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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 end of life

shutterstock_180517940 Source: Shutterstock/Twin Design

Sure, it’s not a ‘sexy’ subject, but we all have to face the fact our lives won’t last forever. In the US, they’re discovering that avoiding discussing death is having serious consequences for the elderly.

(Vox, approx 17 mins reading time, 3480 words)

I joke about death because I am as terrified of having serious end-of-life conversations as the next person. Usually I don’t have to think much about dying: my job as a health-care reporter means writing about the massive part of our country devoted to saving lives — how the hospitals, doctors, and drugs that consume 18 percent of our economy all work together, every day, to patch up millions of bodies.

2. The anger inside

shutterstock_110822132 Source: Shutterstock/Andrzej Wilusz

Fiona Kennedy writes movingly about her experiences of post-natal depression, and the anger that consumed her.

(TheJournal.ie, approx 6 mins reading time, 1200 words)

It was for the most part completely irrational, and would blow up over nothing. It wasn’t the kind of anger you get when someone cuts you off in traffic, or the skybox doesn’t record the last five minutes of the last episode of Game of Thrones (although that is truly frustrating). It was all-consuming, instant, explosive rage. Terrifying, usually out of the blue, and extremely hard to handle.

3.  My wife in a psych ward

shutterstock_170072552 Source: Shutterstock/Thirteen

A young couple fall in love, and marry young. Then one of them goes through the first of many psychotic episodes. How does that change a marriage?

(PS Mag, approx 24 mins reading time, 4951 words)

After only a few weeks in her new position, Giulia’s anxiety level rose beyond anything I’d ever seen. She’d always been a bit high-strung, holding herself to impeccable standards. Now, at age 27, she was petrified, actually frozen—terrified of disappointing people and making the wrong impression. She’d spend all day at work trying to compose a single email, forward the text to me to edit, and still not send it.

4. Flash, bang, wallop

shutterstock_175727798 Source: Shutterstock/Jag_cz

In the US, police use ‘flashbangs’: non-lethal weapons intended to disorientate people. But they can also cause serious injuries, as this story shows. Police aren’t supposed to throw them into houses, but often do.

(Pro Publica, approx 19 mins reading time, 3902 words)

Police argue that flashbangs save lives because they stun criminals who might otherwise shoot. But flashbangs have also severed hands and fingers, induced heart attacks, burned down homes and killed pets.

5.  Life under armed guard

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'Vieni via con me' TV Show Recording - Italy Source: Luca Bruno

Because he wrote about the Naples mafia in his book Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano has lived under armed guard for the past eight years. Here’s what your life is like when that life is constantly under threat.

(The Guardian, approx 23 mins reading time, 4737 words)

I live in police barracks or anonymous hotel rooms, and rarely spend more than a few nights in the same place. It’s been more than eight years since I took a train, or rode a Vespa, took a stroll or went out for a beer. Everything is scheduled to the minute; nothing is left to chance.

6. Living with Doris

BRITAIN NOBEL PRIZE LESSING Source: AP/Press Association Images

Doris Lessing is a famed author with an incredibly interesting personal life. Jenny Diski is the writer who went to live in her house as a teen. Here are Diski’s memories of that time as a teen among the literary set.

(London Review of Books, approx 27 mins reading time, 5598 words)

 I couldn’t imagine ever acquiring the all-important taste. Did you have it or not, from birth? Could you acquire it with diligent study? Many people were dismissed as stupid, especially academics, who apparently lacked good judgment, yet who seemed at least as learned as Doris and her friends. How could they be stupid?


freaks and geeks

Are you a Freaks and Geeks fan? If not, get watching. Here’s the oral history you always wanted.

(Vanity Fair, approx 44 mins reading time, 8820 words)

Created as veiled autobiography by Paul Feig and developed with executive producer Judd Apatow and supervising director Jake Kasdan, the series gathered a cult following during its on-again, off-again, abbreviated original broadcast. In the dozen years since its cancellation it has continued to convert new viewers, through showings on cable television and via DVD; in September, its 18 episodes began streaming on Netflix.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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