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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# sitdown sunday
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. 50 Shades of Grey 

50 shades YouTube YouTube

One of the most anticipated – for better or worse – films due out this year is 50 Shades of Grey. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson divulges what the whole experience making it was like… and whether she butted heads with author EL James.

(Vanity Fair, approx 31 mins reading time, 6303 words)

James, however, had her own ideas not only for the script, which she guarded fiercely, but also for the dialogue, the costumes—and the sex. Fifty Shades, you see, is more than three novels now—it’s a lifestyle. The merchandising that James has done off the books is extensive, to say the least.

2. Are you addicted to technology?

shutterstock_229943992 Shutterstock / Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley Shutterstock / Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley / Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley

We have countless websites and apps at our behest, but are they in fact making us less efficient? That’s what Daniel J Levitin – a neuroscientist, no less – believes.

(The Guardian, approx 19 mins reading time, 3885 words)

Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.

3. A movie too far?

Games E3 Oculus Jae C. Hong File pic: Oculus Rift Jae C. Hong

A controversial new film at Sundance sees the viewer watch the film through virtual reality Oculus rift headsets. Called Party, it’s about a frat party where a young woman is raped. Two Buzzfeed writers watched the film – which is shown from both the male and female perspective – and gave their thoughts. (Trigger warning for rape)

(Buzzfeed, approx 13 mins reading time, 2679 words)

 One thing I noted in particular, and this is not a technical element but ends up being part of the identification, is how young the main pair of actors looked. She is so disoriented and drunk when you see her through Brian’s eyes, and it made me quite upset, which circles back to how intimate the feelings can be with this technology.

4. A tragic email from a stranger

shutterstock_158080031 Shutterstock / NicoElNino Shutterstock / NicoElNino / NicoElNino

Dennis Williams, an American expat in Japan, emailed a handful of writers a suicide note. What could they do? This article examines what happened next. (This story may be distressing for some readers, so we would advise caution.)

(Washington Post, approx 22 mins reading time, 4596 words)

“Oh, my God,” I said, sitting up sharply. The sudden motion stirred my husband. When I explained what I was reading, he didn’t even roll over, instead making a noise somewhere between sleepy disinterest and annoyance. It was a joke, he said, ignore it. My husband is a crime reporter, and we were both registering two of the possible reactions to such an e-mail: horror and skepticism.

5. What’s in a name? 

shutterstock_115334476 Shutterstock / Natasha Kramskaya Shutterstock / Natasha Kramskaya / Natasha Kramskaya

You might think that the easiest part of developing a new product is coming up with its name. Ha! You’d be wrong.

(New York Times, approx 26 mins reading time, 5338 words)

Most executives aren’t as imaginative as Jobs or Branson. And that’s where namers come in. Some work within larger branding agencies, like Landor or Interbrand. Others work within boutiques, like Catchword, A Hundred Monkeys (put 100 monkeys at 100 typewriters, and eventually they’ll write a Shakespearean tragedy, or a name), Namebase and Zinzin (French for “whatchama­callit”).

6. Welcome to Motown

DIANA ROSS AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

We all love what Motown Records did. Now here’s the story of the Detroit label’s chief engineer, Russ Terrana, and the music he helped to capture.

(Tape Op, approx 23 mins reading time, 4736 words)

Michael [Jackson] was a good kid; I really liked Michael. He would sit next to me in the control room and would ask, “What does this do? What does that do? Why does that happen?” He was very into the behind the scenes thing too. He was always fascinated by the equipment, how things were accomplished, and how you do it. He was very soft-spoken and very polite, until he got behind a microphone, and all of a sudden, bang — “Who is that guy?”


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

It was Martin Luther King Day earlier this week, so here’s an interview with the civil rights activist in 1965. Interestingly, it’s in Playboy, and the author said that to get King to do the interview, he told him that the magazine’s readership was the very constituency “vital to [his] interests”.

[, approx mins reading time, words)

Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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