Reading Around the Globe: Julie in Norway
“We also have a concept called Bookbus where several libraries fill buses with books to drive out to the population.”
Welcome to Reading Around the Globe, a series here on Reader Voracious Blog geared at fostering a culture of understanding in the bookish community about access to books in various countries around the world. Each post in the series highlights a full interview with one international reader. You can read more about this series and catch up on previous interviews on the master post.
- What is your name? Julie
- Blog URL? Julie has a Booktube channel!
- Twitter handle? @StrixAlucoBooks
- Where do you live? One hour from Oslo, Norway
- Do you find that there is a culture of reading where you live? If not, tell us a bit how you came to be one! In Norway, most people can read, and when I went to primary school there was a great reading culture, which I still think it is. However, reading enthusiasm is something that many lose during secondary school / high school, probably because of lack of motivation and amount of school work. Reading enthusiasm does not change much after this. If you read more than 10 books during the year, you will soon be seen as a “reading horse” (as we say in Norway). It is very common to bring books on holiday, or generally read when you have vacation, but reading out of the most popular books, whether converted into movies, or receiving great media coverage, is not commonplace. The statistics for 2017 is that 88% read at least one book, while 38% read more than 10 books.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I like fantasy, and generally young adult books. I have dyslexia, so if books are too complicated or too light, then I quickly fall off. Books such as Wonder and Room I unfortunately fell out of since the writing style is from the perspective of children. I listen a lot to an English audiobook, but prefer physical books in Norwegian, often translated. My favorite books are Harry Potter and Name of the wind, but also like much contemporary young adult. Very often there are books that people are talking a lot about on BookTube.
- Have you always been a reader? Except in primary school, and a few books in childhood, I didn’t start reading properly until 2014. On the other hand, I have now read over 100 books over these four years so I have certainly been bitten by a bookworm. I am also very fond of collecting books, so it has come to the point that most of my family do not want to give me books any more. I only got two books for Christmas this year.
- Do you also read books published in your native language/published locally to you? If so, tell us a bit about what kinds of books are published in your country! Norway is very big on cricket books, but we have gained a growth in popular science in recent years. For example “The First Mystery” by Katharina Vestre or “The Wonder Down Under” by Nina Brochmann and Ellen Støkken DahlI mostly read translated literature, but I intend to read more books from Norwegian authors. We have very many good writers in Norway who also do very well internationally, so it’s a little shame not to talk about them online at the book communitys. 13 out of 60 books I’ve read this year were original Norwegian, but I’m still looking for a Norwegian author who understands the Young adult genre. Otherwise, I’m really looking forward to reading some books by Maja Lunde and Jo Nesbø next year.
- Are there libraries where you live? If so, what kinds of books can you find there? Are you able to get the books that you want? I haven’t actually visited my nearest libraries, but we have pretty good selection of libraries, with a wide selection of books. This will of course vary a bit, if it is in a big city or near college / university. We also have a concept called Bookbus where several libraries fill buses with books to drive out to the population.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) There are actually many books that are not translated because there are so many in Norway who read them in English. Most bookstores have English shelves and I found over 300 books printed by HarperCollins at the largest online store for books in Norway.
- Do you use NetGalley or Edelweiss to request electronic galleys for review? If so, what kind of success rate would you estimate for you personally? No, but maybe I should check it out.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. If I really want to enjoy myself with a book, I like to have them in physical format, in Norwegian. Then it becomes a problem if books have not been translated because everyone else reads them in English. Other than this, it is usually easy to find books, and most new books also come on ebook.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do?
More translated literature and more respect for book covers. There are a lot of movie covers on popular books, and I have come across publishers who choose a nice cover of a book that is not the original and which does not fit the story. On the Norwegian book of “Winter” by Marissa Mayer, for example, you find a light skin Snow white, when characters Winter has dark skin.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I use a lot of booktube, goodreads and the facebook group for PageHabitt.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I hope more people will try to read books by Norwegian authors, and generally try more international books. It is so much good all over the world that it is a shame to miss because one is locked into authors of a nation / language. Of course, this goes back to international readers who only read books by English writers.
Please note that all experiences reflected in the interviews are personal and are not meant to generalize what reading access is like in each country. If you are interested in participating please DM me on Twitter.
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Let’s go on another adventure together!