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7 great reads

Sitdown Sunday: 'The dark room which should have been a haven began to feel like a prison'

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. Cat Person 

Alexis Nowicki reads a viral New Yorker short story, and starts to wonder: ‘Is this about me?’.

(Slate, approx 18 mins reading time)

Roupenian’s story was the first work of short fiction to ever go viral; as the Guardian put it, “Cat Person” “sent the internet into meltdown.” Now it’s being made into a movie starring Nicholas Braun, who plays Cousin Greg on Succession. But for me, the experience of reading it was particularly uncanny. I remember that, as I scrolled, I had to sit down on the train instead of leaning against the door as usual because I needed the added stability.

2. Long covid

Lucy Adams (44) writes about her battle with long Covid.

(BBC, approx 16 mins reading time)

I regularly lay in a dark room by myself because I couldn’t cope with the noise of family life and the sense that light – any light – was too bright. The dark room which should have been a haven began to feel like a prison, a place I couldn’t escape. The bed which should have felt warm and comfortable felt like a ship lurching in a rough sea.

3. Reunited

A dad searches for his missing son for 24 years. 

(New York Times, approx 5 mins reading time)

The apparent happy ending captivated China, where Mr. Guo has become something of a folk hero. His cross-country odyssey, during which he said he was thrown from his bike at least once and slept outdoors when he could not afford a hotel, inspired the 2015 film “Lost and Love,” starring the renowned Hong Kong actor Andy Lau.

4. The Beatles

A look behind the scenes of Peter Jackson’s new movie about the Beatles, Get Back.

(Vanity Fair, approx 17 mins reading time)

It’s the Beatles as none would ever see or hear them again—their last live performance as a group, January 30, 1969. It’s also the Beatles as none of us, 52 years on, has ever seen them. The approximately 43-minute sequence from director Peter Jackson’s forthcoming documentary, The Beatles: Get Back—screened exclusively for Vanity Fair—shows the full, uninterrupted concert on the roof of 3 Savile Row, the band’s headquarters, including iconic performances that would appear on their last album, Let It Be. The original footage, taken from at least nine different cameras, has been scrubbed to astonishing clarity, detail, and color, a rapturous window in time.

5. Jason Sudeikis’s hell of a year

The actor and former SNL comic on the surprise success of his show Ted Lasso.

(GQ, approx 23 mins reading time)

He became so adept at playing those types of characters, Sudeikis said, that at some point he realized he’d have to make an effort to do something different. “It’s up to me to not just play an a-hole in every movie,” he said. In conversation he is digressive, occasionally melancholy, prone to long anecdotes and sometimes even actual parables—closer, in other words, to Ted Lasso, the gentle, philosophical football coach he co-created, than any of the preening jerks he used to be known for. But he can definitely kick a soccer ball pretty good.

6. Sparks

An interview with the incomparable musicians Sparks (brothers Russell and Ron Mael), who feature in a new documentary by Edgar Wright.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

The performance turned the Los Angeles duo into a sensation in the UK. Hundreds of thousands of singles were sold – just missing out on No 1 – and soon mobs of screaming fans invaded stages at concerts, ripping the clothes from their scrawny bodies. In a more just world, the song that catapulted them there would possess the same ubiquity, and be sung with the same roaring drunken gusto in pubs and karaoke bars across the world as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (which followed a year later), but stratospheric stardom, Live Aid and an Oscar-winning biopic were not in Sparks’ trajectory. 


An article from 2017 about the tech insiders who are worried about the power of smartphone addiction.

(The Guardian, approx 20 mins reading time)

In 2007, Rosenstein was one of a small group of Facebook employees who decided to create a path of least resistance – a single click – to “send little bits of positivity” across the platform. Facebook’s “like” feature was, Rosenstein says, “wildly” successful: engagement soared as people enjoyed the short-term boost they got from giving or receiving social affirmation, while Facebook harvested valuable data about the preferences of users that could be sold to advertisers. The idea was soon copied by Twitter, with its heart-shaped “likes” (previously star-shaped “favourites”), Instagram, and countless other apps and websites.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday

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