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Friday 31 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
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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. The story of the one-eyed matador

Karen Russell on Juan Jose Padilla’s return to the ring after suffering a terrible goring. (GQ)

In his hospital room, he begins to rehearse bullfighting moves with the sheets. Less than two weeks after the accident, he gives a press conference in a wheelchair with his face uncovered. ”I have no rancour toward this bull or toward my profession,” he slurs into the mike. He makes the following pledge: “I will return to dress as a torero.”

2. The spy in Beirut

Tom Carver on the British double agent Kim Philby’s life in Beirut, soaked in drink and keeping a pet fox. (LRB)

MI6 were keeping the flat on rue Kantari under constant surveillance. Perhaps someone remarkably incompetent was monitoring his movements; perhaps something else was going on. In any case, it seems that no one tailed Philby when he appeared on the street around four in the afternoon. A torrential rainstorm had just begun.

3. My baby and the beauty pageant

Tracie Egan Morrissey recounts the time she entered her toddler daughter in a pageant, and what she became. (Jezebel)

I seriously considered getting a baby wig, but my daughter was born with a full head of hair and received two professional haircuts before her first birthday. Her natural hair would be so impressive for her age division that it would give her an edge, I just knew it.

4. An interview with the Washington sniper

Josh White speaks to Lee Boyd Malvo, half of the duo who killed ten people over three weeks in 2002. (Washington Post)

Mostly he remembers Ted Franklin’s eyes — the devastation, the shock, the sadness. “They are penetrating,” Malvo said in a rare media interview from prison. “It is the worst sort of pain I have ever seen in my life. His eyes. . . . Words do not possess the depth in which to fully convey that emotion.

5. The making of K-pop

John Seabrook on the Korean cultural phenomenon that brought us Gangnam Style, and what goes on behind it. (New Yorker)

“You think you love them, but then you see Tiffany point directly at you and wink, and everything else that exists in the world just disappears,” Toth wrote on Soshified, a Girls’ fan site. “You think you love them, but then you see Sooyoung look you dead in the eye”

6. Preparing for a presidential debate

Robert Draper on how a single roll of the eyes or botched response can change the course of a debate – and what candidates do to avoid them. (GQ)

“For all of their ego and confidence, it’s a huge amount of pressure,” one Republican veteran of the debate trade told me. With a forlorn chuckle, he added, “The only thing that’s worse is to be someone like me who spends months and months working with these guys—and then they go onstage, and you’re absolutely helpless.”


In 2007, successful couple Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake took their own lives within a week of each other. Nancy Jo Sales wrote about it for Vanity Fair in January 2008.

“I am going to join the lovely Theresa,” Blake, 35, had written on the back of a business card, which he left on the beach, along with his clothes. Police helicopters searched for him for days on the chance he might still be alive.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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

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