Book of the day
Ten gold medals don’t come easy… First comes the graft. Thousands of hours on the pedals, forever turning left, following that black line round, pushing your body harder than it is designed to go. Then comes the sacrifice. All familiar pleasures stripped away in search of perfection. Then the pain. Muscles burning, stomach churning, an ache in the bones. To pull all of this together to achieve an Olympic gold is impressive; to be part of a couple doing this in the same sport is rare; to do it ten times between you is unprecedented.
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, Britain’s most successful female and male Olympians, invite us into their world, on to the boards of the velodrome and down the back straight of British pro cycling to give us the inside track on what it takes to become a champion.
Facts of the day
1848 US President James K Polk set off the Gold Rush by announcing the discovery of gold in California.
In telephone directories in Iceland, everyone is listed by their first name.
The first Christmas was celebrated on 25 December AD 336 in Rome.
On average, people who read books regularly are more satisfied with life, happier and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile. In the UK, 76% of adults say that reading improves their life and the same number says it helps to make them feel good.
1545 Janus Dousa (The Netherlands)
1803 Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev (Russia)
1820 Afanasy Fet (Russia)
1830 Christina Rossetti (UK)
1867 Antti Aarne (Finland)
1869 Ellis Parker Butler (USA)
1896 Juliette Baillot [Lady Huxley] (Switzerland)
1914 Hans Hellmut Kirst (Germany)
1923 Vladimir Tendryakov (Russia)
1932 Fazu Aliyeva (Russia)
1934 Joan Didion (USA)
1935 Calvin Trillin (USA)
1936 James Lee Burke (USA)
1940 Peter Pohl (Sweden)
Jokes of the day
Bestselling books about elephants from around the world:
- The French book – The Sex Life of the Elephant or 1000 Ways to Cook Elephant
- The English book – Elephants I Have Shot on Safari
- The Welsh book – The Elephant and its Influence on Welsh Language and Culture
- The American book – How to Make Bigger and Better Elephants
- The Japanese book – How to Make Smaller and Cheaper Elephants
- The Greek book – How to Sell Elephants for a Lot of Money
- The Finnish book – What Do Elephants Think about Finnish People?
- The German book – A Short Introduction to Elephants, Volumes 1-6
- The Icelandic book – Defrosting an Elephant
- The Swiss book: The Country Through Which Hannibal Went with His Elephants
- The Canadian book – Elephants: A Federal or State Issue?
- The Swedish book – How to Reduce Your Taxes with an Elephant
Cartoons: Ron Morgan and Werner Wejp-Olsen, Reading Ages, CartoonStock
Quote of the day
Mark Twain: ‘Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.’