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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 20 December, 2014

Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

CIA Leak Plea

Attorney Jesselyn Radack

Source: AP/Press Association Images

1. The secret keeper

Jesselyn Radack is the lawyer representing whistleblower Edward Snowden. This profile by Russell Brandom looks at how she went from being a whistleblower herself to taking on high-profile clients.

(The Verge, approx 21 minutes reading time, 4276 words)

 The secrecy of Radack’s work with Snowden requires two laptops beside each other: one standard Windows, and another running an encryption setup that she asks me not to describe in detail. There’s no Wi-Fi anywhere in the office; it’s too hard to secure. “I joke that I use drug dealer tactics,” she says. That means burner phones, paying in cash, meeting in person. “It’s a terrible way to work as an attorney, but you have to.”

Orange is the new Black photocall - London

Source: Anthony Devlin

2. The real Orange is the New Black

What happens when an ex-convict who spent time in a women’s prison sits down to watch Orange is the New Black? Adam Dawson finds out. Spoilers abound here, folks.

(Washington City Paper, approx 34 minutes reading time, 6854 words)

I got into a few screaming matches at first, but that was because you pretty much have to. It’s not nearly as violent as men’s prison, but criminals are criminals, you know? They always look for weaknesses to exploit. Always. So you have to roll the dice and make it clear to whoever is testing you that it won’t be easy. I mean, I was skinny and blonde, too, but I had six years of heroin addiction to sort of season me up. I looked pretty f**ked up. And after a while, word got around that I had committed armed robbery, and that helped.

Folio Prize for fiction - London

George Saunders

Source: Ian West

3. Grammar and nuns

Author George Saunders is interviewed about his sense of humour and comedic style. It turns out the nuns at his South Chicago school had a lot to do with it.

(New Yorker, approx 16 minutes reading time, 3243 words)

My family was such a big influence on me. There was a real respect for language. It was understood as a source of power. Everyone was funny in a different flavor. You could make anything right—diffuse any tension, explain any mistake—with a joke. A joke or a funny voice was a way of saying: All is well. We’ll live. We still love you.

Soccer - Luis Suarez File Photo

Source: Nick Potts

4. Suarez story

When Luis Suarez bit a player during a World Cup game, it was the latest bit of bizarre acting out he did on the pitch. As people struggle to understand his actions, Dónal Óg Cusack looks at how Suarez’s tough life may have contributed to his behaviour.

(The Irish Examiner, approx 29 minutes reading time, 5949 words)

Laugh? Far from it. Time after time Luis Suarez’s world got ripped apart and football put him back together. My favourite is the one I read about Suarez growing up in Uruguay in a culture where winning through knavery and roguery and a little deceit and foulness is a little bit sweeter. They call it Picardía. We call it being a cute hoor. There’s a thin line between being celebrated as a cute hoor and being convicted as something else. You learn that too late.

Sochi Olympics Freestyle Skiing Women

Source: Charlie Riedel

5. Danger, danger

Extreme sports have an allure that pulls people in despite the many dangerous risks involved. Eva Holland speaks to those for whom extreme is the only way.

(SBNation, approx 26 minutes reading time, 5244 words)

If “doing what I loved” cost me the use of my legs and my arms, or the full use of my brain, would I say it was worth it? Could I measure the sport’s rewards and stack them against the risks, and if I did, what would that balance sheet look like? What had the sport given me, and how much was I willing to pay in return?

 


6. A marked man

Mohammed Gulab saved the life of a US Navy Seal, and his story was told in the blockbuster Lone Survivor. But now, Gulab tells Sami Yousafzai and Mike Spies that he has been betrayed by the man he saved, and is in worse danger than ever.

(Vocativ, approx 20 minutes reading time, 4157 words)

The events that brought these two men together occurred nearly a decade ago. In June 2005, Gulab stumbled upon a stranger at a waterfall near his home in the mountains of Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan. The man—Luttrell—was the only survivor of a four-man recon team that Taliban fighters had ambushed. He’d been shot twice and was bleeding profusely, his back was broken and he had shrapnel wounds in both of his legs.

…AND ONE FROM THE ARCHIVES…

American Apparel-CEO

Source: AP/Press Association Images

In 2004, Claudine Ko met American Apparel CEO Dov Charney (who was fired earlier this week). The resulting article showed that Charney is a sex-obsessed man who thinks he’s an idol – and whose employees think so too.

(Claudine Ko, approx 29 minutes reading time, 5959 words)

“It’s very different here,” says Yesenia Sandoval, 22, a seamstress. She came from Mexico five years ago, worked at another factory, then got a job here last fall. “This company is much better than the other one. I was receiving minimum wage [$6.75 per hour]. Here we earn $12 to $15. I don’t think any company is going to be better than this.”

Interested in longreads during the week? Look out for Catch-Up Wednesday every Wednesday evening.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by TheScore.ie >

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