Thursday, July 25, 2019



I just read the fabulous debut novel Cursed, by author Karol Ruth Silverstein (2019 - Charlesbridge). What better inspiration to look into the word author?

Author appeared in English in the 1300s, meaning one who makes or creates. It came from an Old French word meaning originator, creator, instigator, which came from a Latin word with a heap of shaded meanings: progenitor, founder, authority, performer, responsible person, teacher. The literal meaning of author’s Latin root (aug-) meant to cause to grow.

Silverstein’s novel manages to do all that. Her protagonist is Erica Bloom, known mostly as Ricky, a snarky ninth grader who not only has to change schools due to her parent’s divorce, but has recently been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. The frustration, pain, humiliation, & uncertainty of it all only increase her snarkiness, as illustrated by the novel’s subtitle: “Warning — chronic pain may cause irritability, sarcasm, & bouts of profanity.” 
Cursed is a valuable addition to the #OwnVoices movement, & gives the reader a glimpse into life with chronic pain, from an authority on the subject — a responsible person whose work not only introduces us to a compelling character, but teaches us, helps us grow, & entertains us along the way.

And since I can hardly help myself when it comes to etymologies, I’m forced to mention that aug-, the base Latin word for author, gave us some other lovely words: authority, authorize, augur, augment, auxiliary, inaugurate, inaugural, waist, wax, eke, & nickname (honestly, folks).

If you’re in the mood to enjoy a compelling young adult read, check out Cursed. And though our pals at Blogspot still aren’t letting me reply on my own blog, if you’re in the mood to comment, please do.

Big thanks to this week’s sources:  Merriam Webster, Wordnik, Collins Dictionary, & Etymonline.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea that an author is an originator. People ask what you do for a living and you can say "I'm an originator" and totally bamboozle them. But maybe author is best. Then when people ask, you can say you authorize books. Right? :-)