Football Tickets, Proust, French Resistance, Slavery, Insects, Blues Guitar

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Are Football Tickets Under-Priced?

Chris Dillow | Stumbling And Mumbling | 8th February 2016

Seemingly yes, at least for the top clubs. Prices are higher in the secondary market. Why leave money on the table? Four possible reasons. A full house every time is good for morale and for home team advantage. The clubs value lifelong local customers over fickle tourists. Fans spend the savings on merchandise. And higher prices would raise expectations, making life harder for owners and managers. Good comments thread, too (600 words)

The Proust Book Club

Hannah Gersen | Millions | 9th February 2016

Marcel Proust was 38 and in poor health when he began A la récherche. He finished it 13 years later — an "extraordinary pace" at which to write seven long volumes, each sublime. He believed — correctly, in the event — that he was writing to deadline. He died in 1922, shortly after completing the last volume. He writes about remembering; and yet his message is that we have no control over what we remember (1,760 words)

The Truth About The Resistance

Robert Paxton | New York Review of Books | 10th February 2016

The French Resistance was brave but ineffective. "Most resistance actions within France failed. The Allies were going to win, whether the Resistance helped them or not." After the war, Resistance leaders played "a curiously small part in political life". But they were vital to the recovery of national pride. The fact of the Resistance allowed a Frenchman "to look at a Russian, British or American soldier without blushing" (3,200 words)

A Future History Of America

Malcolm Harris | Pacific Standard | 26th January 2016

Review of The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry, by Ned and Constance Sublette. At most 500,000 survived the passage from Africa to slavery in America, yet in 1860 four million slaves were tilling American fields. Slavery was more a domestic industry than a transatlantic trade. "Most American slaves were not kidnapped on another continent ... Some states produced slaves as their main domestic crop" (1,820 words)

The Woman Who Made Science Beautiful

Andrea Wulf | Atlantic | 19th January 2016

"In 1679, a year after the birth of her second daughter, Maria Sibylla Merian published The Wondrous Transformation of Caterpillars, the result of almost two decades of observations. It was unlike any other book yet written. There were other publications on insects, but no one had ever drawn their full life cycle ... Her blossoms had holes, her leaves were half chewed, and her blooms had lost their petals" (1,230 words)

Hammer In Her Hand

Rachel Maddux | Oxford American | 9th February 2016

Profile of Beverly 'Guitar' Watkins, 76, "the greatest living blues guitarist that no one has ever heard of". She played in the 1960s with Piano Red's band, opening for B.B. King and Ray Charles. She "crashed on the sandbar of disco, brushed herself off, and kept on going", working day jobs and recording her first album at 60. "All she needs is space enough for a small woman and a big guitar and the crowd that always follows" (3,300 words)

Video of the day: Death And Co

What to expect: Sylvia Plath's poem, read by Harriet Walte (1'45")

Thought for the day

Atheists take religion too literally
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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