This blog has existed for quite some time now, so I thought it might be time to let you guys in on some additional facts about me 😉 Enjoy!
I’m German, but when I was seven, my family moved to Tallahassee, Florida because my dad got a job at FSU. We moved back to Germany shortly before I turned twelve, but since then, I’ve been stuck with English as well as German language skills. So now I read in both German and English, and occasionally in French. I also know Latin, but I have to admit that I no longer read things in Latin now that I’m no longer in school…
The first book I ever read all by myself was Der Buchstabenfresser by Paul Maar. This is a really short German children’s book about a creature that swaps or eats letter in words, thus making objects become something else (like turning a cat into a hat or so). I was so proud of myself back then, I immediately read the book to my parents all over again.
I’ve been writing “books” basically since I could hold a pen. At first, they consisted mostly of squiggles. Before I started school, I wrote a picture book series about a family of aliens living on Mars. The emphasis rests on picture books – the most sophisticated word in them was UFO, which I was insanely proud of being able to write.
In first grade, I wrote a story about a fantasy country that basically included every cool thing that spontaneously came to my mind: dragons, angels, fawns, owls, treasure, ghosts… It might sound cool, but I can assure you: it was extremely all-over-the-place.
Then, in third grade, my best friend and I created this game called the Power Game, where we were orphans, had superpowers, and continuously had to escape from an evil villain called Yelda. Inspired by this game (and the Charlie Bone books), I wrote endless first chapters about the orphan Amoret (aka me with a new name stolen from Charlie Bone) who gets sent to an orphanage and eventually discovers she has powers. Most of these are written in various sparkly blue notebooks that I loved at the time, but one of these “gems” actually still exists on my computer – enjoy the cringyness (by the way, I don’t know what a niece-in-law is, either):
Chapter One: Vacation plans
It was four o’clock in the morning as millionaire Mr. Patdrige knocked on the door of the small windowless room where his niece in law Amoret While slept. Amoret’s room was not the most enjoyable room you could imagine. It had an orange stone floor, and if you set a foot on it during a cold day, you would probably lay in your bed trying to get rid of the cold you’d gotten. And also the bed (if you’d call it a bed) had a thin feeble mattress and nothing but a large towel for a blanket.
Now as for Mr. Patdrige he was the head of a huge car fabric called Patdrige’s automobiles (does everything, sells new and used, repairs, etc.) Mr. Patdrige owned a big mansion known as mansion Antonica. Mansion Antonica also had a humongous yard where lots of animals lived, but Mr. Patdrige seemed not to care about them because once in a while when he was bored he shot one no matter if it was in season.
Now Mr. Patdrige had a wife called Veronica Patdrige, a fat overweight woman with huge buckteeth.
That’s where this literary masterpiece ends… Apparently, I decided to go with a different, more dramatic beginning about Amoret arriving at the orphanage on a dark and stormy night straight away, because there are a lot of those beginnings in the sparkly blue notebooks.
I never take the dust jacket off hardcover books when I read them. It actually never even occurred to me to do this and I was astounded when people mentioned it like it was a thing. Why would you take it off? Does it feel weird to you if it’s on? And the flaps are such convenient bookmarks…
Speaking of bookmarks: I have tons of them because lots of people know I like to read and think they must be an ideal present. However, I barely ever use bookmarks. I normally just memorize the page number or use the flaps if the book is a hardcover edition. I will only use a bookmark if I don’t like the book and I realize I’m not going to pick it up again soon enough to remember the page. However, since I’m usually not aware that this will happen, I rarely use bookmarks then, either, and end up desperately trying to find my place again without accidentally spoiling myself.
I love eating while reading, especially chocolate, gummy bears or fruit, like grapes or so. However, I have also mastered bigger challenges like cereal. Don’t judge me – I have never spilled food on my books. What I have done, though, is lose one of my teeth while I was reading Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce. It was already pretty loose, but apparently not ready to fall out because when I twisted it, it hurt pretty bad and fell onto my book together with quite a bit of blood (considering it was a tooth). There is still a bloodstain in my copy, which is so disgusting that I always try to get past that page very fast…
I absolutely hate writing in my books. I don’t care if other people do it to theirs – annotating can be very helpful and it’s awesome if you enjoy it! However, I can’t deal with it at all. Even in school, when we were forced to annotate, I would copy relevant passages onto pieces of paper and use those. My teachers tried to persuade me to write in my books at first, but when they saw that I still did really well even though I wasted tons of time copying things and never highlighted anything, they let me be weird.
I also hate dogearing my books. In fact, one of my elementary school crushes ended rather abruptly when I lent out my new copy of Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins (the envy of the entire fifth grade, since the school library hadn’t gotten a copy yet) to said crush and he returned it with six (!) dogears, even though I expressly forbade harming it. Alas, I suppose it wasn’t true love after all…
Funnily enough, I don’t mind at all if the spines of my books are cracked. This may be a coping mechanism I’ve had to acquire, because this tends to happen a lot when you read your books over and over again. Thus, the cracked spines can be seen as an indication of how much I love my books. Don’t take this the wrong way, though – I would never crack my spines on purpose! I just don’t mind if it does happen.
My favorite books ever are the Harry Potter books. I first started reading them when I was in second grade and knew just enough English to get by. By now, I’ve reread them so many times that I’ve lost count and continue to reread them faithfully at least once a year. According to my sister, this makes it impossible to watch the movies with me because I always complain about every detail they left out and how bad they are compared to the books. However, she’s one to talk – she’s read the books countless times too and always joins in in my woes on movie-Ginny and SPEW and Peeves being left out. And the countless other terrible movie sins…
I can read perfectly well in moving vehicles and have read many a book in the car or on the bus (Although, during a phase there in my teenage years, I just sat on the bus and did nothing rather than read, out of fear of being labeled a nerd. Don’t do that, teenagers out there! I wasted so much time where I could have done something I loved and let me tell you this – if you stick up for what you enjoy, people are much more likely to like and support you than if you hide behind something you’re not…) Wise words aside, my number one reading spot still is and will probably always remain my bed.
I hardly ever read more than one book at once. If I do, it usually means that I don’t like the book I was currently reading and put it down until I feel ready to continue (which, more often than not, turns out to be never…). The only exceptions to this are rereads, which I might sometimes read in between other books. However, I still usually finish the other book first.
Speaking of rereads, I reread a ton. If I don’t reread a book, it’s safe to say that I didn’t enjoy it that much (or that I don’t own it…). However, I never count my rereads or keep track of them. They never get included in my goodreads reading challenge and I don’t mention them here in my monthly wrap-ups. That’s because when I pick up a book to reread, I never know if I’m actually going to be rereading the whole thing or only my favorite passages. If I started counting them, I think it would put pressure on me to read the book entirely, which would take some of the fun and spontaneity out of rereading for me. Also, concerning the goodreads thing, there must be hundreds of books that I read before I got goodreads and if I marked them as read now, it would look like this was the first time I read them. I like that goodreads chronicles when I read a book for the first time, so I don’t want my rereads messing with that. I know, these reasons seem kind of stupid, but this is what works best for me!
I lend my books out a lot. As someone who loves borrowing books myself – whether it be at the library or from friends, I don’t see why I should deprive people of this chance. Especially since I know what it’s like to want to read a ton of books that the library doesn’t have (try getting some obscure English new releases from a German library…) and not to have the money to buy all of them. Plus, if I lend the book out, I’ll have one more person to talk to about it! However, you do have to be trustworthy if I’m going to give you my book – it should come back in a fairly decent condition and I do want to have it back eventually. However, I’ve never really had any bad experiences so far (I am no longer as upset about the dogearing incident as I was in fifth grade, if you couldn’t already tell).
I do not have favorite book quotes or ever write quotes down. When I read, I just focus on the story as a whole and don’t think about how memorable a single sentence might be. However, since I’ve reread Harry Potter countless times, I can actually quote it pretty well and when something reminds me of my favorite series, I have been known to quote a passage, although I can’t consciously remember having memorized it. This happens with other books too, but not as frequently. I do have to say, though, that I’m pretty good at recognizing which book a quote is from if someone presents it to me.
My biggest book-crush ever is probably Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series. To this day, I love Gilbert and while I do think he and Anne are perfect for one another, I don’t think I’d say no if Gilbert proposed to me…
As many people know, my favorite animals are owls. I have been absolutely obsessed with them since before I even started school and since so many people know about this, I now have an extensive owl collection spread across my entire room, especially my bookshelves. This is not per se a bookish fact, but I thought I’d use this chance to put a common misconception many of my friends have out of the way, before anyone else makes it: I am not obsessed with owls because of Harry Potter. In fact, if you read these facts carefully, you’ll know that owls were my favorite animals before I even read Harry Potter. However, I won’t deny that Harry Potter might have fueled my owl obsession even more (or my owl obsession my love for Harry Potter). Also, for any fellow owl fans, I can highly recommend The Guardians of Ga’Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky. There was also a movie, but it’s terrible, so just trust me and read the books. It’s a pretty awesome middle grade fantasy series all about owls.
I used to journal pretty extensively when I was younger. However, as I got older, my entries started getting so long that I it took me forever to write one. At some point, I decided that journal time was cutting into my other writing time too much, so I started to focus on writing novels instead. I still write a journal entry every once in a while, but I haven’t had to buy a new journal in years now.
I read books in one sitting quite often. I just get so invested in the story that I can’t put them down. This can become a problem, especially during exam time. That usually goes somewhat like this: I decide that as a reward for learning a predetermined amount of material, I get to read a chapter of whatever book I’m currently reading. However, before I know it, I’ve read the whole book and am extremely behind on my studying schedule. It’s bad… That’s why for the past two years, I’ve only allowed myself to reread books as study rewards. Since I already know what happens, it’s a bit easier to put the book down like I promised. Still, I’m not saying the method always works.
When I was a teenager, I used to be really embarrassed if I was reading in public and the book had a really cheesy cover (such as the original editions of the Mortal Instruments, for example) or was generally known to be cheesy (Nicholas Sparks books come to mind here). I solved this problem by taking the dust jackets off “better looking” books and putting them on the embarrassing book, thus disguising it quite effectively (#lifehacks). Now that I’m older, though, I don’t care as much about what other people think and haven’t done this in quite a while.
When I was about three, we had this illustrated songbook for kids and on one of the pages, there was this picture of kids eating some kind of red berries. However, I did not understand that at the time and was convinced that the red berry juice the kids were covered in was blood. I was absolutely terrified of the book and refused to let my parents sing any of the songs to me. They were probably really puzzled because I otherwise loved singing. I don’t think I’ve ever told them about why I had such an aversion to the book. Needless to say, it was probably my most terrifying “reading” experience ever. It even beats the time I was twelve and read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None while I was home alone during a thunderstorm and thought I heard noises in the bathroom…
I’ve never not read a book that was required reading. First of all, I was always much too scared to be caught out on not reading it. Plus, I really want to know as much about the literature out there as possible and required reading always seemed like a good way to get to know a book I would otherwise never have picked up. Still, that doesn’t mean I enjoyed everything I had to read for school. For some books, continuing to read them was quite a commitment. Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse comes to mind here.
I am an absolute sucker for different languages in books or TV shows. This can refer to cool fictional fantasy languages that actually have a real grammatical structure (i.e. the languages in the Kingkiller Chronicle, Klingon in Star Trek, or the grounder language in The 100) or actual different languages that are snuck into books without any explanation. You always feel like you’re more in the know if you actually understand the language. I was absolutely thrilled when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out and there was actually a German tidbit that many of my friends didn’t understand (when Harry has the vision of Voldemort looking for Grindelwald and killing a woman and her children when she tells him he no longer lives there). Also, when I started learning Latin, it was so cool that all the Harry Potter spells suddenly made lots of sense! Another great example is French in Jane Eyre. I love that these parts aren’t explained, but then when you learn the language, you suddenly get so much more out of the story.
I basically never read translated books if I know the language the original was written in, but even if I never read the translations myself, I absolutely hate it when translators decide they have to start changing names. Why? Why do you do this? The story still takes place in a foreign country, so why should the people suddenly have different names? Like in the German version of Harry Potter, Hermione was rechristened Hermine and several other characters were renamed, too. It makes no sense to me, especially since lots of characters still have their real names. Another horrible example for this are Pat and Isabel O’Sullivan from Enid Blyton’s St. Claire’s series. In the German version, they are known as Hanni and Nanni. What parents in their right mind will name their children that (even if it’s a nickname)? It sounds absolutely ridiculous! This is not only a German thing, though. Another instance that I find absolutely ridiculous is the English translation of Ruby Red, where the translator somehow decided to change Gwendolyn’s name to Gwyneth. Why? In this case, the name wasn’t even foreign! Why publishers and translators do this will remain a mystery to me. I thought we want people to grow up aware of other cultures and shouldn’t that include names? Plus, it makes it really weird if I start talking about a book with someone who read it in a different language.
My parents read to me constantly when I was a child. In fact, my mom remembers them reading the entire children’s book Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13 to me on one day once when I was sick. My poor parents probably had a sore throat for weeks… And since I’m the oldest of four kids, I always got to listen in on my siblings being read to as well – so I was read to long after I could read myself. However, once I could read a little, my parents would always make me read the first sentence of every chapter they read to me. This annoyed me to no end because it took so long for me to read the sentences and I wanted to get on with the story. Now, in retrospect, though, I have to say: Danke, Mama und Papa! You got me into reading.