Evelyn Waugh, Doping, Laos, Savannah Welch, Georges Simenon

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Author Of Himself

D.J. Taylor | Literary Review | 4th December 2017

Sardonic, perceptive review of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh, “monumentally assembled in forty-three stout hardback volumes” by his grandson Alexander. “As a scholarly treatment of a modern British novelist, the Complete Works looks as if it will stand in a class of its own, not only for its presentation of definitive texts but also for its patient accumulation of large amounts of personal material that have hitherto escaped the biographers’ gaze. The footnotes are very nearly insane” (1,764 words)

A Guide To Cheating In The Olympics

Bill Gifford | Scientific American | 5th December 2017

“In this guide to Olympic doping, we break down the most commonly used doping methods, explaining how they work, analyzing their ease of detection and revealing which ones benefit performance—and which ones have little or no evidence of performance benefits. (Such as: human growth hormone.) We also investigated the ways in which athletes, as always, are pushing the boundaries and adopting new and improved methods of cheating” (2,800 words)

Laos: What Lies Beneath

Karen Coates | American Scholar | 4th December 2017

At work with an American non-profit clearing old US bombs from Laos. “US forces flew more than 580,000 bombing missions dumping millions of tons of explosives. The most hazardous and prevalent today are cluster submunitions packed into canisters that opened in midair and scattered dozens or hundreds of bomblets. Somphan knows at least 10 people who have had accidents with bombs, including his father-in-law, who lost a leg and now runs a garment shop in a market” (3,040 words)

Q&A: Savannah Welch

Richard Skanse | Lonestar Music | 4th December 2017

Conversation with Austin singer-songwriter who lost a leg in a parking lot. The prosthetic one works well, but the battery needs charging. “You know how hard it can be to find an outlet in an airport when you really need one, like at the gate — and then how do I tell somebody who’s charging their phone, ‘My situation takes priority over yours, because I can’t walk if I can’t plug into this thing right now’. I eventually found an outlet though, and just had to plug into a wall for a minute” (13,700 words)

Georges Simenon: The Art Of Fiction

Carvel Collins | Paris Review | 1st September 1955

Interview. Newly ungated. Brilliant throughout. “Because society today is without a very strong religion, without a firm hierarchy of social classes, and people are afraid of the big organization in which they are just a little part, for them reading certain novels is a little like looking through the keyhole to learn what the neighbor is doing and thinking — does he have the same inferiority complex, the same vices, the same temptations? This is what they are looking for in the work of art” (5,480 words)

Video of the day Indian Geography

What to expect:

Explaining India’s geopolitics. India’s development has been marked by external isolation and internal division (12’39”)

Thought for the day

People who are late are so much jollier than people who have to wait for them
E.V. Lucas

Podcast of the day Will Davies | Writers We Admire

Robert Cottrell talks to Will Davies about blogging, writing, sociology, economics and social media

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