Showing posts with label Articles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Articles. Show all posts

Sep 29, 2015

Dutch Days: Dutch & Flemish Books

By Suze

I wish more Dutch and Flemish books would be translated into English. There are so many fantastic writers and even though there are plenty of translations of their books most of them aren't in English. I often think about the reasons why. There's such a huge selection of books in English already, so when there are so many originals why would translations be needed? I think diversity is always a good thing and a large offer of books can always be expanded. I love the initiative of Gallic Books, the best French books in English, and hope someone will start something similar for Lowlands Books. 

There might be a prominent cause for this lack of translation, character flaws. It's something I've noticed over and over again while reading both reviews and review books in English. For a lot of people it's a must to like the main character of a book. If stories are based on people who aren't likable at all then most English and American people generally won't like the story. What some might see as a weakness could also be a huge strength though. Not every human being is good, someone's character is a whole spectrum of grey and that is what's often being explored by Dutch and Flemish authors. The more complex and literary the better in a lot of cases. It's something I grew up with and a thing I sometimes miss while reading for my blog. I hope at some point, if I keep mentioning it, I'll be able to convince my readers that stories about unlikable characters aren't necessarily bad at all, they are actually really interesting.

Another reason is probably insufficient finances, but with digital publishing opportunities might arise. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And to show how amazing Dutch and Flemish books can be I've made a top 5 of books I really enjoyed that did find their way to the English and American bookshelves on Amazon.

Some great examples of books that have been translated are:

Amazon USA - Amazon UK
Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Jul 26, 2015

Japan Weekend: I Love Japan!

I've never been to Japan, but it's very high on my wish list of countries I'd like to visit. I've always been fascinated by the beautiful art, the delicious and pretty food and kawaii. Online Japanese stores are usually a joy to buy from. Most Japanese web shop owners are very kind and their service is great. I like Japanese clothes and accessories for example and am often wearing them.

I have a wonderful collection of kawaii (the Japanese word for cute) letter sets and stickers. I'm still collecting, but not as actively as I used to, simply because space is a problem. One of my dreams is to have my own kawaii museum some day. I love cute, it cheers me up, it makes me happy and it makes the child in me come to life again. For me kawaii drawings are fascinating and I can look at them for hours. I once went to a great exhibition of Japanese art and it was amazing to see so many works of my favorite artists on display. 

I like reading manga, I think the drawings are often stunning and it's fun to read these books. I even have a little manga drawing of myself that I treasure. I've always been a fan of comic books and manga enables me to escape into that world again for a few hours. 

I like sushi and sashimi and can't even begin to imagine how the real Japanese version will taste. The presentation of food is important in Japan. I love decorated bento boxes. I can spend hours looking at them. One day I'm hoping to be able to taste real Japanese food and to have an original bento (lunch box) filled with beautiful decorated food. 

I have several other Japan posts planned and hope you liked what I showed you so far. For me this weekend is so much fun as it's well known territory and I have a chance to show some old favorites and discover something new at the same time. I love Japan!

Jul 22, 2015

Article: A Letter To My Readers For The Handwriting Matters Campaign

When Catherine Ball asked me to handwrite a blog post to support the Handwriting Matters campaign I immediately said yes. I think this is a much needed and amazing campaign. On Pen Heaven you can read more about the campaign. I've decided to write a post about letter writing and have done it in the form of a letter to my readers.

Article: My Happy Place

When I saw this photo it immediately inspired me to write something about my happy place. My blog is positive only, which means I'm trying to go for a happy atmosphere. I want my visitors to read it with a smile on their face. It's also something that is within me. I choose happiness and for that I'm working hard every day. Happiness is usually not something that will come your way without any effort. It's a place within yourself and even if your life is filled with bad luck and obstacles you can be happy.

Don't ever wait until happiness will come your way, go and search for it. Life is short and you're the only one who can make it happen for yourself. Look for the things that will cheer you up and surround yourself with them. That doesn't mean you have to spend huge amounts of money, you don't have to buy a lot of things, it means looking at the small things that will cheer you up. Wear clothes in your favorite color for example and make an effort with your appearance. Even if you have to stay in all day you can look nice and if you look good on the outside you'll feel automatically better on the inside. Do it for yourself. If a certain type of music cheers you up, play it. And maybe make a little dance around the room if you can. If you like a certain type of food, treat yourself. Don't overdo it, but make it a regular (maybe weekly) thing to look forward to. Save a little bit of money each month to do something nice for yourself. If you don't have any left over, you can try to win it. If you persevere it will work. Write down the things that make you smile and do them for yourself. Allow yourself to be happy, it isn't something you should feel guilty about, you're entitled to some wonderfulness in your life.

It's easy to say you have to do something and then expecting that it immediately works. Don't be disappointed if it doesn't do the trick straight away. If you're being good for yourself on a regular basis and if you're actively striving to make your life more fun it will be. That doesn't mean it will take away all the sadness or the difficult things life will throw at you, but it will help you to be more prepared. If you feel better in your own skin you will feel better, you will look better and you'll have a happier life. I don't have an easy life, but I'm making sure I'm having as much fun as I can every single day. I write, I blog, I surround myself with wonderful stories and beautiful trinkets and I look at happy pictures and art online. If something makes me smile I cherish it and I try to share it. I do happy dances, I treat myself to some chocolate and I wear what makes me feel good. Hopefully by sharing the things that are making my days I'm creating a happy place that will also put a smile on your face.

Jul 19, 2015

Thank You!

Thank you!

I have something to celebrate today. I'm honored that my blog has been viewed 1,000,000 times. I still can't believe it. It makes me very happy that people like it enough to visit. Of course I've done a happy dance today, for me this is an amazing milestone. I started my blog because I love reading and online shopping. I also really like combining the two and most of all I like sharing. I want to make people happy by sending them some lovely mail or a great prize, but also by giving their work some much deserved attention. I want my blog to be a positive place, a website where people only find wonderful things. I couldn't have done this without the help of Anniek, Eline and Tanya. They are amazing and their encouraging words, enthusiastic chats and energetic approach helps me to make things happen. Behind the scenes my husband does a lot for me, he proof reads, prepares packages and helps me whenever I need it. He's a beautiful person inside and out.

 I'm very fortunate that I have such a great support system. This also goes for my amazing readers, fellow bloggers and the authors and artists who give me the opportunity to feature them. I'm lucky and I'm grateful, thank you all! Big and warm hugs to everyone who's been there for me!


One reader of my blog will receive two surprise gifts from me, one to keep and one to give away. The only thing you have to do to enter is telling me what you and your friend would like to receive. Good luck!

 I will contact the winner via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here. 

Article: What Matters Is The Story

Last year I reviewed four or five books per week. Because I was blogging I started reading less. I didn't know what caused it. I loved the books I was reading, but it took me so much longer to finish them. I needed novellas to keep the book part of my blog more active, because it took me forever to finish full length novels. When one day I looked on Goodreads at the kind of books I was reading I noticed they were all of the same genre. I realized immediately that that was the reason for my reading pace to slow down. Apparently I need variety and a lot of it. Now I'm reading six or seven and sometimes even eight books per week again and I'm so much happier.

The variety of books I'm reading and reviewing is teaching me a lot. I'm reading best sellers from big publishers, small almost unnoticed books from fantastic pioneer publishers and self published books. I read almost anything with a good story. If I love it then I'm happy. I've discovered that good stories don't necessarily have to be the ones that are the most popular. I'm looking for something great anywhere. I have some favorite quirky publishers who are letting me review, but I also try to get the newest books from my favorite authors. 

A quality story can be found anywhere. It's not something that requires a big budget and a large publisher. It can also be a self published book that's moving me to tears. It's why I don't have any rules when it comes to review books that I'm accepting. I'm critical, I carefully choose. The selection process is already such a great joy for me. I can look forward to release dates, but they are not the most important to me. What matters is the story and the story alone. I admire anyone who manages to tell me a beautiful tale. I like to be enchanted, to cry, to be angry or to be frustrated, but also to be cheering, to be happy and to be dancing with joy. If an author can make me feel like that they've made my day. 

Reading so many books has made me eager to read more. I'm devouring the stories again. There's so much I want to read and my curiosity is endless. I've been blogging for a year and a half now and it's broadened my horizons. Sometimes I'm reading out of my comfort zone and it's something I like a lot. I want to discover, I want to feel, I want to breathe words instead of oxygen. Reading is what keeps me going and I want to thank all the wonderful authors who are making that happen.
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