Office Hours, Romania, Van Gogh, Guns, Joe Gould, Tsar Nicholas


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

Dear Lucy: How Long Should I Work?

Lucy Kellaway | Financial Times | 22nd July 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

A reader asks for advice on how to work a 40-hour week at the office without giving the impression of slacking off. The answer: Work in unpredictable bursts — twelve hours one day, "working from home" the next. In general, coming in late looks much less bad than leaving early, so turn up often at 11 or 12. "Everyone will assume you have been to a meeting". Complain ceaselessly about the stress and long hours (915 words)

The Last European

Juan Moreno | Der Spiegel | 22nd July 2015

Across Europe in a Romanian mini-van. Victor Talic is "more than just a bus driver, he's also a shipper, money courier, messenger and smuggler rolled into one". He drives through Germany at night when the roads are empty and his Romanian license plate is harder to recognize. "There are countries in Europe with a bad reputation, there are those with a very bad reputation — and then there is Romania" (4,070 words)

Selfie With Sunflowers

Julian Barnes | London Review Of Books | 22nd July 2015

Discussion of Vincent Van Gogh, drawing on Julian Bell's biography, A Power Seething, and on a new edition of Van Gogh's Letters — "the greatest commentary any artist has ever supplied on his own work". Van Gogh emerges from the Letters as a "desperately sincere" artist and a deeply difficult man. He was "the flat-sharer from hell, an insistent, overbearing presence, needy, demanding, free with advice and always knowing better" (3,340 words)

Have Guns, Will Liberate

Chase Madar | Baffler | 20th July 2015

Why do so many Americans carry guns? A new study of handgun carriers in the Michigan cities of Detroit and Flint, Citizen-Protectors, by Jennifer Carlson, finds that gun ownership appeals to working-class men "looking for new ways to assert their authority and demonstrate their usefulness". Carrying a gun "also doubles as a way for many men to play the cherished role of strict father without taking regular care of kids" (3,000 words)

Joe Gould’s Teeth

Jill Lepore | New Yorker | 20th July 2015

Subject to the New Yorker's metered paywall (dear New Yorker, we would pay good money for a pass-through link) the ultimate Joe Gould story — and the ultimate Joseph Mitchell story. Mitchell based his classic New Yorker profile, Joe Gould's Secret, on the premise that Gould's great Oral History never existed, save in Gould's imagination. But it did exist, and Mitchell knew it existed. Portraying Gould as a fantasist made a better story (10,700 words)

Ex-Tsar Nicholas II Executed

Editorial | Guardian | 22nd July 2015

From the Guardian of 22nd July 1918: "Nicholas's wretched end was of a piece with his life. His reign began with the ghastly tragedy at his coronation, when thousands of peasants lost their lives in the struggle for some mugs. Its middle term was the disastrous Russo-Japanese War, with its revolutionary sequel. Its close was the catastrophic European War, which has cast down the throne and the Empire of the Romanoffs" (690 words)

Video of the day: The Scream

What to expect: Animation. Edvard Munch's painting comes to life with music from Pink Floyd (3'22")

Thought for the day

Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize
Robert Hughes

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