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Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the year’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. Vanished

shutterstock_111537713 Source: Shutterstock/Julia Ivantsova

Geraldine Largay was an accomplished hiker. So how did she disappear without a trace in a woods in Maine?

(Boston Globe, approx 22 mins reading time, 4446 words)

There was a chill in the air, and Gerry was wearing a bright red fleece. She was absolutely beaming — so much so, in fact, that Rust asked if she could take her picture. “It’ll make the perfect Christmas card,” she told her new friend. Gerry mugged for the camera, waved goodbye, and then turned toward the same challenging half mile of trail Rust and Clark had traversed the previous day. A few seconds later, they watched Gerry disappear into the heavy foliage.

2. LA Gangs 

LOS ANGELES GANGS Los Angeles street gang, Crips members, display their signs for the photographer early in 1988. Source: AP/Press Association Images

You’ve heard of LA gangs like the Crips, but these figures have been vanishing from the streets of Southern California. Here’s why.

(PS Mag, approx 37 mins reading time, 7501 words)

No place feels so changed as the city of Los Angeles. In 2014, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that gang crime had dropped by nearly half since 2008. In 2012, L.A. had fewer total homicides (299) citywide than it had gang homicides alone in 2002 (350) and in 1992 (430). For the most part, Latino gang members no longer attack blacks in ways reminiscent of the Jim Crow South.

3. Jay from Serial speaks

serialpodcast-390x285 Source: Serial

If you haven’t listened to Serial yet, what have you been up to? If you have, you’ve probably been itching to hear Jay Wilds speak. His three interviews are up on The Intercept now. The link to the first one is below.

(The Intercept, approx 19 mins reading time, 3958 words)

The other thing to understand is something about the culture of Baltimore—this is where the ‘Stop Snitching’ video comes from. This is where it was produced. It went national, but it was produced in Baltimore. This is where people would have their house firebombed and still tell the police they knew nothing about it rather than to try to make some sense of what’s going on. And that’s not necessarily me—but that is my family, that is my uncles and cousins. It’s where I’m from.

4. The life of Francisco Goya

Spain Abello Art Collection Source: AP/Press Association Images

Our own Colm Toibín writes about the work of the artist Goya, a man whose imagination was “ripe for horror”, and who inspired a Heaney poem.

(NY Books, approx 18 mins reading time, 3724 words)

Goya’s instinct for theatricality, so apparent in the self-portrait made in the studio, returns now as an image of dark and unsparing self-exposure. Not only is he unafraid to show himself in such distress, but it seems as if this and the other two self-portraits are an essential part of his aims as an artist—to do his best, when he was allowed, to make sure that pictorial space was rich with excitement, insight, incident, painterly energy, surprise.

5. Click bait 

shutterstock_128956634 Source: Shutterstock/atm2003

Emerson Spatz knows how to make things go viral. Since the age of 12, he’s been creating websites that attract thousands of visitors, and here’s how he does it.

(New Yorker, approx 28 mins reading time, 5700 words)

In 1999, when Spartz was twelve, he built MuggleNet, which became the most popular Harry Potter fan site in the world. He appeared on CNN and Fox News, and J. K. Rowling invited him to her estate in Scotland. He eventually lost interest in Rowling—although he bought “The Casual Vacancy,” her recent novel for adults, he said he hadn’t yet read it—but he remained fixated on commanding young people’s attention online.

6. Death in the shadow of Croagh Patrick

10327168645_936df78a96_o Source: Young Shanahan

Bestselling author Marsha Mehran was writing her latest novel when she died, alone and unwell, in a cottage on the west of Ireland. Her body wasn’t found for days.

(The Independent, approx 13 mins reading time, 2726 words)

Mrs Walsh found her Iranian-born tenant lying face down on the bedroom floor, wearing only a woollen cardigan. She had been dead for about a week and around her lay the detritus of her increasingly marginal existence in the previous weeks and months: dozens of empty mineral water bottles and the wrappers of the large chocolate bars that had become her chief source of sustenance.

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

shutterstock_178763324 Source: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

They’ve been trying to find a hangover cure for centuries, you know… Here’s a potted history of the dreaded day-after-drinking.

(The New Yorker, approx 26 mins reading time, 5222 words)

Many hangover cures—the soups, the greasy breakfast—are comfort foods, and that, apart from any sworn-by ingredients, may be their chief therapeutic property, but some other remedies sound as though they were devised by the witches in “Macbeth.” Kingsley Amis recommended a mixture of Bovril and vodka. There is also a burnt-toast cure.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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

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