Wilkommen and other thoughts

Whoever first wrote about “the tyranny of the blank page” was right

It’s true; there’s nothing more terrifying than staring down at an empty page or a blinking cursor on a canvas of white when there are things you want to say—except you don’t know how to express them right, which could mean accurately or beautifully or efficiently, or anything in between.

That happens pretty often, partly because my day job is as a copywriter, but mostly because I read all the time.

I leaf through physical books when I’m away from my work laptop, and squeeze in pages on my Kindle during work hours. And reading so much is great until I have to write a simple “first journal entry”—and freeze. Because the writers I read set such a high bar that I feel that I simply can’t match up.

(Or maybe I’m just a nervous wreck. Which, to be fair, I am.)

But it’s been three years since I last touched this blog, and while the world’s changed irreversibly, the one thing that hasn’t changed is how much I love reading, and how much I need a place to put everything I’ve written about books together.

So I guess this is my fresh start.

It is a little funny to be writing about fresh starts with the rainy season in full swing and a tropical depression bringing wild thunderstorms with it as it leaves the country. But I’m feeling optimistic today, so I’ll leave you with three facts about me and my new and improved book blog:

1. I write for a living, and I’m pretty proud of it

On the left is my first photo for the First Look Club, featuring some of the ARCs and review books I’d enjoyed most; and on the right is, well, a photo taken yesterday!

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was young, and after years of working in university newspapers and literary magazines, I ended up learning how to write in an unexpected, cutthroat industry: advertising. It’s exhausting on a day-to-day basis, but when you’re surrounded by the right people, it can be really fun! And it’s always a thrill to see my ideas come to life, even if sometimes it feels like it takes forever.

2. My current hobby, or all-consuming obsession, is learning German

Does Duolingo count as a German class? Probably not—but waking up to learn a new language every day has been one of the highlights of the past two months. Ich lerne gern Deutsch; die Sprache ist schwer aber schön! And it definitely helps that I have competitive friends doing this along with me. (Shoutout to Nik, my forever Friends Quest buddy!)

A screenshot from the Duolingo app showing Sari, a teenager in a hijab, saying, "Ihr Deutsch ist sehr gut." (Her German is very good.)
Thanks, Sari!

Fun fact: My new blog title was supposed to be Katerina liest, or “Katerina reads,” but two typos later, I realized that I could do more with Katerina liebt, or “Katerina loves.”

3. I want this blog to be

  • an archive of my reviews for Fully Booked’s First Look Club, which I’ve been writing reviews for since 2017 (five years!);
  • a place where I can write about the stories I enjoy, no matter what format they’re in—for example, I’ve recently started listening to podcasts again;
  • and, well, my space. No worrying about posting perfectly filtered photos or appeasing the algorithms. Just writing.

Now that I’ve started this up again, I’m so excited to get posting! Published reviews and new ones, monthly roundups, even bite-sized book reviews—anything and everything is on the table.

After all, if I’ve learned anything from my 40-day Duolingo streak, it’s to keep going every single day.

Or, well, in this case, maybe once every two weeks.

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