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Sitdown Sunday: The day my partner drowned

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. Eating me up

shutterstock_220586419 Source: Shutterstock/Gts

You don’t just grow out of anorexia, writes Carrie Arnold. It’s a complicated eating disorder that can be incredibly difficult to deal with. She writes about new treatments for anorexia, and what they tell us about it.

(The Guardian, approx 24 mins reading time)

Many people with anorexia don’t grasp that they are, in fact, sick. While parents generally sign their children into treatment, the power to do so vanishes when the child turns 18. Adult patients can also stop treatment if it gets too difficult – and it often does, because challenging the behaviours associated with eating disorders can create extreme anxiety. A long‑term, chronic eating disorder often ends up alienating friends and family – the very people who are needed to support the patient through the recovery process.

2. Streep vs Hoffman

shutterstock_88545268 Source: Shutterstock/Featureflash

At age 29, Meryl Streep was working on Kramer vs Kramer during a difficult time in her life: she was grieving a dead lover and entering into a new relationship. She was also starting to see her Hollywood career take off. This profile looks at that period of her life – and her battle with Dustin Hoffman.

(Vanity Fair, approx 36 mins reading time)

Improvising his lines, Dustin delivered a slap of a different sort: outside the elevator, he started taunting Meryl about John Cazale, jabbing her with remarks about his cancer and his death. “He was goading her and provoking her,” Fischoff recalled, “using stuff that he knew about her personal life and about John to get the response that he thought she should be giving in the performance.” Meryl, Fischoff said, went “absolutely white.”

3. Isis wins online

shutterstock_369286427 Source: Shutterstock/Prazis

Brendan Koerner writes about how Isis is skilled at using social media to its benefit. It’s not just about jihad – it’s about propaganda and branding.

(Wired, approx 36 mins reading time)

According to Documenting the Virtual Caliphate, an October 2015 report by the Quilliam Foundation, the organization releases, on average, 38 new items per day—20-minute videos, full-length documentaries, photo essays, audio clips, and pamphlets, in languages ranging from Russian to Bengali. The group’s closest peers are not just other terrorist organizations, then, but also the Western brands, marketing firms, and publishing outfits—from PepsiCo to BuzzFeed—who ply the Internet with memes and messages in the hopes of connecting with customers.

4. Trumplandia 

shutterstock_382158925 Source: Shutterstock/Olya Steckel

Patricia Lockwood writes about visiting a Trump rally to try and determine exactly what goes on there. She writes about the bizarre, weird, and downright uncomfortable things that go on.

(New Republic, approx mins reading time)

…no one else in the race would have said that, and there is some apparent hunger among us to be represented by a man who has the seeming freedom to say anything, who moves with impunity in a world he as good as owns. “I love you all, I love you all,” said the man who could say anything, before stepping off the stage and vanishing into the white night. “You’re special,” he told us, to a wall of identical roars, where any sound of protest could no longer be distinguished.

5. The day my partner drowned

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shutterstock_128484296 Source: Shutterstock/Galyna Andrushko

Decca Aitkenhead writes with strength, grace and honesty about the death of her partner – the father of her two sons – in a drowning accident in Jamaica. After he died, she had even more tough times to deal with.

(The Guardian, approx 23 mins reading time)

Only then did I register the power of the riptide that had swept Jake off his feet. Beneath an apparently benign surface, an undertow had gathered, like a gigantic magnet on the horizon sucking us out to sea. The force of the current took my breath away. But I am a strong swimmer, and sensed no cause for great alarm as we inched our way to safety. On my back, in the soundless calm, all I could see was blue sky. It didn’t even cross my mind to panic.

6. The fight that went wrong

shutterstock_219773098 Source: Shutterstock/albund

Two men enter the ring for their first professional fight. But things go badly wrong.

(New York Times, approx 40 mins reading time)

The referee waved his arms. Fight over! He bent down to help the opponent, who reached up with his right hand. Halfway to his feet, the boxer wobbled and fell back down. The sudden uncertainty disrupted the order in the ring. The opponent’s coach had slipped through the ropes and was now trying to help his fighter, who struggled again to rise, only to sway and fall back against his coach’s shins.


Andaman Source: Wikipedia Commons

In 2000, American Scholar wrote about the people living on the Andaman Islands, the most isolated tribe on earth.

(American Scholar, approx 79 mins reading time)

They were so small as to be almost pygmies: adult males often measured several inches under five feet. The islanders wore no clothing, and few ornaments; neither sex troubled to cover its genitals. (Indeed, Andamanese men often waggled their penises at visitors by way of friendly greeting.) Though not cannibals, they might easily be mistaken as such, for they wore the jawbones of deceased relatives around their necks. Most astonishingly, they had never learned to make fire, counting instead on the occasional lightning strike and then preserving embers carefully in hollowed-out trees.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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