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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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Sitdown Sunday: How Serena Williams met her love match

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

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 Wellness Epidemic

shutterstock_542716249 Source: Shutterstock/Foxys Forest Manufacture

An insightful piece that looks at how ‘wellness’ itself became an epidemic, and how the quest for health can be, well, unhealthy.

(The Cut, approx 27 mins reading time)

Wellness is a very broad idea, which is no small part of its marketing appeal. On the most basic level, it’s about making a conscious effort to attain health in both body and mind, to strive for unity and balance. And it’s not a new idea either. Homeopathy, which uses natural substances to promote the body’s ability to self-heal, was popularized in Germany in the late-18th century, and 50 years later, the YMCA set its mission as caring for the body, mind, and spirit.

2. How Jeremy Corbyn changed the rules

They thought he was on the way out, but Jeremy Corbyn proved them wrong. Here’s Gary Young on how the Labour leader was a ‘shock to the system’ of British politics.

(The Guardian, approx 30 mins reading time)

As the results came in overnight, with huge swings to Labour in seats that the Conservatives had targeted, and gains in places where Labour was not supposed to be competitive, each new upset seemed to rewrite the rules by which we understood electoral politics operated. By dawn, the whole rulebook had been shredded. Throughout the night, panels of pundits who had told us with great confidence that this could never happen were telling us with equal certainty what would happen next.

3. Love Match

These incredible photos of Serena Williams have been doing the rounds – and here’s the interview to match them.

(Vanity Fair, approx 20 mins reading time)

Alexis knew then he wanted to marry her, not simply out of happiness or compatibility. She was helping him become the best version of himself because of her own work ethic and focus, with millions watching and the expectation of the public that she should win every time, what Serena herself described as carrying “three pyramids” on her shoulder. He thought he worked hard—it is part of the romance of high tech that everyone works 18 hours a day and then curls up under the desk for a few hours’ sleep with their laptop as teddy bear and pacifier—but he realized it was nothing compared with Serena.

4. The rape accusation

Megan Rondini was a college student when she told police she had been sexually assaulted. But the way her case was treated upset her so much that she took her own life. (The details in this report may be upsetting to some.)

(Buzzfeed, approx 26 mins reading time)

Megan’s case was complex. Then again, most sexual assault allegations are. There are rarely witnesses, and trauma survivors often have fragmented and incomplete memories, which can cause law enforcement without specialized training to be skeptical of their accounts — especially when alcohol is involved. Most rape cases don’t make it to trial, both nationwide and in Tuscaloosa, according to data provided by law enforcement.

5. San Francisco is burning

shutterstock_569622352 File photo. Source: Shutterstock/Gorb Andrii

There have been a number of fires in the Mission District of San Francisco recently – and Jon Ronson goes there to try and figure out if they were intentional, and set by landlords to drive out low-income tenants.

(GQ, approx 23 mins reading time)

One of the dead was Mauricio Orellana, a 40-year-old Salvadoran who worked at a moving company. There’s a theory why Orellana didn’t know flames were licking at his door. It’s that he was wearing his new headphones. That’s the last thing his friends remember about him—how happy he was to have saved up for them. Maybe that’s why he was oblivious to the screaming and the running, his neighbors throwing themselves and their dogs out the windows. The fire alarms might have been loud enough for him to hear over his music, but they weren’t working.

6. Hunger

Roxane Gay writes about her weight, fatness, bodies, and other people’s judgement, in her new memoir.

(Elle, approx 21 mins reading time)

Once up there, she sits on a wooden chair and hears it crack. For the remainder of the evening, she hovers in a kind of squat, terrified she’ll break the chair in front of an audience. Afterward, back at her hotel, “I sobbed because the world cannot accommodate a body like mine and because I hate being confronted by my limitations and because I felt so utterly alone.”

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

Rachel Cusk writes in 2011 about separating from her husband, and the impact it has on her family.

(Granta, approx 41 mins reading time)

I remember, when my own children were born, when I first held them and fed them and talked to them, feeling a great awareness of this new, foreign aspect of myself that was in me and yet did not seem to be of me. It was as though I had suddenly acquired the ability to speak Russian: what I could do – this women’s work – had so much form of its own, yet I didn’t know where my knowledge of it had come from. In some ways I wanted to claim the knowledge as mine, as innate, but to do that seemed to involve a strange kind of dishonesty, a pretending. And yet, how could I pretend to be what I already was?

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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