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7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: The past catches up with a serial molester

Settle back in 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. The past is catching up with him

An in-depth investigation into an athletics coach who was at the centre of numerous molestation allegations. (Details in this may be distressing for some people to read)

(ESPN, approx 40 mins reading time)

In June 2018, Outside the Lines began investigating a tip that Mainwaring allegedly had molested a 12-year-old boy in the 1970s and might have continued such activity to the present day. The tip led to a 13-month reporting effort that uncovered scores of allegations spanning five decades and two continents — and sparked a police investigation that resulted in Mainwaring’s recent arrest.

2. Dying the Christian Science way

A disturbing look at the Christian Science religion, and its ethos around illness – that is, that patients should not seek medical treatment and can pray the illness away.

(The Guardian, approx 21 mins reading time)

The early popularity of Christian Science was tied directly to the promise engendered by its core beliefs: the promise of healing. The overwhelming majority of those attracted to the movement came to be healed, or came because a husband, wife, child, relative or friend needed healing; the claims of Christian Science were so compelling that people often stayed in the movement whether they found healing or not, blaming themselves and not the church’s teachings for any apparent failures.

3. The business of sleep

We can never get enough of it, but a lot of us don’t get enough. And so some businesses are realising there is money to be made in our search for sleep… 

(GQ, approx 31 mins reading time)

This was true. Of that tidal wave of recent research, some results were far worse. He didn’t tell them, for instance, that routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours so demolishes your immune system that it doubles your risk of cancer; or that regular short sleeping also increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming brittle and blocked, leading to cardiovascular disease, strokes and congestive heart failure; or that in the spring, when most people lose an hour’s sleep due to daylight savings, the rate of heart attacks increases by a quarter. The less you know about the effect on your sex drive the better.

4. The tyranny of the ‘ideal woman’

In this essay, Jia Tolentino (who has a new book out, Trick Mirror, a collection of her essays), writes about the pressure women put themselves under in the name of ‘self optimisation’.

(The Guardian, approx 20 mins reading time)

This woman is sincerely interested in whatever the market demands of her (good looks, the impression of indefinitely extended youth, advanced skills in self-presentation and self-surveillance). She is equally interested in whatever the market offers her – in the tools that will allow her to look more appealing, to be even more endlessly presentable, to wring as much value out of her particular position as she can.

5. Polyamory works for them

A look at polyamory, and how having multiple partners works for different people.

(New York Times, approx 15 mins reading time)

Now a cottage industry of coaches and educators has cropped up to help polyamorous partners strive for compersion, the happy-for-you alternative to jealousy. Effy Blue, a relationship coach in Brooklyn, works with all of the following: triads, or three people in a committed relationship together; individuals seeking to transparently date multiple lovers simultaneously; partners who each have intimate friends, all of whom are close; and clients cultivating long-term relationships with someone who already has a primary partner.

6. The woman who befriended a warlord

The story of Betty Bigombe, who had to negotiate with the notorious Joseph Kony in Uganda.

(BBC, approx 15 mins reading time)

Eventually Kony agreed to meet. She feared he would have her tortured and resolved to kill herself rather than be captured by him. Deep in the jungle they met for the first time. “He was guarded, there was church music, some men were dressed as nuns and had guns. They were singing hymns and falling down, [saying] that the demon was coming out of them. The scene was just incredible. He was wearing military uniform. He definitely came ready to intimidate.”


The legendary writer Toni Morrison died this week. Here’s a look at her incredible impact on people.

(The New Yorker, approx 41 mins reading time)

“I’m already discredited, I’m already politicized, before I get out of the gate,” Morrison said. “I can accept the labels”—the adjectives like “black” and “female” that are often attached to her work—“because being a black woman writer is not a shallow place but a rich place to write from. It doesn’t limit my imagination; it expands it. It’s richer than being a white male writer because I know more and I’ve experienced more.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>   

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