Martin Amis, Michael Lewis, David Hockney, Céline, Digestion

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Barbed Wiring

James Camp | Bookforum | 9th February 2018

Lively appreciation of Martin Amis’s prose style. “Amis believes in writing the kind of sentences readers underline. Some writers help you to see the world. Amis makes it so you can’t unsee it. It is a singular gift. Naturally, it is not to everyone’s taste. You do not glide through an Amis paragraph on gentle currents of commas and periods. You are rocketed back and forth by em-dashes and spun around by semicolons. The pushiness can start to wear on you. As a reader, you have no freedom of movement” (2,600 words)

Has Anyone Seen The President?

Michael Lewis | Bloomberg | 9th February 2018

Oddly discursive but always perceptive Washington diary covering the four days between President Trump’s return from Davos and his State of the Union address, which Lewis watches in the company of Steve Bannon. “What Bannon thinks, I’m guessing, is that Trump does not understand how he got elected. He doesn’t understand the power of the anger he’s tapped, almost by accident. And he likely never will. His approach to his own ignorance is not to correct it but to compensate for it” (8,385 words)

The Simple Pleasures Of David Hockney

Roger White | n+1 | 29th January 2018

Notes on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Hockney retrospective. “Between the two of them, Hockney and Warhol exploited nearly all of the ways an image can be fashioned, duplicated, and distributed. Hockney is uncannily gifted at making works of art that translate well from the wall to the page or the screen; it’s no stretch to think that his entire oeuvre from art school onward has been produced in full anticipation of its eventual publication in other media” (2,700 words)

Should We Read Céline?

Andrew Hussey | New Statesman | 11th February 2018

Can Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s genius as a novelist possibly give any artistic value to the string of savagely anti-semitic pamphlets which he wrote in 1937-41, praising Hitler and calling for the extermination of the Jewish race? “Céline’s hatred of Jews is expressed in wild, hallucinatory riffs. It is emotional, irrational, crude and visceral. It is probably the closest thing you will ever read to how the many real, everyday anti-Semites talked in the streets of Paris in the 1930s” (2,550 words)

How To Survive Being Swallowed

Ed Yong | Atlantic | 7th February 2018

Can animals survive — even profit from — being eaten by other animals? It does happen, but rarely, and only in the case of small animals, not of humans. “Many snails can survive being eaten by birds. This ability allows them to travel over long distances, and probably explains why genetically identical populations have been found on different Japanese islands, or on different sides of the Americas — a possibility that Darwin suggested, and that scientists have recently confirmed” (870 words)

Video of the day Technology And Politics

What to expect:

Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman in conversation at Stanford University, moderated by Niall Ferguson (1h 34m)

Thought for the day

Find the truth by comparing the lies
Leon Trotsky

Podcast of the day The Diet Episode | Gastropod

Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley ask where and why we got into the habit of thinking that thinner is better

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