If you're not familiar with it, the SBPT is like a temporary meme, only much more fun and interesting. Basically, a grand total of 56 bloggers who signed up for it have been divided in groups of 8 bloggers each. Every group gets to swap posts through the whole summer - that is, every blogger in the group (plus the host)is featured on one of their companions' blogsevery Sunday, always contributing with a different and original post. You can read all about the SBPT here and here.
And now, without further ado, let me introduce one of my blog tour pals! Offbeat YA is proud to present Veronika (The Regal Critiques), who agreed to participate in a double interview with me. The reason why we came up with the idea is because we're the only European bloggers in this leg of the SBPT - as you know, I'm Italian, and Veronika is Hungarian - so we thought it would be fun to compare our experiences as not-English-speaking book bloggers who decided to join the INT blogging community.
Veronika and Ruzaika's homeland
[My bad! I assumed that Ruzaika was Hungarian since she's Veronika's co-blogger,
but as a matter of fact she's from Sri Lanka! I only learned it after this post was up.
I'm deeply sorry for my mistake!]
Before we get to the actual post, I have to mention a few things: 1) Veronika's blog was titled Reading Is Dreaming with Open Eyes till a few weeks ago, and she used to tend to her blog alone. While in the process of changing the name, she also teamed up with her friend Ruzaika, who is now her very active and enthusiastic co-blogger. This blog tour was organised before Ruzaika joined The Regal Critiques, so I'm doing this interview with Veronika alone, but you'll find both girls' profiles and Twitter handles below. 2) I titled this post "How the Other Half Blogs" because the saying "how the other half lives" popped into my mind. That saying, actually, comes from a book title: "How the Other Half Lives" by Jacob Riis, documenting the hardships of living in a 1880 NY slum. My using this turn of phrase isn't meant to be disrespectful of course. Also, technically, you might object that the blogging world is not divided into two halves only...the American bloggers on one side, and on the other the European, African, Asian and Australian bloggers, all in a big cauldron. The fact is, this title was just a way for me to point out that there are many not-English speaking individuals in the book blogging community, who blog in English nonetheless and have different experiences to share. A few of which are highlighted below :). 3) This is the first half of our interview. The second batch of Q&A will be posted on The Regal Critiques on Sunday, August 2nd, and it will focus more on the whole blogging experience. (Edit Aug. 2nd: here it is!).
Veronika is an 18-year-old Hungarian high school student with questionable social skills and a bossy attitude. She would never be able to live without music because that’s what makes her stay sane in this crazy world. You can usually find her lost in a book, a movie (preferably horror) or a tv show. And of course, blogging at The Regal Critiques with her friend Ruzaika.
Ruzaika is a 21-year-old psychology student who spends her free time reading and/or contemplating life. A dreamer by birth and drama-queen by design, she’s always on the look-out for ways to escape this dreary world, be it through books, songs or movies. Say hi to Ruzi at The Regal Critiques where she recently started co-blogging with the amazing Veronika.
"Hailing from Europe: How the Other Half Blogs" Double Interview with Veronika (The Regal Critiques)
Q1. Where do you hail from? V. Hello everyone! I’m from a little village that is situated in the northeast of Hungary. Thankfully I go to school to the capital, Budapest, so I frequently have the chance to get away from this boring village with the population of 5000 people. R. Hello world! I'm from Italy, Tuscany, specifically a 34-thousand-people town right on the coast. The funny thing is, I never go to the beach…
Hungary meets Italy. See, our flags even match!
Q2. Since most of those who are reading this post are probably from other corners of the world, what would you like them to know about your country that they might not know yet? V. My favorite thing in Hungary is that we have quite a few music festivals, for a small country that is. Our three big summer festivals are Balaton Sound, Volt, and Sziget. Between this year’s performers you can find famous artists such as Ellie Goulding, Jason Derulo, Avicii, Zedd, Bastille, David Guetta and a lot others. Next to its festivals Hungary is famous for its thermal baths as well: the best of them can be found in Hajdúszoboszló but Budapest offers some gorgeous ones as well. R. I’m sure most people know Italy for the likes of Rome, Florence (my favourite place ever!) and Venice…those are the cities tourists usually go to the most, too. But pretty much every town or even hamlet in Italy holds a piece of history and it’s worth visiting! Just do an online research for things like castles, fortresses or churches, and you’ll see what I mean…
Sziget music festival in Hungary and Populonia Castle in Italy (Tuscany)
Q3. It's a fact: even book bloggers love to talk/hear about food ;). If asked about a typical Hungarian or Italian dish/specialty, the vast majority of our friends abroad would probably name gulasch or lasagna with bolognese sauce...Would you like to share a simple but tasty recipe they may not know about? V. After much thinking I decided to go with one of my favorite recipes, lángos. It’s a deep fried flat bread made of dough with flour, yeast, salt and water. You can put all kinds of things on it but the most common ones are salt, garlic, sour crème and cheese. Check it out on Wikipedia if you want to know more. I have to say, this is one of those foods that taste way better when you buy them from street vendors than when you make them at home. R. One of the most typical dishes from the Tuscan coast is called “cacciucco”, and, surprise surprise, it involves seafood. It’s what our English-speaking friends would probably call a chowder, made with a few different fish varieties, plus crustaceans, clams and octopus - the recipe is flexible. They’re cooked in tomato sauce and laid on a few bread slices spiced up with garlic. No offence meant to our vegetarian and vegan readers, but it tastes like heaven!
Hungarian lángos (yummy!) and Italian cacciucco (Tuscan recipe)
Q4. Let's move onto books-and-blogging related topics. What prompted you to open a blog in English? V. It wasn’t a choice I made after thinking it through, I didn’t sit down and decided that I wanted to blog in English instead of my native language. I wanted to share my thoughts on books with people so I did, and I happened to do it on Goodreads because that was the page I used even then. After writing a few reviews I decided this was what I wanted to do, and created Reading Is Dreaming with Open Eyes (now re-named The Regal Critiques). I never once considered blogging in Hungarian; there’d be no point anyway, because I’m reading many books that are unpublished and unheard of by most in my country. R. Almost three years ago, I had recently discovered a love for YA books, most of which I had come across quite by chance, because they weren’t exactly of the hyped variety…so I began to feel that they needed to be highlighted, because at the end of the day, they were as worthy as those that got more publicity and - consequently - attention. Also, I was already purchasing all my YA titles in English at the time, because I didn’t want anything to get lost in translation, and anyway, most of the books I was interested in weren’t getting an Italian release. So, it was only natural for me to open a blog in English… (To be continued)
That's all for now folks! I very much enjoyed having Veronika here, and comparing my answers with hers. Don't forget to head to The Regal Critiques on Aug. 3rd for the second half of this fun interview!