Tuesday, 14 January 2014

News: Hellebore, Mein Kampf, And A Hundred Words For Snow

A New Zealand toxicologist thinks Alexander the Great may have died from drinking wine spiked with a toxic herb, most likely "Veratrum album, a poisonous plant from the lily family also known as white or false hellebore."

Won't be the last time somebody comes up with a theory about how The Great Alex died. And the last time I encountered the word was in this takedown of an idea for an urban-fantasy novel. Strange, how different stuff we read eventually link up.



Dani Shapiro 'apologises' to a reader for not writing what said reader wanted.

"We choose a view. We pick a story to tell. We shift through the ever-changing sands of memory, and in so doing create something hopefully beautiful, by which I mean universal. We try to tell the truth – by which I do not mean the facts. Listen to me closely, because here is where I apparently have enflamed you so: it is not the job of the memoirist to present you with a dossier."



Instead of moaning about how US and/or the West has fallen behind the rest of the world, folks like Thomas Friedman and Niall Ferguson should just accept the dawn of a multipolar world and figure out how t engage it, says an author:

The relative economic decline of the United States is not about gridlock in Washington, stupidity or venality on Wall Street, the lack of can-do spirit among the young, or even the death of “the Greatest Generation.” It is about the rest of the world finally getting its act together. That’s not to say that America is doing everything right, of course; much of the rest of this book is about what the country could do better to engage with a new world of opportunity. But it is important to recognize that policies to “regain US dominance” are destined to fail—and are likely to be counterproductive.

From an excerpt of The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest Is Good for the West by Charles Kenny, of course.



"...the sky is falling because a thing has changed books are dead now for sure you guys...." Um, no, Peter Damien says. Also, why the development of books lies with the reading public, not book critics: "It is their rampant enthusiasm for books -- their opinions and their time and effort sifting through the books and finding plenty for everybody in the community to read -- which is sustaining and expanding the book world, which is making it a crowded and noisy and excited tavern and not [a] lonely, pretentious beach...."


OK, what else?

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