Friday, October 15, 2010

Why bother?

I like Dutch language reading material, but I asked myself that question anyway. In my first blog, Learning Dutch with Geert Mak, I covered the novelty angle. I made it to the end. Unlike De eeuw van mijn vader (My Father's Century), Kaas is available in English. It is not exactly a best seller. It's somewhere around 350,000 on Amazon, which means that it sold to about 10 people, 3 of whom returned it because they wanted a book about food.

Still, there is some uniqueness to the book. I'm reading the graphic novel adaptation by Dick Matena. In terms of format, it's a first for me, maybe a 1.5. The last book I read in this format was a compilation from Mad magazine. Also, while Kaas is available in English, this adaptation is not.

This blog will be shorter for 3 reasons:

1. The book is shorter. The last one was 499 pages long, and it had very few pictures. This is a well illustrated 283 pages.

2. I can read in Dutch faster than I could before.

3. There will be far less cultural commentary. While the Dutch community in Southern California is small, the Flemish community is even smaller. Instead of hosting a festival, they meet at a restaurant when they want to get everyone together.

This blog will have additional ideas for promoting the language and Flanders itself. For the moment, I can't think of how to promote the place. A couple of years ago, I went to the Los Angeles Travel Show. There was a small booth for Flanders, where one lady was working alone. The booth featured Tintin, an international icon who is almost completely unknown here. Some better ideas might have been Audrey Hepburn, Hercule Poirot, Eddy Merckx, St. Damien or Django Reinhardt.

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