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A scene from Sopranos njean666 via YouTube
up to speed

Catch-up Wednesday: 3 midweek longreads

Get up to speed with the latest news, opinions and insights with our hand-picked in-depth reads.

IT’S MIDWAY THROUGH the week and you want to get up to speed on the latest news topics and catch up on opinions and insights.

We’re here to help you do just that, with our three midweek longreads:

1. Spaceman to… accountant

Abdulahad Momand was Afghanistan’s first spaceman. But three years after he returned to earth, eh was forced to flee the country. Jenny Norton tells his story.

(BBC, approx 5 minutes reading time, 1096 words)

For 24 hours, while mission control frantically reprogrammed the on-board systems in preparation for another landing attempt, Ahad and Lyakhov were orbiting the Earth alone in their tiny landing capsule. Their predicament made headlines around the world – they had no food, no water, no toilet and only enough oxygen to last two days.

2. The finale

We read TV shows like novels now, Rachel Syme argues – and so endings matter. What does that mean for new shows like True Detective, and their fans, who pore over every aspect of each episode?

(New Yorker, approx 7 minutes reading time, 1474 words)

Many of the best finales of television came as part of the first wave of risky cable—“Deadwood,” “The Wire,” “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under.” Without daily Web commentary and other distractions to interrupt the flow of viewers’ week-to-week emotional investment, these shows were allowed a more organic, less anxious denouement, building elegant, tonally correct final statements of purpose.

3. No make-up selfies

Did you take part in the #nomakeupselfie trend? Sinéad Fox asks if people are as barefaced when it comes to real lives too.

(, approx 4 minutes reading time, 801 words)

There seem to be things that exist only outside social media or, as I like to call it, in the real world; things like messy kitchens (and sitting rooms, and bedrooms and playrooms), snotty nosed kids, beige freezer dinners, dirty streets, ghost estates, negative emotions, unattractive people and – until this week – barefaced ladies.

Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>

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