As I only recently got back into posting on my blog, and I already got lots of new followers (welcome!!), I thought it might be fun to host a Q&A. I asked people on Instagram and Twitter to send me their questions, and I love the ones you’ve sent me, thank you so much!
I ended up getting so many questions I’m dedicating three blogposts to them, just so I can answer them properly without imposing a massively long post on you. You can expect part 2 to go up soon! This is already going to be quite a long post as it is, so I hope you’ll bear with me.
What got you into reading? (Isa)
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, long before I could actually read. The main reason for that isn’t a thing, but rather a person. Looking back at my early childhood, I remember my family reading to me often, and letting me “read” books myself. I would often surround myself with books and just flick through them – they’ve always been my happy place. My grandmother still often tells me how she would never be worried I’d damage a book even when I was very little, because I would absolutely treasure them.
But what I most distinctly remember, is spending time with my great grandmother, and I think it’s mainly because of her that I started loving books so much. She would read to me, but especially with me, and I would always be allowed to touch and flick through her books. She passed away when I was 6 but I have lots of happy memories involving her and books, and I still have some of them.
What made you fall in love with books? (Raf)
Of course this question is sort of similar to the first one, but I feel like the answer might be slightly different. Because I’d never have fallen in love with books if I hadn’t liked them in themselves. I think what made me fall in love with books initially was the comfort they offered: they gave me a place to go back to and it would be the same every time, no matter how many times I read them.
This makes more sense to me in hindsight, because I was diagnosed with autism a little over a year ago. Reading has probably always been my main coping mechanism and a way for me to unwind, relax and feel at ease. I still turn to books for a sense of safety and comfort.
Would you want to write a book yourself? (Do)
In short: yes! Very much so! But I’m not a very experienced writer at all. I’ve written my fair share of academic texts and generally got positive feedback on them. And I’ve also worked as a freelance editor for a few years now, and written a lot of feedback and the occasional article. But I haven’t written a whole lot of fiction.
One of my goals for 2019 is to write more often, actually. That’s one of the reasons I picked up my blog again, and started journalling.
I went to a bookish event in the Netherlands last year where they interviewed Becky Albertalli, and she said she always advises people to start with writing fanfiction, because it gives you the opportunity to gain experience without having to come up with an entire world and characters and all of that. This seemed like very helpful advice to me, so I’m just writing some terrible fanfic for now until I feel like I might be able to write something original! I’m mainly trying to enjoy myself, and I have no intention of sharing my writing anywhere as of now, but hopefully I’ll get better down the road.
What is your favourite series? (Amy)
This is going to be the most basic answer ever, but: Harry Potter. Until the very end. (See what I did there?) I can’t even express into words how much I love that series.
I’m not exaggerating if I say that I think about Harry Potter multiple times every day. I’ve reread the books so many times and watched the movies several times as well, and they always bring me such comfort. I also collect multiple editions of the books, as well as merchandise, like Funkos. It’s safe to say that this fandom is one of the main things that got me through my depression in the past year or two.
That being said, I’m really disappointed in the way J.K. Rowling has acted over the past months/years. I refuse to let her take away my love for the world she created, but it would feel hypocritical to me not to express how much I disagree with and dislike some of the choices she’s made and some of the things she’s said. For instance, I found The Crimes of Grindelwald to be insulting to the loyal Harry Potter fandom for several reasons, and I think we all deserved a lot better. I won’t get into it any further now because I think we’ve all read enough about it already, but let’s just say I’m very sad about the whole thing.
What genres do you read? (Hâf)
What genres don’t I read? I went through quite a journey in my reading from my teenage years until now. As a child, I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on. It’s safe to say I read a lot of books at an age where I should not in fact have been reading those books, because they had pretty mature themes. I remember reading some very intense novels at the ripe age of 11, for instance.
When I was a teenager, YA wasn’t really a thing yet (I’m 25 now, fyi). I followed the Harry Potter series, of course, and I vividly remember the last three books being released. And I was, unfortunately, the exact right age when Twilight came out, so I used to be a big fan of those books as well. I also read quite a few more literary novels, as I felt the need to be well-read.
At 17, I started studying Dutch Language and Literature at university, so I learned to read more critically and had to do a fair bit of required reading. I developed a sense of what makes books good on several levels, and I read my fair share of classics and literary novels, but I also always continued to read lots of children’s books, fantasy novels, sci-fi and YA.
A little over two years ago, I developed depression, and I found myself unable to focus on more complex novels, which is why I ended up reading mostly YA, fantasy and science fiction. I’m doing a little better now and I’m finally able to read whatever I want again (I’m currently making my way through Anna Karenina, for instance, and loving it). But I’ve absolutely fallen in love with YA, and over the past year I’ve gained a new appreciation for YA contemporary especially. I think this is because these books have become increasingly more diverse and they offer representation in a way I didn’t have when I was a teenager myself. I’ve absolutely loved being able to see myself in a bunch of books, and it’s also been amazing to read, learn and become more aware of marginalizations that don’t affect me directly.
If you’ve stuck with me so far, thank you, I really appreciate it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and that you got to know me a little better. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask them. I’d love to learn more about you as well, so I’d love for you to answer some of these questions or respond to my answers down below! I’ll try to upload part 2 of this Q&A very soon.