We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

JMR_Photography via Flickr

Sitdown Sunday 7 deadly reads

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

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 boy who killed his parents
Scott Anderson tells the story of Greg Ousley, who shot both his parents dead at age 14, and his struggle to make sense of his actions (New York Times).

His face crumpled. Over the many hours I had spent with him, he rarely showed emotion, and the abruptness with which this came on seemed to startle and embarrass him. He took a minute to compose himself, then said: “I remember lying there thinking: Man, this is just never going to change. Mom and Dad, they are never, ever gonna listen to me.”

2. Anthrax has hit Glasgow
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee on the desperate hunt that began after anthrax was discovered among heroin users in Glasgow (Wired).

His first reaction was one of wishful thinking, the opposite of paranoia. “Well, it could be just these few cases, you know,” Ramsay remarked to John Hood, a microbiologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. “I don’t think so,” Hood responded. “I think this is going to roll on.”

3. The strongest man in the world
Burkhard Bilger asks how much Brian Shaw’s body can take on the extreme strongman circuit (New Yorker).

They used to pile on his back during recess, his mother told me—not because they didn’t like him but because they wanted to see how many of them he could carry. “I just think Brian has been blessed,” she said. “He has been blessed with size.”

4. What does it take to be vice-president?
Jason Zengerle goes through the vetting process which is carried out on prospective vice-presidential candidates… and doesn’t like it (GQ).

“You just have to know going in,” former Indiana senator Evan Bayh told me, “that it’s totally invasive. It’s like having a colonoscopy, except they use the Hubble telescope on you.”

5. Greetings from Williston, North Dakota
Stephen Rodrick goes to the ‘new Wild West’ oil boomtown, where thousands of young men are flooding in looking for work (Men’s Journal).

I tiptoe through the piss on the bathroom floor and into the shower I share with five truckers and a possible drifter. I feel the fungus and filth eating through my toes. Is cholera still a thing? I splash on a stranger’s Axe body wash, a liberty that is strictly against house rules.

6. The mysterious disappearance of Peter Winston
Sarah Weinman on how a young chess prodigy simply vanished in New York (New York Observer).

As the meal went on, they grew increasingly worried by Peter’s demeanor. He was disheveled, his long curly hair even more unruly than usual. He was muttering something about going to Texas to see Walter Korn, author of the chess bible Modern Chess Openings, and said Korn “was God.”


On Friday, 12 people were killed and dozens more injured by a gunman at a Colorado cinema. In April 2009, Andrew Gumbel wrote for the Guardian about what really happened at the Columbine school shootings – and what the media got wrong.

If the killers hated Christians, they were distinctly uneven in how they applied that hatred. Likewise, if they hated jocks, they didn’t make any special effort to target them. At one point they joked about killing anyone in a white hat; one boy cowering beneath a desk quickly pulled a white cap off his head, and lived.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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