As you might know, English is not my native language. In fact, I have lived in the Netherlands (almost) my entire life and grew up speaking Dutch. I wanted to explain why I am not reading (more) books written by Dutch authors. Just to clarify, I do read books in Dutch, occasionally, but those are translated works, usually translated from English.
When I was young I read only in Dutch, of which I think mainly were books written by Dutch authors. There were plenty of great Dutch authors who wrote wonderful children’s books. Even in my early teen years, there was quite a large amount of books I could choose from, but as I grew older, I had grown to dislike them. Series I loved by authors as Carrie Slee and Francine Oomen (two big writers at that time) were starting to annoy me. They repeated the same things, with annoyingly irresponsible main characters, supposedly relatable moments and topics I was no longer interested in. It felt like at that time, all the books in the teen-genre (YA was not yet a thing back then) were about loverboys, teen pregnancies, and related topics. I was not interested in those topics anymore. However, there was not much else to choose from at my library.
In my high school Dutch class, I also had to read Dutch books (obviously) and of the 12 I read, I enjoyed maybe 3. I felt the same way about these adult books as I felt about the teen books. They repeated the same tropes and annoying characters. I felt like every single Dutch adult literary book was about a middle-aged man with drugs/alcohol/women/criminal issues. And I hated those characters so much. Of course, I am not saying that every book was about those topics, but that was what it felt like.
After being “forced” to read all those horrible books and after having failed to find any enjoyable teen book written in my native language, I just sort of gave up on it altogether. I discovered bookish tumblr and found so many enjoyable books written in English. In that same period, my library started having a YA section! Oh, how happy I was to discover this new genre, with interesting books about other topics! I quit reading books by authors I read before all-together. Trust me, I tried reading several books by Dutch writers later on, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore.
I read translated books, because those were the only ones my library had to offer and my English was quite honestly bad at best. I had never been good at English and I was pretty close to failing my English exams. Therefore I started practicing, at any opportunity I got. Over the years I have gotten better and better, due to the fact that I almost exclusively read in English and watch a lot of English tv shows, and now I am pretty much fluent. So for me, there is not really a point to reading books in Dutch anymore, when English is just as easy.
Of course, I believe that there are great Dutch books out there, but since I’ve grown to dislike them so much in my youth, I don’t feel the urge to try anymore. You could say every book I read has a three-stare star rating to begin with, and stars can be retracted and added when pleased. The Dutch books, however, would start off with a zero-star rating, which would make it much harder to please me. It would be very hard to make me excited about a Dutch book and I would just assume it wasn’t good, just because my expectations are so low.
Does anyone else have this problem? That a genre or just books in your native language in general, have been ruined for you? Do you read in your native language? Or outside your native language?
P.S. I also strongly dislike every Dutch movie/tv series before having even watched it, this might be related???