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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 3 July, 2020

Sitdown Sunday: Searching for serial killer Ted Bundy's mother

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. I <3 Rihanna

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala - New York

Writer and director Miranda July met Rihanna, and the result is one of the most unusual interviews you’ll read this year. It’s about fandom, power and loving someone just a little too much.

(New  York Times, approx 17 mins reading time)

Her lips were bright red, her long nails were pale iridescent lavender, her mascara was both white and black in a way I didn’t really understand. A rhinestone necklace against her chest read ‘‘FENTY,’’ her last name. Oumarou wasn’t the only person I had grilled about what makes Rihanna great. A lesbian art history professor told me that she’s ‘‘the real deal.’’ Others used the words ‘‘magic’’ and ‘‘epic.’’

2. The rhino hunter

shutterstock_268892825 Source: Shutterstock/JONATHAN PLEDGER

Another month, another story about a person paying to hunt an animal. This Radiolab podcast follows the story of Corey Knowlton, who paid $350k to go hunt and kill an endangered species.

(Radiolab, approx 46 mins listening time)

This episode, producer Simon Adler follows Corey as he dodges death threats and prepares to pull the trigger.  Along the way we stop to talk with Namibian hunters and government officials, American activists, and someone who’s been here before – Kenya’s former Director of Wildlife, Richard Leakey.   All the while, we try to uncover what conservation really means in the 21st century.

3. Mrs Bundy

PA-11897532 Ted Bundy Source: AP/Press Association Images

Louise Bundy is the mother of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. In 1989, talkshow host Dana Middleton Silberstein went to visit her to see if she would go on her show and talk to a victim’s mother. But did she?

(Morning News, approx 26 mins reading time)

Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, murdering so many women and girls that the final count may never be known. Law enforcement would put the number between 30 and 36, with the caveat that there might be more. Bundy stalked and tortured his way through at least seven states across the country, staging attacks in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Florida from the 1960s to the late 1970s. He left families devastated, colleges on edge, and towns on high alert.

4. Sex and sexuality

argonauts Source: Amazon

Maggie Nelson’s book The Argonauts looks at what happened when she and her gender-fluid partner decided to have a child. It’s a memoir about love, sex, childbirth, gender, queerness, and being different.

(London Review of Books, approx 20 mins reading time)

Absolutely love this book though I did and do, I also found it very troublant indeed. It breaks a taboo that runs deeper, even, than those against queer genders and sexualities, anal pleasure, breaking and remodelling the basic link between word and thing: the law that you must never speak of your happiness and contentment, because to do so is to spoil it and have it taken away.

5. The secret history of Myers-Briggs

shutterstock_36446959 Source: Shutterstock/Stephen VanHorn

Ever tried the Myers-Briggs personality test online? If you want to get an actual hard copy of one, it will cost you nearly $1700. Merve Emre looks at the strange history behind Isabel Myers-Briggs’ test.

(Digg, approx 47 mins reading time)

I learn that, in the beginning, men’s and women’s questionnaire results were evaluated on notably different scoring scales, particularly when it came to the thinking (T) and feeling (F) functions. These, it was assumed, were differently accessible to men versus women. Isabel was hardly the first person to suggest that women, as a matter of biological destiny, set greater store by “sympathy” and “appreciation” than men, who were more logically inclined in their decision making. She was, however, one of the first to institute this difference in workplace evaluations.

6. The graveyard on Everest

shutterstock_165729986 Source: Shutterstock/THPStock

Nobody knows how many bodies there are on Everest, only that they all met a tragic end. But what can be done with them?

(BBC, approx 27 mins reading time)

Perhaps most well-known of all are the remains of Tsewang Paljor, a young Indian climber who lost his life in the infamous 1996 blizzard. For nearly 20 years, Paljor’s body – popularly known as Green Boots, for the neon footwear he was wearing when he died – has rested near the summit of Everest’s north side. When snow cover is light, climbers have had to step over Paljor’s extended legs on their way to and from the peak.


In 2013, Katy Butler wrote about her experiences when wrestling with the idea of turning off her father’s pacemaker. Her story will be familiar in many places to those who have lost a loved one after a long illness.

(The Atlantic, approx 27 mins reading time)

As fall deepened into winter, I came to fear that mother would be broken by nonstop caregiving. “I feel my life is in ruins,” she wrote in her journal about the man she’d loved for nearly 60 years and thought of as her best friend. “This is horrible and I have lasted for five years. Sometimes I wish he would die and set me free.”

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More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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