Margaret Atwood: Moral Disorder

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atwood-md-bookcoverSince it’s summertime, I thought maybe you’re looking for something to read. I’m going to read you a selection from a book that I’ve been reading and thought might help you make a choice on your summer reading list. So here is my tip no. 1:

Listen to an excerpt of the first story in Moral Disorder, “The Bad News”

Learning the ropes – Vocabulary in “The Bad News”

crow – Krähe
Grade 4 – 4. Klasse
sparse bun – dünner Haarknoten
rancid teeth – faule Zähne
wrinkly frown – zerfurchter, finsterer Blick
pursed mouth – geschürzte Lippen
under cover of darkness – im Schatten der Dunkelheit
bearer of ill tidings – Träger schlechter Nachrichten
rotten eggs – faule Eier
interim governing council – Übergangsregierung
impervious to bad news –  immun (eigtl.: dicht) gegenüber schlechten Nachrichten
angular – eckig
has less capacity to absorb – ist weniger  aufnahmefähig
to cushion – abfedern
raise your blood pressure – Blutdruck erhöhen
pass on – weitergeben
get it off your hands – loswerden
to wallow – schwelgen
intermittent – mit Unterbrechungen
minor admonitions – kleinere Ermahnungen
strew things – Sachen verstreuen
frequently reiterated – häufig wiederholt
set of how-to instructions – Gebrauchsanweisungen
cancel each other out – heben sich gegenseitig auf
mindlessly – gedankenlos
spew out catastrophe – die (Nachricht der) Katastrophe ausspucken
be rid of it – es los sein
shoot a reproachful look – einen vorwurfsvollen Blick schicken
disappoint – enttäuschen
bilious green gland or bladder will burst – widerliche grüne Galle oder Blase wird platzen
peritonitis of the soul – Bauchfellentzündung der Seele
You’ll be sorry – Das wird dir aber leid tun
noone left whose mind I can read – niemand mehr, dessen Gedanken ich lesen kann

Moral Disorder is Margaret Atwood‘s first collection of short stories since Wildernis Tips, and it centers on the story of one woman or girl who grows up in the 1930s. It takes us from her childhood through her old age.

It’s basically a family novel, and very funny, but also very sarcastic — and very personal. It might be something for — how should I say — more for women than for men, and more for the 40 year olds than for the 20 year olds — that would be my guess. But I’ve been reading her for a long time, and I really think this is a good one. I can recommend it because they’re short stories. The vocabulary is quite difficult, but they’re short enough so you can take them just one at a time. I’ve put some of that vocabulary up here on this site.

Learning English tip of the week

When you read English, read each paragraph as a whole before you worry about the vocabulary. If you understand most of what you have read,  go on to the next paragraph. Looking up words takes time. When you do look up words, make a pencil mark in your dictionary so that if you look up a word and find that pencil mark, you’ll remember and realize: I need to learn this word.


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