I want to start a discussion about something that’s been on my mind for a long time – do we, as book bloggers, have a moral responsibility to raise awareness about authors from our country?

The situation

Sometimes I feel that me, as a book blogger from Romania, have a responsibility to discuss about authors from Romania and promote Romanian literature. Given that I have a platform to share my interests and opinions – this blog – I could also use it to raise awareness about literature written by fellow compatriots from Romania.

However, I usually see at least 2 things that stand in the way – the language of my blog and the fact that I am not super excited to read Romanian authors.

The language barrier

From the first day of blogging I decided to write in English and reach out to English-speaking bloggers all over the world. I wanted to get in touch with readers from far-away places, to find out about what people read on the other side of the world.

As not many Romanian writers are translated, it does not make sens to promote them on my English blog to non-Romanian speakers. Or that’s what I usually tell myself.

However, when I saw the review of Tony on a Romanian book he read – Ciuleandra by Liviu Rebreanu – I realized that my mindset was limiting. Certain Romanian books are actually translated in English and could be accessed by English-speaking people.

Romanian books not on my priority list

Now comes the second issue – lately I haven’t read books written by Romanian authors. It’s not that I am against reading Romanian stories, but I usually prioritize other books. Maybe it’s because I already read quite a lot of Romanian literature during high school (mandatory and also for fun), and I feel like I’ve had enough?

But last weekend, when I had a bit more time on my hands, I picked up a Romanian book – The Useless (RO: Inutilii) by Cornelia Voiculescu. It is a dystopian story about a society where the old people are sacrificed by their grandchildren. The action takes place after a Third World War, in a totalitarian Norwegian society.

The story was super captivating and I enjoyed it despite the initial challenge of reading in Romanian … it might’ve rekindled my interest to read Romanian authors!

My conclusion

My takeaway from this discussion post is that my “excuses” are actually not that valid. It makes sense to raise awareness about Romanian writers on my English-written blog, and there are Romanian books that can keep me hooked on!

So what’s next? I would like to actively prioritize reading at least 1 Romanian author for every 3-4 books I read by foreign authors. And I will share about my journey on the blog, even if the books might not be available in English – who knows, maybe they are in the the process of being translated right now πŸ™‚

How do you feel about reading and promoting authors from your country? Please let me know, I am super interested in how you relate to local authors!

‘Till next time … happy reading!

Georgiana


Cover picture: Jonathan Borba via Pexels

35 thoughts on “Let’s talk about blogging: Do we have a moral responsibility to raise awareness about authors from our country?

  1. Great question, and while I originally thought it wasn’t necessary… You turned me around on it, and I think it’s a good idea. Promoting local books that are translated into other languages already seems like the way to go. You had some great points. (Now, I want to read that book you mentioned, the dystopian one)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly, promoting books that are already translated seems the win-win situation. I was even thinking to read the translated books, so then it would be easier to share about them in English.

      The book I mentioned – The Useless – is not yet translated, unfortunately. It is actually published by a very young publishing house – StoryCraft – that supports writers for whom writing is not their full-time job. Fingers crossed they will start translating their books!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. If we do have such moral responsibility, then being from Russia, I failed miserably on my blog πŸ™‚ In the past, I really enjoyed a book on shamanism by Romanian Mircea Eliade and also recently read Mircea CΔƒrtΔƒrescu’s Nostalgia, but found it a bit tricky to get through!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, glad to hear that you read Eliade and Cartarescu! They are two of the authors I enjoyed a lot reading when I was younger.
      Somehow I have this assumption that nobody from outside Romania would like to read Romanian literature – and I am amazed every time I hear that other people enjoyed Romanian books.
      Thanks a lot for sharing, Diana!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The premise of The Useless sounds similar to one of Margaret Atwood’s short stories I read a long time ago called Torching the Dusties. You do raise an important question. I don’t read books in my mother tongue anymore – I have read all the classics, and I’m not a fan of the new writers. But I could, and should, give more prominence to books written in English by Sri Lankan authors in my blog. To my shame, I’m yet to read Anuk Arudpragasam’s A Passage North, which made it into the Man Booker shortlist last year! 😬

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot for sharing about Atwood’s story, haven’t read it yet! Though Stone Mattress book is on my list for a long time now πŸ™‚

      Same here – I don’t read books in my mother tongue anymore, and I lost all contact with the current literature scene in Romania. I really hope that this year I will get more in touch with local literature!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, my blog is written mostly in Romanian, but google translate is quite accurate and gives people the possibility to read and understand my articles. I started promoting contemporary Romanian authors a couple of years ago, when I started reading more of them and I realized the variety of genres they’re approaching nowadays, from fantasy and SF to thriller or romance, or psychologic, philosophic, corporatist, chick-lit or simple contemporary style and whatever else may cross your mind. I do host a special category on my blog – Ce autori romani am mai citit – What Romanian authors I’ve been reading. You can have a look, if you’re curious. I only write about books I enjoyed reading, 4 or 5 stars according to my tastes, of course. Mostly novels, but also some fine short stories and poetry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve just checked you special category on Romanian authors – so many books that sound wonderful! I’ll definitely use your lists as inspiration for my next reads πŸ™‚
      Thanks a lot for sharing!!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. There is no harm in promoting books you enjoyed regardless of language! This discussion raised such an interesting question which I admit I have thought of before as a trilingual person. Like you, I read a lot of books in my mother tongue in school but didn’t enjoy them. However, It is certainly a good idea to keep an eye out for translated works and give importance to authors from one’s country who might write in English. I just feel one shouldn’t feel pressured, the process should be more organic and natural since reading is about enjoying yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I fully agree that the process should not be a burden – I read and blog for entertainment, and I want this to remain the same. What I want to do is prioritize reading Romanian authors and see what I like, what I don’t like. A bit like taking the pulse of the local literature πŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I go on and on about Romanian books on my blog, some of them translated, some not. I also try to translate some and get publishers interested in Romanian literature (and its variety, not always just about Communist dictatorship). So yes, I will never stop promoting Romanian literature and culture more generally, even if I’ve spent 2/3 of my life abroad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When I started blogging I think it was on your blog that I saw for the first time a lot of discussion about Romanian authors & culture in English! I’ll start going through your posted reviews for inspiration on what to read next πŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Da, dar stii ce greu este sa faci rost si de autor romani in original? Si sa te tii la curent cu ce se mai publica in Romania? E atat de scump sa trimiti ceva in Anglia, si in plus acum cu vama si Brexit…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d say some of your reasons for not sharing authors from your country are the same as mine, essentially. Not a lot of Portuguese writers are translated, mostly just the classics that I don’t read (or was forced to read for school but hated), famous dead authors in general, and the genres are basically just poetry and literary fiction which I don’t enjoy much. It makes me a little sad to realize how little of it is actually out there (in English at least; there is more translated in Spanish and possibly French too).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that’s interesting that there might be more translations in Spanish and French!
      After reading your comment I quickly checked if there are Romanian books translated in Spanish / French – and surprise surprise, there seem to be quite a few!

      I can fully relate to what you’re saying regarding classics that were mandatory in school … despite the fact that I was fortunate to have a lovely teacher who recommended us super interesting optional reading.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t think we have a moral responsibility, but as a Portuguese it’s something I occasionally enjoy doing!
    I decided to write my blog in English, because I wanted to improve my writing skills and I was reading more and more books in English. However, since the beginning I decided to review books I read by Portuguese authors as well, even if they hadn’t been translated yet. Some may one day be. Plus, some books have been translated into other languages and I have people reading my blog whose first language is not English as well.
    In the latest years, I’ve been reading mostly books by British authors (maybe because of the people I follow on social media), but I always like to know more about literature from other European countries!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Susana! It’s a super good point that books might be translated in other languages than English. For instance, I discovered that there are Romanian books translated in French, Spanish – somehow I haven’t considered this before.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Great question! For me, reading is something I do for fun and blogging is also something I do for fun, so while I would like to read more Singaporean authors in general, I only pick up the books that I find interesting. If I were paid to blog, however, that would be a different thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion, Eustacia! It’s very interesting that you differentiate between blogging for fun and blogging as an income source – haven’t thought from this perspective yet!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I am appreciative that you write in English, because my Romanian is foarte rΔƒu! Ha! First of all that may be a terrible translation of “very bad” and be out of context, but I tried πŸ™‚
    I appreciate your reviews on books by authors from all over the world, but I think it would be a nice balance to expose your international readers to specific Romanian authors (as long as their books have been translated otherwise we cannot read the books). MulΘ›umesc πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I feel the similar to this as I find most locally made fiction a tad boring because it’s simply reflecting the boring day to day life and interactions I have with people in New Zealand, I find it difficult to enjoy local writers for this reason, it’s not exotic enough so I sort of get where you are coming from. Don’t feel guilty or bad about it, life is too short to read things you don’t enjoy πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can fully relate – it’s much more exciting to read stories that take place out of the usual day-to-day context! I think this is one of the reasons why I enjoy so much reading stories from Africa – the culture is super different!
      Thank you very much for contributing to the discussion!

      Like

  12. I found your blog when someone shared this post and I’m sure glad I did because what an interesting topic that I’d never considered before! I’m American, so my natural language is American English, and (sadly) American literature dominates the market. But that being said, I live in a town full of immigrants from around the world, so there are large sections at bookstores dedicated to Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. literature that’s actually translated FROM English to another language! My second language is Arabic and I always feel like I should start reading short stories and/or poetry in Arabic and maybe work up from there. But I’m getting off track…I’d love to hear more about non-translated works from other countries, such as your own, though! In high school I took IB English I HL and IB English II HL, and I was fortunate that my teachers chose to focus on classics of world literature, so we read everything from Colombian literature to Russian literature, African American poetry, Canadian plays, and essays from around the world. But I know so much is lost in translation, so I’d love to hear native speakers’ takes on the untranslated works!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Lila! Wow, you live in an interesting and international context, I am very glad to hear about your experience!
      Actually yesterday evening I finished a book by a contemporary Romanian author and pretty soon I will be sharing the review – and it is a book that is not yet translated in English, but fortunately has 2 translations at least (German and Polish).
      So glad to discover you blog as well!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to hear that! Would you like to read more contemporary authors representative for South East Asian literature? Or in general, contemporary and non-contemporary ones?

      For now I am super happy with the books I read by Romanian authors, it’s an interesting “discovery” that I enjoy the Romanian stories quite a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was fascinated by literature from the Philippines when I was studying South East Asian Literature at University but these books don’t seem to be easily available at bookstores. Perhaps I should head down to my University bookstore. Yes contemporary authors would be great to know what it is like in those countries at the moment. The lived experience. Thanks for making me think more about this Georgiana and nice to meet you.

        Liked by 1 person

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