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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

Sitdown Sunday: Wrongly prosecuted over her mother's murder

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

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 meditation can and can’t do for you

shutterstock_474667585 Source: Shutterstock/Ninja SS

If you’ve ever been curious about meditation and Buddhism, and whether they can benefit you, this article about a new book called Why Buddhism Is True will be illuminating.

(New Yorker, approx 23 mins reading time)

Wright’s is a Buddhism almost completely cleansed of supernaturalism. His Buddha is conceived as a wise man and self-help psychologist, not as a divine being—no miraculous birth, no thirty-two distinguishing marks of the godhead (one being a penis sheath), no reincarnation. This is a pragmatic Buddhism, and Wright’s pragmatism, as in his previous books, can touch the edge of philistinism.

2. Wrongly prosecuted

This fascinating, but chilling, article is about a woman found guilty of murdering her mother – only the conviction was wrong, and was made after prosecutors withheld essential evidence.

(New York Times, approx 40 mins reading time)

The police began their investigation with few leads. Jackson lived alone with her only child, Noura, who was 18 at the time. She had divorced Noura’s father when Noura was a baby. Investigators found broken glass on the kitchen floor, from a windowpane in the door that led from the garage to the kitchen. But the window seemed to have been broken from the inside, because the hole it made lined up with a door lock that could be seen only from the kitchen. And no one had seen an intruder.

3. My buddy Sam Shepherd

wim wenders Sam Shepherd. Source: ©Doug Peters/PA Images

In the wake of Sam Shepherd’s death during the week, one of his best friends Patti Smith wrote about their relationship.

(The New Yorker, approx 7 mins reading time)

But most often he would call from his place in Kentucky, on a cold, still night, when one could hear the stars breathing. Just a late-night phone call out of a blue, as startling as a canvas by Yves Klein; a blue to get lost in, a blue that might lead anywhere. I’d happily awake, stir up some Nescafé and we’d talk about anything.

4. Does being a woman put you at greater risk of having anxiety?

Yes, says this article, which looks into new research via writer Andrea Peterson’s new book about her struggle with the mental health issue.

(NY Mag, approx 16 mins reading time)

There’s a pretty striking statistic that women have double the risk for anxiety disorders than men do. That’s something that I wanted to try to get at — why is that? There are several hypotheses — there’s some evidence that hormonal factors come into play, that women’s fluctuating levels of estrogen may contribute — but the most interesting and most robust science is looking at the social factors, how little boys and little girls are raised and the differences there, and how those contribute to the greater risk for women to later develop anxiety disorders.

5. Did Airbnb kill the mountain town?

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shutterstock_534457387 Source: Shutterstock/Mike Ver Sprill

A look at Crested Butte, Colorado, and how Airbnb has impacted on the area.

(Outside, approx 24 mins reading time)

From Barcelona to Boston, the world has been grappling with the ­arrival of home-sharing platforms. Amid any number of skirmishes—neighbor against neighbor, tourist against townie, lobbyist against legislator—cities have scrambled to get a handle on this “wild west” (one of the most common descriptors of the new home-rental landscape) and rushed to enact regulations. Everywhere you look, the battle is raging.

6. Have smartphones destroyed a generation?

Woah now. Far be it for us to criticise smartphones, but this read by The Atlantic is quite sobering. It outlines how the impact of smartphones can be damaging to young people – particularly their mental health.

(The Atlantic, approx 34 mins reading time)

But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household.


In this 2005 article from Rolling Stone, Peter Wilkinson looks at the Children of God cult.

(Rolling Stone, approx 43 mins reading time)

Angry as Ricky was, he also seemed relieved. Finally he’d get some peace, some revenge and expose his mother, Karen Zerby, leader of one of the most secretive and destructive religious cults of the past forty years, the Children of God, known today as the Family International. For decades, the group has operated in the shadows around the world, bombarded with allegations that its members practiced sexual and physical abuse in the name of god and engaged in organized pedophilia and incest.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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