Five books

If you aren’t familiar with the website Five Books, I can highly recommend it. Twice a week, an interviewee selects five books on a theme (usually in their area of expertise) and explains their choices. It’s a great place to get new reading ideas. Their archive has 1000 interviews; it’s likely somebody you admire has had an interview there.

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a dinosaur skull in his skull

For all the talk of draining the swamp, a fair number of older establishment Republicans who took a gamble on Donald Trump are now being rewarded in office. In recent months the London Review of Books has been promoting pieces from its archive1 on the past exploits of these various deplorables. Something in particular that caught my eye was this 1995 review by Christopher Hitchens of a book by Newt Gingrich, then Speaker of the House. It’s nice to be reminded of what a remarkable writer Hitchens was, whatever his personal and ideological faults.

  1. Most of the archive is only available to LRB subscribers, but these promoted pieces are free. The archive is a wonderful bonus if you are a subscriber, there’s some brilliant stuff in there. ↩︎

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I can’t think of anything good to write about this week, I’m afraid. I’ve had a weekend filled with minor frustrations, but writing them down doesn’t seem like it would be helpful for me or interesting for anybody else. So instead here are some of my regular recipes, in case you wanted to try something new.

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The state of the federation

Edit 2017-04-09: Much of the below is now redundant. Eugen closed registrations for the main instance when it got to around 40,000 users. That forced people to join other instances and the network is beginning to look more healthy: there are currently some 120,000 users.

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Cambridge half marathon

I signed up for the Cambridge half in November, aiming to train really hard and try to finally go under 90 minutes. But then in December I damaged my ankle, which prevented me from running for over two months. So I wasn’t going to run in the race at all, thinking I wouldn’t be fit enough. But seeing the race village all set up on Saturday as I walked home from the shops, it felt like a shame not to be joining in. So I went to bed early, had a big bowl of porridge in the morning, and went down to the start line with the intention to just run without thinking about the time and to stop if I couldn’t do it.

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© Tom Harris 2015–2018.

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