Noteworthy reads from the last week:
"The novel is and has always been the stretchiest and most global of literary genres, happily making space for conventions including diary entries, essays, letters, travelogues, sermons, drawings, natural histories, recipes, myths, songs, poems, and, more recently, emails, texts, hypertext, photographs and any other representational technique you can name."
"Bacteria, like us, are just trying to survive."
"The upshot is that love, if it’s to flourish, needs deception, that lies can be decent as well as destructive, and that appropriately deploying certain falsehoods is as important as avoiding them, not least when it comes to those you tell yourself."
"In the seventeenth century, Europeans who had not traveled overseas tasted coffee, hot chocolate, and tea for the very first time. For this brand new clientele, the brews of foreign beans and leaves carried within them the wonder and danger of far-away lands. They were classified at first not as food, but as drugs—pleasant-tasting, with recommended dosages prescribed by pharmacists and physicians, and dangerous when self-administered."
"Toilet roll dollies: their origin seems shrouded in mystery."
"The belief that public health measures are not intended for people like us is widely held by many people like me. Public health, we assume, is for people with less—less education, less- healthy habits, less access to quality health care, less time and money."