Silvia Ferrara | Lapham's Quarterly | 2nd March 2022
Extract from a book about the world's "mysterious scripts". Full of intriguing details. The Chinese script "is the only system in the world still used to represent the language for which it was invented" and even the earliest surviving examples show a fully formed system. The first inscriptions, carved into bone, are essentially records of séances; attempts to predict a very uncertain future (1,724 words)
Pieter Waterdrinker | Guardian | 2nd March 2022
The adventures of a young Russophile in the dying days of the USSR. A Dutch student, one of the few people in the Netherlands in the 1980s to have studied Russian, is recruited to take a shipment of Bibles hidden under a load of potatoes to Leningrad. It was the beginning of a new and shady career: "You could pick up a bronze bust of Lenin on the street for six packs of chewing gum" (1,070 words)
"A good upbringing means not that you won't spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won't notice it when someone else does"
— Anton Chekhov
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