#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Thursday 24 September 2020

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 woman who pretended to be a schoolgirl


For 20 years, Charity Johnson tricked people into believing she was in high school. Why did she do this?

(Buzzfeed, approx 28 minutes reading time, 5768 words)

Newlin didn’t ask to see Charity’s birth certificate. Why would he? He had known most of his 27 students since they were in diapers; one of them had met Charity at work and told her about the school. Charity had no transcripts because she had been homeschooled by a foster family, she said. Before that, she was abandoned by her drug-addict mother and incarcerated father.

2. Girls who pretend to be boys


Afghanistan Daily Life Source: AP/Press Association Images

Meet the Afghan girls who live as boys, because of cultural norms that make life difficult to be female.

(The Atlantic, approx 17 minutes reading time, 3405 words)

Officially, girls like Mehran do not exist in Afghanistan, where the system of gender segregation is among the strictest in the world. But many other Afghans, too, can recall a former neighbor, a relative, a colleague, or someone in their extended family raising a daughter as a son.

3. Life as Tim Cook

Music-Album Evolution Source: AP/Press Association Images

Brad Stone and Adam Satarino interview Apple’s Tim Cook – one for the Apple nerds.

(Business Week, approx 22 minutes reading time, 4532 words)

When Cook took over from Jobs three years ago, the chances he could continue Apple’s epic run appeared slim. The iPhone accounted for more than half of Apple’s revenue and the bulk of its gross profit. At the same time the rise of phones made by Samsung Electronics(005930:KS) and other companies that ran Google’s (GOOG) free Android operating system had left Apple with a shrinking stake of the smartphone market.

4. Life at a water park

Afghanistan Weather Source: AP/Press Association Images

Think that an article about the builders of water parks couldn’t be fascinating? Well you’d be dead wrong.

(Grantland, approx 49 minutes reading time, 9901 words)

Henry the Inventor waved away praise. “This particular ride and the way that it looks to me is like about one-tenth of what I want,” he said. “I had always planned just to hook some more ride to it and go a couple of thousand feet long. I like long rides. I don’t like quick, short things like this. People like this.”

5. Visiting Chernobyl

Ukraine Chernobyl Source: AP/Press Association Images

George Johnson visits Chernobyl, and finds the unforeseen legacy of the nuclear tragedy.

(National Geographic, approx 12 minutes reading time, 2521 words)

Twenty-eight years after the explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, the zone, all but devoid of people, has been seized and occupied by wildlife. There are bison, boars, moose, wolves, beavers, falcons. In the ghost city of Pripyat, eagles roost atop deserted Soviet-era apartment blocks. The horses—a rare, endangered breed—were let loose here a decade after the accident, when the radiation was considered tolerable, giving them more than a thousand square miles to roam.

6. The real Wonder Woman

Superheroes Fashion The 1976 Wonder Woman costume worn by Lynda Carter is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Source: AP/Press Association Images

Thought you knew the story of Wonder Woman? Here’s the full one.

(New Yorker, approx 40 minutes reading time, 8122 words)

A press release explained, “ ‘Wonder Woman’ was conceived by Dr. Marston to set up a standard among children and young people of strong, free, courageous womanhood; to combat the idea that women are inferior to men, and to inspire girls to self-confidence and achievement in athletics, occupations and professions monopolized by men” because “the only hope for civilization is the greater freedom, development and equality of women in all fields of human activity.”


Source: DillonTexas/YouTube

If you’ve heard of – or read, or watched – Friday Night Lights, here is the 1990 article which inspired it.

(Sports Illustrated, approx 29 minutes reading time, 5927 words)

Tonight the boys of Permian High School in Odessa would come before the crowd, one by one, to be introduced. And in less than two weeks, on the first Friday night in September, the march to state—to the Texas high school championship finals—would begin with the first game of the season.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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

Read next: