Books, Guantanamo, Stephen Fry, Jimmy Connors


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Tilting Titling

Dan Sperber | Cognition And Culture | 29th May 2017

Why are some book titles printed downwards on the spine, and some printed upwards? The difference seems to have evolved purely as a matter of convention, with the US and Scandinavia favouring top-to-bottom titling, South America and the rest of Europe favouring bottom-to-top. But top-to-bottom looks set to prevail globally as publishers rely more and more for their sales on best-sellers piled high in bookshops. On a supine book, the top-to-bottom title is the right way up (575 words)

What Are We Still Doing In Guantanamo?

Molly McCloskey | LARB | 29th May 2017

Notes from a visit to the camp and court at Guantanamo Bay. “There I was, squeezing oranges for ripeness while down the road a man was having to manually reinsert part of his anus. Two realities normally worlds apart — my comfortable existence and the heinous deeds done in the name of protecting that existence — were suddenly in close proximity. Some of those deeds may well have bolstered my security; others undermined it. What do I know? What do I want to know?” (7,900 words)

The Way Ahead

Stephen Fry | 29th May 2017

Reflections on technology and society. We have opened Pandora’s Box. Again. “What Pandora did not know was that when she shut the lid of the jar so hastily she forever imprisoned inside one last little creature , which was left behind to beat its wings hopelessly in the box for ever. Its name was Elpis, Hope. The comparison seems rather good, don’t you think? If Gutenberg’s revolution was Pandora 2.0 and the Industrial Revolution 3.0 then the information age is Pandora 4.0” (8,800 words)

The Journey Of Jimmy Connors

Frank Deford | Sports Illustrated | 28th August 1978

Classic profile of Jimmy Connors at the moment of his eclipse by Bjorn Borg. “If Connors’ game is locked into the past, it may, nonetheless, have diminished in one almost imperceptible way: hitting the ball on the rise. Jimbo does not appear to be taking the ball quite so soon. He has either lost the confidence to perform this feat, or some where deep inside a little bit of the killer instinct has paled, and he is giving the poor guy on the other side an instant more of breathing room. And the balls are coming back” (7,100 words)

Who Is The Real ***t?

Andrew O'Hagan | London Review Of Books | 25th May 2017

PG-13 for much swearing in the early paragraphs. Damning profile of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre. “The Mail desecrates the holy places where it likes to stake its claim, and would be a laughable rag, really, were it not for our degraded political culture taking it seriously. Every day in Dacre’s paper the people who make up the population of Britain, the people who teach your children and bandage your wounds, drive your trains or clean your floors, are described as aliens and forgers and scum” (2,800 words)

Video of the day: The Language Of Falconry

What to expect:

Expressions from falconry permeate the English language, largely thanks to Shakespeare (2’30”)

Thought for the day

In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart
Blaise Pascal

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