
Of course, I don't think I found one book of the foreign authors.

Oh, by the way, call me Kessor.


message 12: by Woolfie (new)

Woolfie Silvanus (nightlightknight) | 12 comments Well hello there Kessor, you can call me Ross, heck everyone can call me that, it is my name after all:p

Nothing ridiculous about schooldays novels, my sister wrote a few, but they were for the entertainment of her friends, which they invariably were about:p I myself have never been into story writing, oddly enough, although I do enjoy writing immensely now! I did creative writing at Undergrad, best and strangest decision I ever made, it certainly was like no other class, seminar or lecture I'd ever previously been a part of:p

Anyway, welcome again, from a few hundred kilometres south of Thailand:p


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Teo wrote: "I have a silver pot leaf in my eyebrow... it's kinda cute. You should have kept the hole in your ear... it gives personality... I don't mean the hole.. I mean the earring you put in it. I found tha..."

I've been married forever, have kids, dogs, goats, horses, & a small farm that I hate to leave. I don't wear any jewelry ever. For fun, I make things out of wood &/or metal in my shop, complete with forge. My personality is 'no frills', I think.
;-)


message 14: by Teo (new)

Teo  (puffix) | 17 comments It's not really about jewelry ... do you wear a belt buckle? If yes... it says things about you:D it's that simple.
I'd say it's good to meet someone who lives the dream :D


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Welcome to the US, Kessor. I certainly admire folks that have a knack with languages & can write an entire novel.


message 16: by Kessor (new)

Kessor C (kessor_c) | 3 comments Woolfie wrote: "Well hello there Kessor, you can call me Ross, heck everyone can call me that, it is my name after all:p

Nothing ridiculous about schooldays novels, my sister wrote a few, but they were for the en..."


Hi Ross,
Yeah, I wrote those novel just to entertain myself and my friends too. ;p
Personally, I think I made the right decision of taking that class. Some of my friends said I'm crazy for taking that class even though they agreed that it helps me build my vocabularies.
Thanks Ross :)


message 17: by Kessor (new)

Kessor C (kessor_c) | 3 comments Jim wrote: "Welcome to the US, Kessor. I certainly admire folks that have a knack with languages & can write an entire novel."

Lol, no, I wrote novels in my languages, But i did write some short stories in English, which i love so much. I was thinking about post some in here, but I have no idea how. Anyway, thanks for admiring me :)


message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Under your profile, there is a place to post writing.


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