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Sitdown Sunday: Meet Adriene, the queen of pandemic yoga

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: Youtube

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. Assassination of a brave journalist

Aliyas Dayee was a journalist who worked in Afghanistan, covering the violence between the military and the Taliban. This piece looks not just at his assassination, but his life and why he risked his life to report.

(BBC, approx 10 mins reading time)

“Everybody knew his voice,” said Tassal. “A lot of places in Helmand there are no TVs, only radio. I used to tell him, Dayee you are like bread, you are in every home.” Dayee was also an indispensable resource for many of the international reporters and researchers who travelled in and out of the province as the news came and went.

2. Locked in

Jake Haendel had locked-in syndrome – here, he writes about what that experience was like. 

(The Guardian, approx 20 mins reading time)

Jake was fighting for his life. He was scared, confused, sometimes hallucinating. Damage to the myelin, the protective sheaths surrounding nerve cells in the brain, progressed until he had no motor control, and could neither speak nor direct his eye movements. For the most part, he understood what was happening, but could not communicate. He could hear comments from nurses and doctors who believed him to be irreversibly brain damaged. Jake recalls an ER doctor observing him like a specimen to be dissected. “Oh, geez, this guy’s so contracted,” the doctor said, hovering inches above Jake’s face. “It put me into more pain just hearing him talk about me like that,” Jake told me. “Like I wasn’t there.”

3. The queen of pandemic yoga

If you’ve ever watched a Yoga With Adriene video, you’ll know why she has millions of fans across the world. Here’s more on why.

(The New York Times, approx 13 mins reading time)

Mishler doesn’t fit neatly into either the booming category of YouTube influencers, who are mostly young and annoying, nor the booming category of wellness influencers, who are also mostly young and annoying. She is 36 and not annoying. Most of her content is free and requires nothing more than a mat. Unlike some of her mainstream YouTube influencer peers, she has not mocked suicide victims or appeared in blackface or consumed a Tide pod or faked a kidnapping for attention. Her Wikipedia page does not have a “Controversies” section in it. She has recused herself from the kind of behavior — inflammatory, mercenary, exploitative, self-exploitative — that social media platforms are designed to generate.

4. Fertility and me

Lena Dunham writes about having a hysterectomy, and how she feels about parenthood. 

(Harpers, approx 22 mins reading time)

As an interim measure, I adopted hairless cats. Two of them. I gave them the kind of names I’d give a daughter, classic with a twist: Irma and Gia Marie. Their suedelike texture and general clinginess could pass, in the dark, for the feeling of a newborn’s warmth. I was weeks out of a nearly six-year relationship, highly public and fraught with adult tensions, and I’d hurled myself into a renewed romance with the first guy I had ever really kissed, one that seemed miraculous in its seclusion and sweetness. My new boyfriend called the cats the little wontons, which I took as a sign that he would make a good father.

5. How we made Lives of Others

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on writing and directing the fantastic Oscar-winning German film about the Stasi.

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(The Guardian, approx 5 mins reading time)

In 2002, my wife and I found out we were going to have a child, which meant I needed to make some money quickly. I thought The Lives of Others could be produced for a relatively small budget, so I decided to write the script. I didn’t think it would take years to get it made, but it did. One broadcaster told me they would finance The Lives of Others if I turned it into a comedy. I wasn’t open to doing that.

6. What makes a relationship successful?

Mark Manson wanted to know (the week before he got married), so he asked. Here’s what people told him.

(Pocket, approx 39 mins reading time)

“Don’t ever be with someone because someone else pressured you to. I got married the first time because I was raised Catholic and that’s what you were supposed to do. Wrong. I got married the second time because I was miserable and lonely and thought having a loving wife would fix everything for me. Also wrong. Took me three tries to figure out what should have been obvious from the beginning, the only reason you should ever be with the person you’re with is because you simply love being around them. It really is that simple.”

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

This 2015 article is about the fight against Ebola. 

(The New Yorker, approx 43 mins reading time)

Fahnbulleh and her husband believed that they were going to a hospital. Instead, several hours later, the ambulance turned onto a narrow lane that ran past low-slung shops and shanties. Fahnbulleh realized that they were in West Point, Monrovia’s largest slum. A police officer opened a metal gate, and the ambulance stopped inside a compound enclosed by tall walls. In the middle of the compound stood a schoolhouse. The driver helped Fahnbulleh and Abraham through a door, down a hall, and into a classroom. A smeared chalkboard hung on one of the walls, which were painted dark blue. Dim light filtered through a latticed window. On the concrete floor, ailing people were lying on soiled mattresses. When Fahnbulleh lay down, she saw that the two men beside her were dead.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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