If you are a young woman and you have not yet read Caitlin Moran please stop whatever you are doing, and run – briskly – to your nearest bookstore. Moran is a rock and television critic for Britain’s The Times and also one of the funniest, sharpest feminist writers/social commentators jotting down words today.
But why are we talking about her? Moran’s latest book, ‘Moranthology,’ arrived on The Daily Circuit book table last week. It’s a collection of columns from her 18-year span as a journalist with The Times (she’s only 35) and showcases interviews with Keith Richards and Paul McCartney, a beautiful obit of Amy Winehouse, a debaucherous night out with Lady Gaga and the time she showed up late to interview the Prime Minister. Moran walks that fine line of celebrity interviews by erasing all pretensions and making the reader feel like they’re along for the ride – especially because she seems just as amazed as I would that a former Beatle wants to talk to her. Moran writes like someone you’d just like to have dinner with, or be stuck next to on a plane for 10 hours. She’s both self-deprecating and uplifting.
And ‘Moranthology’ isn’t just a collection of Paul McCartney discussing who he’d have his face rebuilt to look like (although there is that), there are also pieces on religious freedom and social assistance – you want it, Moran probably wrote it.
I first fell in love with Moran after reading her first book, ‘How to Be a Woman’ (which won Britain’s National Book Award in 2011). It’s a great intersection of personal memoir and commentary on what it means to be a woman today. The book traces her life from growing up in public housing with seven younger siblings (a fact that appears to only have left a positive mark on her life, as she writes: “I am, by and large, boundlessly positive. I have all the joyful ebullience of an idiot. My diary entry for yesterday was ‘moved the deep-fat fryer onto the other worktop-it looks BRILLIANT!’) to her amazing career as a writer, critic and BBC television host and mother to two girls.
As a person who loathes self-help books, ‘How to Be a Woman’ felt like it approached the wisdom-dispensing game in all the right ways – through stories and humor and so that at the end of the book I realized that despite my best efforts – it gave me some pretty great advice.
For a taste of all that Moran has to offer, I present this great Fresh Air interview from earlier this year and this quote from Moran herself:
“My kind of base position on existence is that you just have to admit you’re a bit of a twat. You’re a bit of a div, you’re a kind of sweaty, stumpy, well-meaning idiot and you’re trying your hardest, but it’s just enough to be a sort of pleasant, polite person who’s working quite hard and tries to be nice to the people they’re nice to. We don’t need to have any more ambitions than that!”
So ladies – and men – get reading!
–Maddy Mahon, assistant producer