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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

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. What’s it like being seven feet tall?
Tom Breihan on the air up where he is, and what happens to giants (The Classical).

When you’re this tall, it becomes a deeply entrenched part of who you are. You become separate, or at least you think of yourself that way. At loud parties, you need to find a stool if you want to hear anything anybody says; otherwise, you’re a disembodied head floating a foot above the crowd.

2. The girl who should be dead
Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik on the eight-year-old American girl who survived rabies, and the things we don’t know about it (Wired).

At the hospital, a nurse asked her to drink something, but she choked, unable to swallow the fluid. “She looked at me like ‘Grandma, please help,’” her grandmother, Shirlee Roby, recalls. “I could tell this was no damn flu.”

3. Tour Bus Confidential
David Peisner on the strange, mobile life of the long-haul bus drivers who bring rock bands to your town (Spin).

“Driving smoothly is really an art form,” he says. “I’ve ridden with a lot of pretty well-known drivers and was surprised at how shitty the ride was. Once, I was rolled out of my bunk and dislocated two ribs.”

4. Life under lockdown
Jamal Mahjoub on trying to write in the Gaza Strip (Guernica).

Up on the hotel terrace they are playing Vivian Beshara’s Arabic version of the title song from the film Titanic. Over the syrupy tune a series of cracks echo in the distance—sonic booms made by Israeli fighter jets flying overhead.

5. Snap goes the Crocodile
Marina Akhmedova spent four days in a drug den in provincial Russia. This piece has now been banned by the Russian govenment (Open Democracy).

‘It can paralyze you if you don’t get it in a vein,’ Sveta says, sitting down on a stool and showing me a yellow mark on her vest. ‘It burns fabric if you spill some.’

6. Should we eat squirrels?
Mike Sula describes how rural squirrels have long been a food source in the States – and now some are turning to their urban cousins (Chicago Reader).

I asked Knoblitt why Mellencamp cut off the heads when he was skinning them. Doesn’t anybody eat them? “It tastes like every nut in the forest. It’s full of flavor,” he affirmed, but lots of folks stopped eating them for fear of mad squirrel disease.


In November 2010 Zadie Smith wrote about how technology is changing the way we behave towards one another, for the New York Review of Books.

Maybe it will be like an intensified version of the Internet I already live in, where ads for dental services stalk me from pillar to post and I am continually urged to buy my own books. Or maybe the whole Internet will simply become like Facebook: falsely jolly, fake-friendly, self-promoting, slickly disingenuous.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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Michael Freeman

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