Possibly the only drawback about the bestselling How To Be A Woman was that its author, Caitlin Moran, was limited to pretty much one subject: being a woman.
MORANTHOLOGY is proof that Caitlin can actually be ‘quite chatty’ about many other things, including cultural, social and political issues which are usually the province of learned professors, or hot-shot wonks – and not a woman who once, as an experiment, put a wasp in a jar, and got it stoned.
These other subjects include:
Caffeine | Ghostbusters | Being Poor | Twitter | Caravans | Obama | Wales | Marijuana Addiction |Paul McCartney | The Welfare State | Sherlock | David Cameron Looking Like Ham | Amy Winehouse | Elizabeth Taylor’s Eyes | Michael Jackson’s Funeral | ‘The Big Society’ | Big Hair | Nutter-letters | Failed Nicknames | Wolverhampton | Squirrels’ Testicles | Sexy Tax | Binge-drinking | Chivalry | Rihanna’s Cardigan | Boris Johnson – Albino Shag-hound | Party Bags | Hot People| Transsexuals | The Gay Moon Landings | My Own, Untimely Death
Caitlin Moran had literally no friends in 1990, and so had plenty of time to write her first novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, at the age of fifteen. At sixteen she joined music weekly, Melody Maker, and at eighteen briefly presented the pop show 'Naked City' on Channel 4. Following this precocious start she then put in eighteen solid years as a columnist on The Times – both as a TV critic and also in the most-read part of the paper, the satirical celebrity column 'Celebrity Watch' – winning the British Press Awards' Columnist of The Year award in 2010 and Critic and Interviewer of the Year in 2011. The eldest of eight children, home-educated in a council house in Wolverhampton, Caitlin read lots of books about feminism – mainly in an attempt to be able to prove to her brother, Eddie, that she was scientifically better than him. Caitlin isn't really her name. She was christened 'Catherine'. But she saw 'Caitlin' in a Jilly Cooper novel when she was 13 and thought it looked exciting. That's why she pronounces it incorrectly: 'Catlin'. It causes trouble for everyone.
As far as I'm concerned, Caitlin Moran is a genius. Her style is chaotic and chatty on the surface, and she seems to have real problems understanding the semicolon, but under the bonnet every sentence is assembled with such beautiful precision. Her phrases are spring-loaded to take you by surprise. And I suppose, because I also grew up in 80s-90s Britain, there is also something incredibly appealing about her shared pool of references.
‘She has no identity, save that which advertisers sell her,’ I continue, piously, castigating the whole advertising industry; wholly ignoring the fact that I love the song from the Bran Flakes advert (‘They're tasty / Tasty / Very very tasty / They're very tasty!’) and am quite emotionally invested in the romantic plotline of the Gold Blend couple.
One way of reviewing the book would be simply to quote an endless succession of gorgeous lines like this. An X-Factor contestant is described as having ‘a voice like a goose being kicked down a slide’. A hilarious discussion of why fish are so disgusting leads her to remark, ‘There's things down there that make Picasso look like a photo-realist, trying to cheer up a sad child.’ (Most writers would have stopped at ‘photo-realist’. But it's that extra push that turns the grin into a giggle.) Her ability to craft a phrase made me think about Charlie Brooker, whose lines are cleverer that Caitlin's, but also meaner – and at the end of the day, though her prose style seems more naïve, she's the one that gives me the most out-loud laughs.
A very welcome collection for anyone like me that can't quite justify subscribing to The Times just to keep up with her columns.
Usually when I read anything by Caitlin Moran it ends with me wishing she were my best friend. This collection of essays was no different. As always, Moran is delightful, relatable, hilarious and truly entertaining.
I was going on a very long bus ride that I knew would leave me inevitably grumpy. I wandered Barnes & Noble, unable to find something funny to distract me from my impending angst. Then I remembered that Caitlin Moran had another book out! I swooped, I bought, I packed. Now, 24 hours having purchased the book, I'm finished.
The think about reading Moran is that you feel like you're having drinks with your talkative, eccentric friend who never means to clash her clothes or have a random sandwich in her purse, but hey, at least she offers to share. Her collected articles here are insightful, witty, honest, and compelling, flitting from her impoverished (but never mourned) childhood to interviews with some of the biggest celebrities in the world.
I'd give this 4.5 stars if I could because I really did not enjoy the Lady Gaga or Doctor Who sections, in which Moran admitted outright hat she was a massive fan of each and proceeded accordingly. I have no real interest in either, and her writing couldn't compel me to feel differently. But hey, to each their own. That's what being a woman (indeed, being a human) is all about, right? I'm only sorry we Americans haven't seen more of Moran before this year. Let's not fall short again, 2013.
Once again a book by Caitlin Moran was hard to rate. How to build a girl was an easy 5 stars for me but then again it was a fiction book. I actually enjoyed that this book was rather chaotic in it's was of changing subjects quickly and feeling a little rambly. Reminded me of myself and that's always fun. It was intriguing and interesting to get into her head a bit but not a new favorite non fiction. Think my rating is around 3.7 stars.
The author does warn you beforehand that this book is a hodgepodge collection of previously published articles, general musings, and midnight chats with her husband.
The majority of these articles I really enjoyed. Specifically, the one about her introduction to World of Warcraft, her interview with Lady Gaga (and Paul McCartney), and of course her love for libraries:
”A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.”
However, because I have read most of the author’s books, I also picked up on a few repeats that I have read before.
And her love of the BBC Series Doctor Who and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock was clearly very important to her but of no real interest to me.
3.5 stars. I really liked it, not quite a much as How to be a woman, but enough to read anything else she writes. I could not identify with a lot of the articles as I have not watched any of the TV shows she reference and a lot of it is very British, but I was still giggling like a mad person, so that deserves high praise. I love that she mixes personal anecdotes, real issues and celebrity stuff. If you enjoyed Tina Fey I think you should try this. On libraries: They are cathedrals of the minds; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.
"In a world where women still worry that they are too much-too big, too loud, too demanding, too exuberant-Taylor was a reminder what a delight it can be, for men and women alike, when a woman really does take full possession of her powers"
How incredibly light and refreshing this book was! Caitlin Moran is a breath of fresh air. She's sharp, funny and just reeks of intelligence. My kind of woman.
This book consists of essays, that I must say are rather a mixed bag. In "How to be a woman" I knew what I was going to get. Straight forward feminism. In this Moran discusses, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Dr Who, David Cameron, Downton Abbey and even Michael Jackson. Moran has obvious style, and much of this book I sat reading just giggling to myself. She does have a rather clever style to her writing. The only thing I strongly disagreed with was the way she entirely slated Downton Abbey! I loved that series and was purely devastated when it ended. Dame Maggie Smith is amazing!
The main huge problem with this book was the grammar and punctuation issue. There seemed to be a lack of it. Seriously, it got on my nerves after a reading for a while.
This book was entertaining, but not as enjoyable as "How to be a woman"
This collection of essays from The Times of London was a mixed bag. Columns featuring her trademark "strident" feminism? Yes, please. Profiles of Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga? Sure, I'm down for that. A lengthy accounting of the royal wedding, punctuated by numerous tweets from British celebrities I'd never heard of? No thanks. Reviews of Dr. Who, Downton Abbey, and Sherlock, none of which I'd ever seen? Yawn. (Although that Sherlock sounds pretty good. Added to Netflix queue.) And while I'm sure there was a way to write about Michael Jackson's memorial service that wouldn't seem dated years later, Caitlin's column sure wasn't it.
This book also had many, many mistakes of the typo/punctuation/grammar variety. (The most egregious? A column that used the word "serious" instead of "series"--all the way through.) I know newspapers are less concerned about copyediting issues than ever before, and that the British have always been a bit more lax about such things anyway, but I wish someone at HarperCollins had just gone through this book and fixed the most obvious mistakes--they were honestly quite distracting.
So what's the reason to read this book? Well, these days Caitlin seems focused on producing TV shows, so who knows when her next book--a sequel to How to Build a Girl--will even be released? If you're like me and find yourself in the mood for more of Caitlin's writing, this book is basically the last resort, and that's how it should be approached.
Oh Cate (I call her Cate, 'cause in my head, we're friends), stop making my girl-crush on you worse...
A collection of the columns written for The Times encompassing Sherlock, why Ghostbusters is the best film ever made (I agree (whisper - unless we include Jaws) - and Bill Murray is another of my very close imaginary friends), making stupid remarks while drunk, Mooncups (I looked that up and...I can't even...), benefit cuts and library closures, female popstars no longer able to make songs without being willing to feel themselves up in the videos (and this behaviour is leaking: true story - I was once hollered at by a 'friend' for embarrassing her in a club by dancing like a drunken MC Hammer. She proceeded to go to the opposite end of the dancefloor and rub her boobs for 3 minutes, and couldn't understand why I thought that behaviour was infinitely more embarrassing than my Running Man), and a million other things that popped into her head besides.
Chatty and funny, this made me laugh out loud on lots of occasions, and I also irritated my boyfriend on insisting on reading bits out to him while he watched football (it's payback, bitch!)
This book is essentially a collection of newspaper articles, originally written for “The Times“ and now combined by newly written introductions, with a wide (and wild) range of subjects from failed nicknames to matters of life and death. Being a journalist myself, what struck me most about this book is the fact that, even though the author is a journalist and the book is, among other things, about social or political criticism, she never tries to keep her articles neutral or especially objective – they’re always deeply personal. Caitlin Moran is a fangirl when she interviews David Tennant on the “Doctor Who“ set, she sounds even reverent in her chapter about her interview with Keith Richards, you can feel her sadness in her text about the death of Amy Winehouse and her indignation about male bullshit when it comes to the treatment of women in patriarchies. You can tell that she’s touched when talking about a David Attenborough film on global warming and that she’s deeply shocked writing about a documentary on “Death and All Its Faces.“ She doesn’t keep quiet about her feelings and thoughts, she’s smart and witty, often bold and sometimes even cheeky, which leads to astonishing insights. And, of course, first and foremost it makes the book incredibly funny! I’m not in agreement with everything the author writes, but that didn’t spoil the fun I got out of reading the book. I liked it – thumbs up!
For those of us who are new to the phenomenon that is Caitlin Moran, this compilation of columns proves that she is an unparalleled artist, painting with a brush of words and a palette of intelligence, hilarity, conscience, introspection, and interpersonality. In other words, her writing is wicked smart, uber perceptive, totally principled, and super freaking funny.
Only two problems separate "Moranthology" from "How To Be a Woman," an irrefutably five-star book: (1) the nature of an anthology and (2) haste. First, reading this book is a bit like watching a full season of "West Wing" in a week or multiple episodes of "30 Rock" in a single sitting - one is simultaneously overwhelmed by the brilliance and unable to fully appreciate it. If I had it to do again (without the library due date bearing down on me), I'd read one piece a day. As it was, I had trouble switching gears between columns and ended with an impression of slight unevenness in quality. Second, the damned typos. Clearly in a rush to capitalize on the success of "How To Be a Woman" in the States, Moran's publisher appears to have either hired a high school student to re-type the columns and run straight to the printer, or forgotten to insert a caveat explaining that original errors were maintained for some strange sense of journalistic integrity (and I'm not an idiot who doesn't recognize British spelling variations; I'm just a whack job who’s pet-peeved by the lack of thorough editing).
If I could give a book four and a half stars, I would. Blame "How To Be a Woman" for my refusal to call "Moranthology" perfection, then read both books.
So, what can I possibly say about Moranthology which hasn't already been said before?
In a nutshell, it's bloody fantastic, very accessible, loaded with sharp wit, an ever-discerning eye and pumped full of silliness. If Moranthology was a dessert, it would be a mash-up of all your favourites with some sprinkles added on top.
Caitlin Moran does what she does best - she puts her heart and soul into everything she writes, and in the process mocks herself quite a lot. She is a fun-loving free spirit and I fully salute her chaotic craziness. She is a breath of fresh air which I hope to channel one day.
In this collection of columns, she discusses the art of chivalry and the reason why it's dying (which turns out to be all womens' doing), why she doesn't agree with giving kids party bags at the end of a birthday, why she thinks Lola out of Charlie and Lola is an unsuitable role model for all young girls (including her daughters) and why she made a terrible terrible stoner. Oh, and there are also some amusing snippets involving bedtime conversation with her husband, Pete.
Moranthology is a MUST for Moran fans so what are you waiting for? Go, get it and revel in some light-hearted silliness. You won't even notice Winter's on its way!
And, Caitlin, you can't copyright your hair because I want it and by god, one day I'll have it!
I've read, and enjoyed, a few of Caitlin Moran's columns in The Times (and elsewhere too, probably) so when I saw this cheap in a charity shop, I picked it up to put by my bed and use as a 'light' read before going to sleep.
Alas, though there were plenty of bits which made me laugh, and a few sections which I found particularly touching and intelligent (mainly about places I'd also been), much of it was a bit tiresome and I didn't find that amusing. This was mainly due to the problem of 350+ pages of the same 'act' being a lot more exposing than a couple of magazine columns once a week. There seemed to be quite a lot of content that interested me little - I felt less and less like the target audience for Moran's schtick, the longer I read.
Aspects of her socialist proselytising irritated me a bit, parts showed a puzzling lack of self-awareness, but much of the reason I ended up less than impressed with the book was because there was pages and pages of popular culture journalism which bored me witless. Who cares what you saw on telly or which celebs you hung out with backstage, when you can't hold my interest when writing about them? I compare in my mind stuff I have read by Stephen Fry and Charlie Brooker, and feel their writing on such subjects was more my taste than this was.
There were some nice moments in this collection of columns, but for the most part it was neither funny nor interesting. Maybe it's because I'm not British, but a lot of the columns were about things/people I am just not interested in, like Doctor Who/David Attenborough/Celebrity Watch (no idea what that even is)/... There were some 'serious' essays about benefits and poverty etc, but they lacked real power and insight, in my opinion. I had the exact same opinion of How to Be a Woman, so I don't really know why I even bothered to read this one.
Caitlin Moran does it again - brilliant, witty, honest, thoroughly enjoyable. This is a collection of some of the columns she's written for The Guardian over the years and covers everything from her thoughts on the UK closing public libraries to visiting a sex club in Berlin with Lady Gaga. Bonus: her review of BBC's "Sherlock" got me hooked on the television series. Thank you CM!
Toss up between a 3 and 4. Really enjoyed this book though slightly less than How to Be a Woman. It was perfect for a Readathon since the columns are short and hilarious. It did make me laugh out loud on several occasions.
This was an odd book to read as someone from a working class background which Moran herself has developed as part of her brand. Yet despite her strong pride you can see it still nags at her. There are three very good pieces in this and two of those are about Aberystwyth. And I can’t finish writing this review because a car theft alarm is honking right outside and driving me mad.
Despite the fact that I think Caitlin Moran doesn't really "get:" YA fiction (http://flavorwire.com/457727/caitlin-...), I still think she is hilarious and brilliant. Recently I saw a list of 25 Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh (again on Flavorwire like the above article- I spend a lot of time there), and Sloane Crosley was touted to take the "hilarious female personal essay writer" crown (which I'm sure is a thing)- and that is totes bullshit. It totally goes to Moran. Crosley doesn't hold a candle to her. Plus, she writes about Doctor Who and Sherlock in a totally fangirl way, which is just a flat-out WIN.
While this books is "just" a compilation of articles, reviews and personal essays written over a long period for The Times: London, and many of them are 1,000 words or less, it actually had some very insightful things to say about topics ranging from feminism (definitely her forte), to LGBT rights, to the value of public funding for arts education. And did I mention she's just freaking hilarious? Her style is snappy and conversational, like she could be your best friend. Her razor-sharp, MST3K-like skewering of of pop culture and the world at large manages to be not just funny, but smart and genuine. Too many writers incorporate personal anecdotes in an effort to be funny, but they often feel forced (or worse, doctored). And while we all know writers take liberties with their stories- ESPECIALLY the true ones- these feel fundamentally honest and real.
I started reading this in a haphazard, dip-in-and-out way, and like any essay book, it works that way. But about halfway through I found myself unable to parse the reading out in small doses and had to keep going. There are some essays where I'm pretty sure I highlighted 50% or more of the text on my Kindle, sometimes because the ideas were so great, but more often because the way she wrote them was so damn funny. For example, on burquas:
Well, then. Burquas seem like quite a man-based problem, really. I would definitely put this under the heading, "100 percent stuff that men need to sort out." I don't know why women are suddenly having to put things on their heads to make it better.
And on big hair:
...when it comes to wanting to look glamorous, there's something winningly practical about having huge hair. Heels cripple you, the bugle-beading on an expensive dress will chafe. Huge hair, on the other hand, can't fall off...and most importantly it costs you nothing. Aimed with a comb, you can whip your do up like egg-whites in a gigantic hair meringue, without it costing you a penny. Big hair is the party-do Marx would have backed, for sure.
These little snippets don't really convey the greatness, the stories are too much about the whole picture to quote so pithily with success, but I thought I would share anyway.
This title, basically by her own admission, was thrown together after her "real" book How to Be a Woman came out, but that's ok. It provides a great overview of her style and perspective, which has now prompted me to push said "real" book to the top of my to-read pile.
Caitlin Moran, why aren't you my friend? After reading How to Be a Woman, I was enamored of your wit and thought-provoking analysis of womanhood. I was especially in awe of your compare and contrast between stripping and burlesque and why one is infinitely better for women. I have reused this several times in random conversations about strip clubs. After reading your wonderful collection of articles and essays, I now have a desire to visit Wales, specifically Aberystwyth, demand that my husband give me a nickname and listen to Amy Winehouse all day. Albeit, some of her Britishisms required a little more thought on my part, her writing was engaging, hilarious and often thoughtful. Or I might, as she admits to doing, find a few places I really love and just repeatedly visit them with my family. either way this woman has an amazing wit and observation that I can only dream of! Highly recommended for moms and any readers with little time to read. The essays are short and sweet and pack a punch. It might also inspire you to dig out your 1990s clothes and make your hair big, but that is a whole other conversation!
I'm a fan of Caitlin Moran and after hearing her speak at The Green Man festival in Wales this summer, I determined to read this second book. She was warm and entertaining at the festival and this was reflected in her writing here. I thoroughly enjoyed 'How To Be A Woman' and I wasn't disappointed here.
Once you realise that this is an anthology of her columns in The Times, you understand the format and have your expectations accordingly. As I don't happen to subscribe to The Times online, I appreciated this opportunity to read her columns and catch up with her older ones and the added introductions she had written to each article. There is a mixture of fun and seriousness and TV fandom.
The only thing I would say is in the third quarter, there is a series of articles about being poor. I appreciated them and found them interesting, but I would have had them peppered throughout the book rather in one wedge as I felt they started to lose their impact after the third one.
Overall, a pleasant read and I'm interested to see what is coming from Caitlin Moran next.
After reading "How to be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran I was extremely curious about this particular woman who opened my mind to contemporary feminism. In "Moranthology", a compilation of some of her columns about life and pop culture, plus in bed discussions with her husband, Moran talks about the Royal Wedding, why she doesn't travel the world, her hair, her love for the BBC series Sherlock, among hundreds of other things. It's funny, entertaining and well written. She gives us her feminist perspective of many topics and at some points she just tells some of her personal stories. I'm giving it four stars not because the writing is incredibly amazing (but it is great) or because I completely relate myself to it (with in some points I do), but it's because her personality is completely reflected in this book. It gave me this feeling that I know how she's like and it would be someone I'd love to meet. I am unexplainably in love with this book, and I truly recommend it.
I'm really torn on how to express my thoughts about this book.
On the one hand, there were some stories that I genuinely enjoyed. Caitlin Moran's personality definitely comes out in her writing, which is important.
On the other hand, many of the stories--especially those related to her meeting celebrities--felt like play-by-plays of the events. Too much telling, not enough showing. With a lot of these stories, I'd rather have just read an interview between her and the celebrity. It would have been easier to follow.
Nothing against Caitlin, but the editing in the book was terrible. There were typos galore, in some instances the narration flipped back and forth between past and present tense, and some sentences were just crafted in a way that made it hard to follow the text.
Overall, I want to give some credit to the entertainment value of certain stories. But I can't really walk away from this book with the desire to read anything else she's written.
I don't usually read this sort of book. When I read nonfiction, it's either as professional development or it's history from an object orientation. But I ran across Moran's article on libraries (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caitlin...), which I enjoyed very much. So I picked up Moranthology.
I didn't realize I'd find a kindred soul.
It didn't take much to convince me of that. She had me at "There's a lot of Sherlock love in here. In many ways, this book might as well be called 'Deduce THIS, Sexlock Holmes!' with a picture of me licking his meerschaum, cross-eyed and screaming." I learned quite a bit about Keith Richards and Lady Gaga, about Benedict Cumberbatch and Doctor Who. I also relived what it means to really be poor, and how that should inform the debate on welfare.
I loved this book, and I highly recommend it for literally everyone I know.
I adore Caitlin Moran. She's acerbic, warm, funny, and a very smart observer of pop culture. After devouring HOW TO BE A WOMAN I couldn't wait to get my hands on this collection of her previously published pieces.
This is a mix of celebrity interviews (Keith Richards, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney), pop culture observations (the royal wedding, Michael Jackson's funeral, Downton Abbey vs Sherlock), and social commentary (parenting, feminism, etc). Each piece is short and pithy but still very satisfying. HOW TO BE A WOMAN had a lot of biographic information which some may have found tiresome after awhile. This may be a better introduction to Moran as a writer/comedienne. Moran has had a fascinating life, but her strongest writing is less personal and more cultural observation. Humour is hard to write and Moran is one of my favourite (albeit non-traditional) humourists.
It's official...I love Caitlin Moran, or I wish I was as funny as her...either or this is an awesome read. Even to those who wouldn't regularly read her columns, there's a bit in here for everyone, and I have been annoying my friends and family continuously with saying 'just read this bit', 'but you love GaGa' and 'I promise you laugh out loud on this one'. I was especially happy to find out that someone else thinks that Ghostbusters are cooler than Jedi's (a part from my mate Lisa, who I have a photo of with a home made Ghostbuster pack on). I also spend a large portion of one day watching videos about mooncups! So both humorous and educational.
Read this if you want to laugh, or laugh at someone else :)
Some of the essays in this collection were better than others (isn't that always the case), some purely fun, while others more serious, but all from the heart with Moran's signature quirky wit. From Ghostbuster to Downton Abbey, Marriage & Children, Keith Richards to Paul McCartney, as well as more serious social issues like funding for the arts, poverty, & the importance of libraries thrown in too, there is definitely something in here for everyone to enjoy, laugh at, and think hard about.
For me personally, I read and really enjoyed her How to Be A Woman last year, and I really enjoyed reading her take on a wider range of issues in this installment.
Caitlin Moran is hilarious. She writes about issues big and small bringing humor and unexpected insightfulness to everything from Michael Jackson's funeral to the importance of libraries.
Since this is a collection of her previously published newspaper articles, it was perfect to read over the course of a busy semester. I read it an article at a time over about six weeks, and it provided brief, welcome moments of humor amongst my mounds of essay-grading.