Browser Daily Newsletter 1291

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The Immortal Horizon

Leslie Jamison | The Believer | 17th April 2014

On running the 100-mile Barkley Marathons in northern Tennessee. "What makes it so bad? No trail, for one. A cumulative elevation gain that’s nearly twice the height of Everest. Native flora called saw briars that can turn a man’s legs to raw meat in meters. The hills have names like Rat Jaw, Little Hell, Big Hell, Coffin Springs, Zip Line, and an uphill stretch, new this year, known simply as the Bad Thing” (6,880 words)

Let The Past Collapse On Time

Vladimir Sorokin | New York Review Of Books | 17th April 2014

Russia's lurch towards democracy in 1991 was not so much a revolution as an interlude. With Putin, the Soviet mindset has returned. "The country automatically becomes hostage to the psychosomatic quirks of its leader. All of his fears, passions, weaknesses, and complexes become state policy. If he is paranoid, the whole country must fear enemies and spies; if he has insomnia, all the ministries must work at night" (1,820 words)

Being In Your Twenties Is Actually Great

Holly Baxter & Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett | New Statesman | 17th April 2014

I never suspected otherwise, but still, it is good to have this confirmed by people on the spot. "You can marry whomever you want, regardless of their gender. You can move anywhere in the EU and be in your twenties there instead. And when it doesn’t work out, you can come home crying and have a complete life rethink and no one will think you’re a failure; they’ll just think you made the most of your youth" (1,230 words)

Tricks Of The Food Trade

David Raubenheimer & Stephen Simpson | Nature | 17th April 2014

People are getting fatter because they are eating more, rather than because they are exercising less. They are eating more because human bodies require protein for development; cheap, industrialised food contains relatively little protein, but lots of sugars and fats engineered to taste like protein; such food, in effect, tricks the body into consuming more calories in order to maintain a target level of protein (790 words)

Is Poetry Work?

Patricia Lockwood | Harriet | 15th April 2014

And if it is, how much work should poets do? "Wallace Stevens only wrote five poems, and every one was insured for a million dollars, like a famous pair of legs. The greatest living poet, Nicolas Cage, continues to amaze us by never having written a poem at all. Is a poet who writes short poems working less than a poet who writes long ones? No. The average Rae Armantrout poem is three words long — cut from four thousand" (780 words)

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Art Of Fiction

Peter Stone | Paris Review | 1st December 1981

In memory of Marquez, who died on April 17th, a classic interview from 1981, which begins with a discussion of the differences between literary writing and journalism. The main one, says Marquez, is the productivity: "On a good working day, working from nine o’clock in the morning to two or three in the afternoon, the most I can write is a short paragraph of four or five lines, which I usually tear up the next day" (8,725 words)

Video of the day:  New York Noir

What to expect: Time-lapse of New York street scenes

Thought for the day:

"Anyone who says we are a society lacking belief is not paying attention. If anything, we are lacking doubt" — Alexander Nazaryan

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