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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Joni Mitchell's mystery illness, public shaming, and RIP David Carr

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.  Meet Joni

Canada Songwriters Hall Of Fame Source: AP/Press Association Images

The legendary Joni Mitchell hardly needs an introduction. It’s incredible to look back at her career, but sad to read about the tough times she’s had in recent years.

(NY Mag, approx 21 mins reading time)

Now 71, Mitchell has been ill for eight years, which she describes as a “survival blur.” In fact, she’s been sick throughout her whole life — polio, scarlet fever, dengue, abscessed ovaries — and now suffers from the skin disorder Morgellons, a “weird, incurable disease that seems like it’s from outer space,” which many doctors find mysterious

2. On trial over Auschwitz

Europe Africa Week In Pictures Source: AP/Press Association Images

Meet Oscar Groning, who worked at Auschwitz, claimed he didn’t have anything to do with the horrors there, and is now on trial.

(New Yorker, approx 35 mins reading time)

A devoted philatelist, he got to know a fellow stamp collector who, it turned out, was a Holocaust denier. The collector gave him a pamphlet called “The Auschwitz Lie.” Gröning felt compelled to point out that the supposed “lies” were true; all the horrors that were said to have taken place at Auschwitz had indeed happened.

3. The soul legend who never existed

Vinyl sales soar past million mark Source: Johnny Green

Mingering Mike was said to be an incredible African soul musician, whose music was unearthed at a flea market. But did he really exist?

(The Guardian, approx 17 mins reading time)

Hadar pulled out a few discs to see what condition they were in. Which was when he discovered to his enormous surprise that they weren’t vinyl. They were black-painted cardboard, with fake labels and hand-drawn grooves.

4. Publicly shamed

Twitter stock Source: Nick Ansell

Jon Ronson meets Justine Sacco, who infamously sent a tweet that turned her into an instantly reviled person. But was she just misunderstood?

(NY Times, approx 25 mins reading time)

She chuckled to herself as she pressed send on this last one, then wandered around Heathrow’s international terminal for half an hour, sporadically checking her phone. No one replied, which didn’t surprise her. She had only 170 Twitter followers.

5. The austerity con

Greece Bailout Source: AP/Press Association Images

Simon Wren-Lewis looks at austerity, going deep into the pros and cons of such an approach.

(LRB, approx 25 mins reading time)

The financial crisis was leading consumers and firms to spend less and save more. That made sense for individuals, but the problem was that because everyone was doing it, the total amount of demand in the economy was falling. As demand fell, firms produced less, so they reduced their workforce. The unemployed had less to spend, leading to further falls in demand, and so on.

6. Dicing with death

Italy Migrant Death Source: AP/Press Association Images

What drives migrants to take perilous journeys across the Mediterranean sea, and what sort of lives do they lead? Five journalists take part in a Guardian in-depth investigation.

(The Guardian, approx 27 mins reading time)

“I was under the boat when my hand caught a lifebuoy that I clung to as the last resort,” Kariem said of the shipwreck off Libya this summer. “I saw bodies floating on the sea. Some were wearing lifejackets. One was a child. But I could not see where my friend Ayman was.”


Source: Mediabistro/YouTube

New York Times writer David Carr died suddenly earlier this week. He left behind him searingly honest articles like this.

(New York Times, approx 45 mins reading time)

On my 21st birthday, a dealer who dropped his money on Dom Pérignon at the fancy restaurant where I worked palmed me a cigarette tin and told me to open it in the bathroom. I did the powder inside and it was a Helen Keller hand-under-the-water moment. Lordy, I can finally see! My endorphins made a Proustian leap at this new opportunity, hugging it and feeling all its splendid corners.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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

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