Read on English time, in original version, with Joya Books

Read on English time, in original version, with Joya Books

The box focuses on more discreet titles, not to say ” confidential from Anglo-Saxon literature. We interviewed Angélique Montané, creator of the concept.

ActuaLitté: What was your background?

Angelique Montane: Since the age of 16, following a stay in the United States, I have been passionate about the English language. I studied English literature at university, and after graduation I moved to Singapore. I stayed there for 3 years and then moved to Melbourne, Australia. There, I did a master’s in translation. I lived there for 5 years, and since then I have been living in the Netherlands. Today, I am a translator.

How do you decide to create a box?

Angelique Montane: I’ve always loved reading of course, but it was my time in Australia that opened my eyes. There, I had a blog in French (Le koala lit) on Australian literature. When I moved to the Netherlands, I stopped blogging, but I wanted to continue sharing my “foreign” discoveries. At first, I only offered unique boxes, but quickly, I was asked if it would be possible to subscribe. I hesitated a little, because it requires a significant investment of time, and I started.

Why did you choose to promote books in English?

Angelique Montane: As I am also a translator (from English), I thought that my added value lay in my ability to find unknown novels in France, because I read a lot in English and I follow a lot of Anglo-Saxon sites/magazines. . When I lived in France, and even though I had a good command of English, I was always afraid to read in English. And if I read in English, it was classics. Impossible for me to know which authors and which contemporary novels were worth it. I was completely lost. By offering a selection to people who want to read more in English, I hope to break down this first barrier.

Why look at titles unknown to the general public?

Angelique Montane: With my blog, I realized that in France, we almost always have access to the same authors. Foreign books are difficult to promote, so lesser-known authors have even less chance of standing out. In Australia, I discovered so many beautiful novels that I would never have read if I had stayed in France, that I wanted to continue on this path.

How do you make your selection for the novels of the season?

Angelique Montane: I listen to a lot of podcasts on literature in the United States, England or Australia. I subscribe to newsletters from publishing houses, whether large or independent, to keep up to date with what’s new. I also read newspapers like The Guardian, Strong Words, World Literature Today, to find out the opinions of journalists, and I also look closely at literary prizes. If a title catches my eye, I read it and choose whether or not to select it.

The language level of the novels must be accessible and the story must captivate us from beginning to end. I’m also more likely to choose novels written by women.

How is the contact with the authors?

Angelique Montane: Anglo-Saxon authors are generally very open and answer my few questions with pleasure. Their contribution is simple, I ask them to recommend a book that particularly marked them and to explain the reason to me in a few lines. Some authors choose books in the same genre as the book selected for the box, and others completely different books. For example, Helen Cox, who wrote a cozy mystery, chose The distress bell by Sylvia Plath, a radically different choice.

How do you get a margin?

Angelique Montane: As with any book business, the margin is quite low. I have the status of bookseller, so I benefit from a margin on the books I order.

How do you provide the books?

Angelique Montane: Luckily, in the Netherlands, books in English are very popular. Everything is therefore already well organized at the local distributors. I go through a single distributor who brings the books from England.

Are the boxes sent exclusively to France?

Angelique Montane: The boxes can be sent anywhere in Europe, but concretely, for the moment, my customers are in the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

Why did you choose a quarterly rhythm?

Angelique Montane: In the past, I subscribed to a box of books that I received every month. But honestly, I thought it was too much. We don’t always have time to read, and often we also want to alternate with novels that we have chosen ourselves. By creating Joya Books, I wanted my subscribers to be happy to receive the box every three months, and not to feel like they were “behind” on their reading.

Where to start when you’ve never read in English?

Angelique Montane: It depends on his level of course, but choosing fairly short novels with short sentences is a good start. I advise Red to the bone by Jacqueline Woodson (fire and goldtranslated by Sylvie Schneiter at Stock), it is a very beautiful novel which is perfect to get into the bath of reading in English. This book had been selected for the very first box, and I had only positive feedback.

Photo credit: Angelique Montané, via Books

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