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Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

Michael Freeman

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. Can you die from a nightmare?

Doree Shafrir on the night terrors that plague her – a phenomenon suffered by many, but about which little is known (Buzzfeed).

I am now completely panicked, and I jump back onto my bed and lean over the half-wall that my bed is up against, overlooking the hallway. There, I see what’s causing all the problems, and I push it downward and off the wall with all my might. It shatters loudly, glass flying everywhere.

2. The house that Hova built

Zadie Smith on the phenomenon – and now, the business empire – that is Jay-Z (New York Times).

No one stares. The self-proclaimed “greatest rapper alive” is treated like a piece of the furniture. Ah, but there’s always one: a preppy white guy discreetly operating his iPhone’s reverse-camera function. It’s an old hustle; it makes Jay chuckle: “They think they’re the first one who’s ever come up with that concept.”

3. The making of a Syrian rebel

Rania Abouzied and Jabal al-Zawya tell the story of one man’s transformation from civilian to callous rebel leader (Time).

As Barri speaks, one of his phones beeps. Like a few others in his possession, the device belongs to one of his prisoners. It has received a text message from the captive’s father, wishing him a happy ‘Id al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

4. The best night $500,000 can buy

Devin Friedman goes behind the scenes to find the secret of the Marquee, the superest of Vegas superclubs (GQ).

A dance floor at its focal point, layers of bottle-service tables perched around it, and a forty-foot LED screen above the DJ stage. The sound system cost $1.5 million and was built to rock a space as big as Madison Square Garden. Facing the speaker arrays was like walking into a strong headwind.

5. Down and out in a repurposed troop carrier

Jason Albert tried to write a ‘stunt memoir’ about working in an amusement park. It didn’t turn out quite as he hoped. (The Morning News)

“Huh,” Dan said. He crossed his arms. “If you want to be a duck driver, I’ll hire you. I’m just worried what you’re going to write, that you’ll make fun of the Dells. These attractions pay people’s mortgages.”

“No way,” I said. “That’s not what my book is about.”

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6. 31 shocks later

Jennifer Gonnerman on a controversial New York facility where problem behaviours are treated with punishment (NYMag).

It’s easy to tell which students are hooked up to the shock device: They’re the ones with backpacks. The device stays hidden inside, with wires extending from the backpack, running beneath their clothes, and attaching to electrodes strapped to their arms and legs. Staffers carry remote-control activators.


In November 1957, Truman Capote profiled Marlon Brando for the New Yorker.

“And, hey, honey,” he told the maid, “bring us some ice.” Then, looking after the girl as she scurried off, he cocked his hands on his hips and, grinning, declared, “They kill me. They really kill me. The kids, too. Don’t you think they’re wonderful, don’t you love them—Japanese kids?

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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Michael Freeman

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