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Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

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

Image: djpimley via Flickr

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. How I escaped from Scientology’s militant wing
Astra Woodcraft on how she was indoctrinated into Sea Org as a child – and how she finally broke out (Daily Beast).

I feared the outside world. I had been told that kids in public school are all on psychiatric drugs. And I knew that leaving the church would mean separating, or “disconnecting,” from my family; it would mean I was a flawed, dishonorable person.

2. Inside a nursing home
Martin Bayne describes the reality of his life in an assisted-living facility (Washington Post).

On the eighth Christmas I spent as an assisted living resident, I shared my table and a festive lunch of canapes and beef stroganoff with a 96-year-old widow. Our conversation, inevitably, drifted to those former residents who wouldn’t be joining us for the meal — or any meal, for that matter.

3. When Reddit meets real life
Matthew Shaer on what happens when hundreds of people – used to interacting online – meet in the park (New York).

She slapped both hands to her crotch, like a football player post-touchdown, and emitted a sound that resembled the death moans of a mortally wounded sea lion. Her nostrils flared. “Blllllllooooooooogh,” she said.  The woman was a real-life troll—a Redditor who had traveled here with the sole purpose of flaming the rest of us.

4. Wounds and scars
Eli Cane on a 68-year-old US man who went to hospital for heart surgery last year – and woke up with the letters KKK carved into his stomach (Guernica).

The father of the auto-accident victim told me that no attempt had been made to clean the wounds, and he spent the better part of the night removing gravel and dirt from his son’s neck, which were concealed underneath bandages hospital workers had hastily placed there.

5. The drone zone
Mark Mazzetti visits the US facility where operators are taught to fly the drones that kill militants – and civilians – in Pakistan (New York Times).

“Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?” a reporter asked. One Air Force officer responded that this was only a training mission, and then the group was quickly hustled out of the room.

6. Catch me if you can
Dean King on the largest manhunt in Virginia state history: the search for an autistic, non-verbal, eight-year-old boy who didn’t know he was missing (Outside).

It was human sounding: a high, guttural noise—bepp, bepp—coming from the woods. They looked at each other and called out Robert’s nickname again. They heard the same noise, but fainter. “Hey, Bud, let’s go see Daddy,” they called.


In November 2010, David Carr wrote for the New York Times about what it was like spending a week on an uninhabited island.

On one of my walks through the scrub that crawled across most of the island, I locked eyes with one of the tiny lizards that were everywhere. We had a big old stare-down contest. He won, but I gave it my all.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by >


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