Is it okay to dog-ear or write in your books? This question remains a heated topic among readers. I always thought it was stupid to care what others did with their books but preferred to leave mine in their original state.
This all changed for me when I started reading Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Vuong’s words were so beautifully constructed that simply reading them didn’t feel enough. I wanted to force myself to linger. I wanted to embrace the parts that had touched me, wanted to firmly secure the passages I’d later return to.
Or, less dramatically, I wanted to mark my book.
Full disclosure: I’ve written this blog on my behalf. Or in eigener Sache, as I would say in German. Is there a difference between the two expressions? Worlds, I would say, as someone who is preoccupied with language translation most days of the week. In light of the rapid proliferation and evolution of machine-learning translators, here’s to what makes thinking, speaking, and writing with diverse languages invaluably human.
In countries, such as Poland and the Netherlands, learning German is on the rise. Yet, in the U.S., it’s been declining for the past hundred years. Numbers of students learning German have decreased from roughly two million in 1910 to a little over one million today. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that German programs have been closing all over the U.S. The very liberal arts college I attended as a bachelor student in Indianola, Iowa – Simpson College – eliminated its German program a few years ago. So in preparation for this German American Day (Oct. 6), I decided to attempt to do some PR for German.
Recently, while I was surfing the web, I came across something that almost knocked me for a loop. It’s nothing bad, just a 58-letter word. So let’s hear that drum roll….