In which Eefje gushes about an author in a slightly creepy way

You know how sometimes, you read a book and fall entirely in love with it? I had that happen with an unexpected book recently, Moranthology by Caitlin Moran. It’s a collection of her columns, and I just LOVE IT SO MUCH. I have had How to be a Woman on my to read list for a while when I found the Dutch translation of Moranthology in the take-if-you-like-it pile at work. I figured, hey I’ve been wanting to read something by this author and it’s free, even if I would have prefered to read it in English.

And it is just a book that matches me entirely. Caitlin Moran is one of the few people who I can now add to the list of ‘people who I want to be when I grow up’. (The list includes Neil Gaiman and my Nana.) Her writing style, her way of looking at life, the universe and everything, her feeling about hairstyles and hanging out with awesome musicians. Her feminism, her great love for Doctor Who and Sherlock and the way she makes fun of Downton Abbey. All of it. I may be vaguely creepy in my love for this woman I have never met but I aboslutely adore her. I am a part of the Caitlin Moran fandom now and it is glorious.

I also want to mention the translator, Petra C. van der Eerden, who did an excellent job on the Dutch edition. Moran’s voice come through loud and clear and there wasn’t a moment where I felt like I could ‘see’ the English behind the phrases (something that always makes me want to read the actual English edition and is often the mark of a not-so-good translator), not even in the column about Sherlock in which quotes from the show are mentioned. I do instantly remember the actual English dialogue obviously, but in no way did that disturb my reading-enjoyment.

I can’t wait to read Moran’s (I keep wanting to call her Cate, which she mentions in the book is the name people who actually know her call her) other books, How to be a Woman and How to Build a Girl. I am going to enjoy ferociously consuming anything she puts out in the world.

This is the Goodreads page for Moranthology, and here is Caitlin Moran’s twitter.

About language and family

I love the English words siblings and spouses. They are about a specific relationship without being gender-specific. I think that’s quite cool, it’s the relationship that matters, not the gender.

We don’t have these words in Dutch. We have broer (brother) en zus (sister) but we don’t have ‘sibling’. So we always have to say ‘my brothers and sisters’ when talking about all of them. Some people have taken to just mashing up broer and zus into brus (multiple: brussen) but it’s not a normal word (yet).
It’s the same for spouses, We don’t even really have the words husband and wife, we just say man and vrouw (man and woman). If you want to say ‘a group of friends and their spouses’ you would use ‘partner’ to be gender-unspecific, but that’s a word that can also imply girlfriend or boyfriend and not married couples.
It’s funny that we lack words when Dutch is such an elaborate language.

I was thinking about these things because yesterday my father and his siblings and all their spouses went out for dinner together.
It is so fun to see them all hanging out and having a grand old time, to see them enjoy each others company so much. It makes me happy to know I come from a family that really loves each other and that tries to stay close even though we don’t all live near. A family that likes having a beer together and develops in-jokes.
And I hope I can keep this up with my siblings too when I get to be the age of my parents.

About words and how they matter

Lately I have been commenting a bit on MarkReads and MarkWatches. I’ve been lurking for a while, but now I’m getting more involved. (Mark is someone who reads books and watches tv-series for the first time and reviews them per chapter and episode. Right now he’s doing LOTR and Buffy.)

On those sites there is a strict rule not to use any kind of slur, which is a good rule because it makes people like me think about what slurs are. There are some words that I’ve never thought of as slurs included in the policy, most notably ‘crazy’  and ‘lame’. I like to think my English is very good, but clearly there are still meanings of words that get lost because I’ve never connected them with where they come from. ‘Lame’ is a word I’ve only ever come across used as a negative qualifier to an action or object. “Dude, that’s so lame!” To me it has always meant something akin to ‘boring’, because it is used that way all over the internet. I don’t recall having ever seen it used as a derogatory term specificly to people with a disability.

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