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 here on the series master post.
An Interview with A Restless Traveler
- What is your name? I’d rather keep my blog anonymous so lets say “arestlesstraveler”
- Blog URL? https://arestlesstraveler.wordpress.com/
- Twitter handle? Don’t have one
- Where do you live? I’ve been traveling for the past 6 years (currently in Spain) but I grew up in Mozambique
- 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! Nearly half the population in Mozambique is illiterate so it’s safe to say reading is definitely not part of their culture. I, however, grew up in a house were both my parents are avid readers. My mom is a university professor so she is always reading non-fiction academic stuff whereas my father loves fiction and is a great storyteller himself (with one published short story collection). So, really I had no choice but to become a reader.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? Fiction, definitely fiction, but what genre within fiction might be harder to define. I go through stages where all I want to read is fantasy and then it will be young adult or historical fiction. I do seem to read contemporary and mysteries more than other genres though. Oh, and I also enjoy good biographies and memoirs so perhaps not only fiction.
- Have you always been a reader? When I was 5 my sister, who is 6 years older than me, decided that waiting another year for me to go to school and learn to read was too much so she taught me herself and I’ve been hooked ever since.
- 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! I prefer to read in English but one of my favourite authors, Mia Couto, is Mozambican so his books I always read in Portuguese. As to what books are published in Mozambique I think the answer is next to none. Perhaps a few local authors but I’m not sure. The books you find for sale in Mozambique are mainly imported from Portugal. And yes, this makes them rather expensive.
- 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? The Capital city of Mozambique has the grand total of one public library and all the books in it are from the colonial era. Having said that, while I was growing up there were two schools in town that had good libraries and I was lucky enough to attend one and have friends in the other. The problem was when I graduated and no longer had access to these libraries.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) First I need to tell you that growing up there was only one bookstore in the entire town and 99% of its books where old Portuguese classics. In the late 90’s one other bookstore opened in town and not only did it have a better array of books but it also had a section in English, plus they took orders! Which, admittedly often took months to arrive but it was still way better than before. Two other small bookstores opened in the 2000’s so things are slowly improving.
- 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? I never heard of NetGalley or Edelweiss before.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Now that I own a kindle the only barrier might be how much I want to spend on books but before I bought my first kindle the only way to get books was to buy them in South Africa. Meaning a 2 ½ hour drive across the border to visit a proper bookstore. Not only the driving but the long wait at the border, the annoying customs officer wanting to check your car and all the police controls along the way. I went often but I obviously couldn’t go whenever I wanted so when I did I always left with more books than I could carry. For the rest of my family that refuses to get kindles, yet still lives in Mozambique, crossing the border to South Africa remains the best way to gain access to what they want to read.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? Everything? Better put, I’d start a publishing landscape!
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Like I said above I now own a kindle so that’s basically it. Any book I want whenever I want it. Plus whenever I’m at hostel with bookshelves I look through them and pick one or more. It’s nice to hold a proper book and flip through real pages once in a while.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? Not exactly an experience as a reader but a shout-out to an amazing organization called “livro aberto” that opened in Mozambique in 2007. They are doing an amazing job at improving the literacy rates and making books available to everyone. When I left Mozambique 6 years ago I donated all my books to them. If you care to know more about them visit http://www.livroaberto.org/about-us
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.
Read More Reading Around the Globe Interviews
Consu @ papereyedgirl
Ellyn @ allonsythornraxxbooks
Greyson @ Use Your Words
Maria @ mariahossainblog
Inge @ Of Wonderland
Wesley @ Outsiders and Misfits
Catherine @ This One is for the Books (Toronto)
Kristina @ Books and Dachsunds (New-Brunswick)
Shania @ Book Princess Reviews (Quebec)
Maria @ bookish4life
Catherine @ Bees and Books
Silje @ inkedbybooks
Clo @ Cuppa Clo
Olly @ Criminolly
Emma @ Mengueis De Livres
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
Silvia @ Silvia Reads Books
Veronika @ Reading is Dreaming with Open Eyes
Carolina @ fictionologyst
Petrik @ Novel Notions
Himani @ Books&Sstuff
Nandini @ Unputdownable Books
Prags @ The Inked In Book Blog
Sumedha @ The Wordy Habitat
Suraj @ Books N Myself
Angela @ Books of a Shy Girl
Camilla @ Reader Attic
Devyn Jase @ devynjase.com
Jossie @ thebookdragoncorner
A Restless Traveler
Annemieke @ A Dance With Books
Esther @ Bite into Books
Luci @ Lunar Luci Books
Marco @ Barely a Blogger
Michelle @ Michelle Likes Things
Chinelo @ Booked_Unicorn
Julie @ StrixAlucoBooks
Hamad @ thebookprescription
Nargis @ Literary Nerd’s Musings
Aimee @ Aimee Always
Alexia @ Bookworm Daydreamer
Gel @ Whimsy Wanders
Justine @ bookishwisps
Kate @ Your Tita Kate
Rain @ Bookdragoninsm
Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea
Marta @ The Book Mermaid
Rita @ Bookish Rita
Dianthaa @ Dianthaa Dabbles
Yani @ Read & Create
Annie @ Sunflower Bookshelf
Taasia @ libraepaintspages
Para @ Other Worlds Reviews
DB @ DB’s Guide to the Galaxy
Elisa @ bookishexpat
United Arab Emirates
Nicka @ Wander with Nicka
Sakhile @ Sakhile Whispers
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 or send me a message on Discord.
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Fran @ The Ramblebee says
Thank you for sharing your experiences! I love that your sister was so impatient for you to learn to read that she taught you herself, that’s so sweet.
Well, hello fellow friend that also speaks Portuguese, lol. I’ll be writing this comment in English, though.
I’m surprised you like Mia Couto a lot. In Brazil, his books are required reads for some college entrance exams, but I’ve never read any. I did go to a public reading of one of his books, though, and it was such an interesting experience. I’d never been to a reading before, so it was very unique. I know he writes a lot about Mozambique and I did have classes about ‘Terra Sonâmbula’ before, but for some reason I just never picked up his books. (Actually, I know the reason: I’m terrible at doing stuff that people tell me to do. Which includes assigned reads).
It’s sad that Mozambique doesn’t have as many good public libraries, but I’m glad to hear there are projects like Livro Aberto trying to help with the situation and allow more access to books.
Thanks for sharing! 😊
Hello fellow Portuguese speaker!
If I tell you NOT to read Mia Couto will that mean you now have to read it? If so, then please don’t start with Jesusalem. 🙂
Great post! Eye opening!
I love that your sister taught you to read, and it’s just so great you donated your books to livro aberto, I’ll be looking into that. I donate books to a program to promote literacy where I live though, here we’re fortunate to have a lot of libraries. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! (KAL I AM YOUR BIGGEST FANGIRL JUST FOR THIS SERIES)
wow, so fascinating. I’m so very spoiled, with so many books available at my public library, 10 minutes away on foot from home. I checked, unfortunately Bookdepositery does not ship to this country! I was ready to ship a book to this reader, after this heart breaking description
Oh! Thats so nice of you! Thank you so much for just for thinking about it.
Luckily for me kindle books don’t need to be shipped so I can now happily read everything I want whenever I want. Plus I’m now living in Spain where I have a wonderful library 10 mins from me.
However, the above just affects me and sadly for the majority of people in Mozambique having access to books is still something next to impossible.
Jennifer Pletcher says
Thank you for sharing this experience. I am so glad to hear that there is a project happenings right now that is helping bring literature to the country.
I look forward to these post since I am doing the Read The World Challenge. My bookg from Mozambique is called “The First Wife”.
Oh wow! I love it that you are reading a book by a Mozambican author! And now I will publicly and embarrassingly admit that: 1- I had to google the title and 2- I have never read anything by Chiziane although everybody back home says her books are good.
Kanra Khan (@optic_chiasma) says
This was a really interesting post to read! It’s amazing to hear about the state of reading and libraries in other countries. There aren’t many libraries good here either, but lots of old book stores and a lot of piracy going on as well. I guess that’s just how it is in lesser developed countries!
Thank you for sharing! I’m glad that a kindle solved a lot of problems for you!
Clo @ Book Dragons says
Yet another eye opening post in this wonderful series! I love that your sister taught you to read, which is where your love of reading came from. Interesting about having to cross the border though to get books, which must be one helluva hurdle if you don’t have a kindle/don’t read eformats etc so that was interesting to learn. Thanks so much Kal for all you do <3
What an informative and amazing sharing of experiences. Mozambique is just one of those countries that I know little about and am so glad to read and learn more of. I will always love these international features.
I think what is most interesting for me is learning about the main library possessing mostly colonial literature. Now I wish I could return to Jakarta, where I lived for a year, and see if their book collections reflect on their colonial past and identity more than their own in the present.