Everyone knows someone who’s run the marathon. Today’s big-city races—in places like Boston, New York, Berlin, and London—draw Olympic hopefuls competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars and hordes of weekend warriors raising money for their favorite charities or just hoping to check off “complete a marathon” on their bucket lists. Marathoning has birthed an industry of energy supplements and performance gear, training manuals and glossy magazines, corporate sponsorships and fitness expos. And nearly half of marathon entrants are women.
It’s an incredible change from 50 years ago. The very few marathons that did exist – even Boston’s, the oldest continuously run marathon in the world – attracted less than one thousand runners. The entrants were all amateurs; finishers at Boston were rewarded with a bowl of Dinty Moore beef stew. Oh, and the runners were all male. Women were banned from running marathons.
Matt Ridley shares America’s eroding faith in institutions, but he doesn’t much believe in supervillains. He is a true libertarian, to an extreme you rarely see in American public discourse. He doesn’t believe in God, doesn’t have much use for government and argues in his new book, “The Evolution of Everything,” that people generally place far too much stock in the notion that individuals can shape the course of world events — or perhaps even their own lives.
A successful novel is also a sort of swindle (making a fiction sound convincing, misleading the reader about where things are going), although with the difference that a good one should provoke a desire to be duped by the same person again. The Good Liar makes you want to experience Nicholas Searle’s next trick.
A guided visit to the library revealed some of the richness of its erotic (or pornographic, depending on who was doing the classification) material. The works are hidden treasures, many of them awaiting discovery. Not even the curators and librarians know everything that is there.
“There were many materials in the library’s special collections that I had never seen before,” Mr. Baumann said. “The range and depth of our collections never ceases to astonish me.”
These days there is more pressure on editors to acquire best-sellers, and they are much more involved in marketing a book. And that, he says, leaves precious little time for actual editing.