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sitdown sunday

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.

1. Life and loss in Mongolia

Ariel Levy flew to Mongolia while five months pregnant, feeling elated to be taking her last trip abroad before her child’s birth. Her description of what happened while there is utterly devastating.

(New Yorker – approx 19 minutes reading time, 3908 words)

I got pregnant quickly, to my surprise and delight, shortly before my thirty-eighth birthday. It felt like making it onto a plane the moment before the gate closes—you can’t help but thrill. After only two months, I could hear the heartbeat of the creature inside me at the doctor’s office. It seemed like magic: a little eye of newt in my cauldron and suddenly I was a witch with the power to brew life into being.

2. The other side of losing weight

Alexandria Symonds meets people who lost a huge amount of weight, but discovered that their bodies changed in ways they never expected. From loose skin to stretch marks, they explore the impact of these rarely-talked about results of major weight loss.

(NY Mag – approx 9 minutes reading time, 1886 words)

For Kozerski and many like her, the experience of significant weight loss is much more psychologically complex than the multi-billion-dollar diet industry, with its beaming “after” photos and promises of a new life, acknowledges. After all that work, it can be a disappointing blow to discover that bodies that have lost 50-plus pounds simply don’t look like bodies that have maintained a steady weight since reaching adulthood.

image3. Curious about George

Tom Junod writes a gushing profile on actor George Clooney, who comes across as the most perfect man who ever lived. “You must love him,” he says of Clooney, and by the end you’re wondering if you really do.

(Esquire, 30 minutes reading time, 6099 words)

What distinguishes Clooney from other famous people is that he reliably acts as you wish other famous people would act and does what you wish other famous people would do: often the right thing. His house is of a piece with its owner. It might be described as a man-cave writ large. It is slightly undomesticated. You have to climb to get there, up a switchbacked driveway sentried by security cameras and crowded with greenery that he refuses to cut.

4. Women and sports

Amy K Nelson looks at the topic of women and sports journalism, speaking to females working in an industry known for its outbursts of sexism.

(The Hairpin – approx 7 minutes reading time, 1441 words)

Molly Solomon made history when she was named executive producer (and SVP production/ operations) for the Golf Channel; she became the first woman to hold that title for a national sports channel. That was in 2012. Those corner offices are still mostly occupied by men, most of them white, most of them middle-aged. There are many female executives in the sports world, and especially on the business side—but not nearly as many who make decisions about front-facing talent and staffing.

imageA November 16, 1969 photo, showing the remains of the My Lai hamlets in South Vietnam. Pic: AP

5. My Lai massacre

Valerie Wieskamp writes about an iconic photograph taken at My Lai during the Vietnam war, just prior to the massacre of the village’s inhabitants. She takes apart the accepted version of what the photo represents, shedding light on the chilling truth.

(BagNews – approx 7 minutes reading time, 1512 words)

While the My Lai Massacre is widely recognized as a military atrocity and an act of mass murder committed on civilians and non-combatants, true appreciation of the event as an act of mass rape and sexual abuse has never clearly materialized in the American consciousness, in spite of public data and testimony shortly after the massacre happened. Media presentation of the photograph of the Black Blouse Girl mirrors this amnesia.

6. Refugee journey

Luke Mogelson follows the journey taken by thousands of refugees every year to Christmas Island in Australia. The trip across the sea is fraught with danger, and more than 1000 people have already died attempting it.

(New York Times – approx 52 minutes reading time, 10,425 words)

Twice, en route to the boat that would bring them to Australia, they were intercepted, detained and paid bribes for their release. Another time, the boat foundered shortly after starting out. All the same, they were confident this trip would be different. Like everyone else’s in the truck, theirs was a desperate kind of faith. “Tonight we will succeed,” the husband assured me. They were determined that the child be born “there.”


imagePic: Shutterstock

In 2007, Jennifer Gonnerman wrote about a facility where children with autism and intellectual difficulties were ‘zapped’ with electric shocks in an attempt to regulate their behaviour. She spoke to children who spent time at the facility and the angry parents concerned about their kids.

(Mother Jones – approx minutes reading time, words)

Every time he woke from this dream, it took him a few moments to remember that he was in his own bed, that there weren’t electrodes locked to his skin, that he wasn’t about to be shocked. It was no mystery where this recurring nightmare came from—not A Clockwork Orange or 1984, but the years he spent confined in America’s most controversial “behavior modification” facility.

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 >

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