Just blogging

The big book question

Maybe you know the situation. You’re filling out an application or participate in a contest and then there it suddenly is: The big book question. Right in the middle of all the questions which are rather easy to answer or to navigate around, there’s this one question that’s even more troublesome than “Where do you see yourself in five years?”.

And here it is, the trickiest of all tricky questions (drum roll):

“What’s the title of the last book you read?”

Is it just me who’s totally stressing out about this one? At first, it seems pretty standard and easy to answer, I’d even say innocent. However, it’s basically what my worst interview nightmares are about. And I wish I was exaggerating here. – Well, I’m not.

See, this supposedly easy question says way more about a person than one might imagine. That’s why I’m never sure how to answer it. Of course, I could be honest and say that for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading EVERYTHING Sophie Kinsella has ever written. But what would that say about me? Honestly, I love Sophie Kinsella, so I really don’t want to discredit her work or judge anyone for reading her books. Regardless of that, I (meaning: that’s my problem, don’t care about what I’m saying) have the feeling that if I admit to that, I’ll be considered pretty basic. I mean, I am, but I don’t want it to be that obvious. So which book can I mention?

Something written by Oscar Wilde? Nah. I mean, he’s brilliant and I will probably never stop fangirling over his amazing work that is just unparalleled. Nevertheless, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a part of the crowd that’s not even able to correctly match his quotes to the texts they’re originating from. Also, when I went to Père Lachaise and saw what “fans” had done to his resting place, I immediately knew that I would never want to be considered one of them. That’s why I usually never talk about how much I love Oscar Wilde in public.

Ok, how about some classical literature then? Pfffff. The worst. Classical literature is the one that makes you sound the most pretentious. Even if you genuinely enjoy reading it, my personal impression is that – if I don’t want people to roll their eyes at me – it’s somehow better not to mention it. I mean let’s imagine someone asks you about your favorite book and you say “I’m just in love with Goethe’s Faust, part II”. (Or just Faust for that matter.)  I’m sorry, but it’s quite unlikely that demography will be on your side here – unless you’re at a party for German philologists, maybe. What’s more probable is that this statement will be considered as pretentious, and that no one cares that the plot is actually still relevant, even today. Same goes for anything existentialist. In an era where we’re watching future brides making a big deal of having to face the huuuuuuge decision whether to go with a sleeveless or a halterneck dress on TV, it’s quite challenging to make sure that the person who’s asking the book question will relate to Meursaults angst in Albert Camus’ L’Etranger, for example.

So what’s left to quote? I actually don’t know. Of course, this teeny tiny overview is far away from being even remotely representative of all the great literature out there. But since we’re here, why not quote comics/ graphic novels like Persepolis or Maus? Would it be smart to mention these? I’m pretty sure that quite a few people have read and also enjoyed them I feel like basically everyone has read them, which might be cool for getting a conversation going.

But since I’m super self-conscious when it comes to mentioning books I like, I also want to be extremely sure that I’m not quoting something super mainstream. That’s why I usually name Cakes and Ale; or: The Skeleton in the Cupboard by William Somerset Maugham. (Btw, I can recommend ANYTHING written by him, his work is just amazing.) And then, an awesome book I just recently discovered and will definitely quote next time the book question comes up: When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I haven’t even read that much of it, yet, but I’m already hooked.

So that’s it, that’s my answer. Let me know if you have any great titles to recommend or tell me what kind of question you fear the most in an interview (or in general).

 

 

 

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Just blogging

Frustration

Sometimes, I wonder what I should and shouldn’t post. Everything I publish here can be read by anyone. But since it’s sort of an online diary (I don’t care how corny that sounds) which I’m mostly writing for myself, I don’t feel like sticking to my schedule and write the post I’ve been wanting to write in the first place. However, it’ll be here in a couple of days.

So instead of talking about what I originally intended to, this will be a tad more personal (though not about my sex life, if that’s what you gathered from the title). However, I will talk about creative frustration. There may be another article which will be about feeling frustrated in my job or whatever I’m doing at the moment, but that’s not it. Today, I’m going to write about my very own writer’s block/ lack of creativity.

If you expect any tips on how to overcome writer’s block, please go look it up somewhere else – if I knew how to get out of it, I wouldn’t write silly posts like this.

But, for starters, what’s been up? Actually, this last week went rather well. I got a callback from a company I applied to and they offered me a job. I read many inspiring blogposts and was well-organized with my studies. Actually, nothing to complain about. And still, I have this constant feeling of underachieving, no matter what I do. Maybe that’s a millennial thing. And yes, it probably sounds very silly and basic, but I think that the trigger was on Instagram. I noticed that one of the accounts I’m following has grown tremendously. Like ten times bigger in only a couple of weeks. And here I am with my tiny account – its numbers have been pretty much the same for years. And so of course I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong. Am I not interacting enough, even though I spend hours liking other people’s pics and blogposts? Or isn’t my content good enough? (Well maybe some of it isn’t exactly la crème de la crème, but I don’t find it horrible, either.) In addition to that, it doesn’t help that new followers are rather lunatic. It honestly baffles me that I can gain and lose a bunch of new followers in  nothing more than a couple of minutes. I mean, if your likes are nothing but strategic, why bother anyway? Personally, I find it dumb to unfollow an account that has fantastic content just to keep my numbers in check. If I was in the mood for charades, I’d plan a game night instead of wasting my time on insta, or I’d watch the movie with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, I don’t get why I’m making any effort at all. It’s hard, especially if there’s no immediate gratification. On the other hand, maybe that’s what you have to go through before getting to the real deal. Maybe I’ll have more insight in a couple of months. However, I’ll keep you posted.

In the meanwhile, I’m guest-writing for another blog. Check it out right here.

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