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Dublin: 21 °C Monday 22 July, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: He was a great landlord - until they found out he was spying on their every move

Grab 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 people who moved to Chernobyl

Ukraine: Chornobyl reactor 4 confinement ceremony Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

People are now choosing to leave on the edge of the Chernobyl exclusion zone – but why?

(BBC, approx 10 mins reading time)

The family do have a few neighbours, but almost all are in their 70s and 80s. Despite the lack of amenities or opportunities, four years ago Maryna and her daughters packed up everything they owned and travelled hundreds of miles across Ukraine to live here – just 30km from the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone.

2. The siege at Rainbow Farm

In 2001, there was a five-day standoff at a campground in rural Michigan – a domestic siege that’s long been forgotten about.

(The Outline, approx 46 mins reading time)

To be fair, Rainbow Farm was more than a party. Purchased by Crosslin in 1993, he transformed the overgrown acreage. Leinbach, along with a group of regulars, helped him turn Rainbow Farm from a haphazard campsite to one of the most well-known marijuana gatherings in the country. The festivals they created were legit. “It was a big joint effort. Literally, a joint effort,” Leinbach said, emphasizing a pun that’ll never go out of style. “Those people loved Rainbow Farm dearly.”

3. The grim death of a privileged Hollywood daughter

Lyric McHenry lived a privileged life. But her death has raised many questions – she was found unconscious near an overpass in the Bronx.

(New York Times, approx 14 mins reading time)

Ms. McHenry had begun her night far away, celebrating her 26th birthday on the rooftop of the Dream Hotel in downtown Manhattan. With its sweeping views and stylish décor, the Dream seemed like a fitting place to celebrate Lyric, who in her brief life had blazed through Stanford University, mastered French in Paris, appeared on her best friend’s reality TV show and was now finishing a script for her own movie.

4. Inside the mind of a voyeur

People thought that Pete Forde was a good landlord. But then his tenants discovered he was filming their most private moments. 

(Toronto Life, approx 28 mins reading time)

He championed women, and I grew to think of him as a proponent of progressive politics. He was popular, platonically speaking, with one group in particular: women, usually slim, blonde, smart and a little bit vulnerable. Many of those female friends had been physically or psychologically abused and were looking for solace and security, and they saw him as a safe, supportive friend.

5. Kevin Barry

shutterstock_252926689 Source: Shutterstock/1000 Words

Usually we stick to non-fiction in Sitdown Sunday. But why do that when it would mean missing out on some great Irish writing? Here’s Kevin Barry’s new short story, The Coast of Leitrim, which you can also listen to here.

(The New Yorker, approximately 40 mins reading time)

Living alone in his dead uncle’s cottage, and with the burden lately of wandering thoughts in the night, Seamus Ferris had fallen hard for a Polish girl who worked at a café down in Carrick. He had himself almost convinced that the situation had the dimensions of a love affair, though in fact he’d exchanged no more than a few dozen words with her, whenever she named the price for his flat white and scone, and he shyly paid it, offering a line or two himself on the busyness of the town or the fineness of the weather.

6. Has Instagram got a harassment problem?

Taylor Lorenz looks at the reports of harassment on Instagram, an app which is usually referred to as a positive, friendly place.

(The Atlantic, approx 33 mins reading time)

Soon enough, though, the hateful messages started coming: death threats, expletive-laden comments about his appearance, worse. A meme page put his face on Hitler’s body. Multiple accounts popped up with the explicit purpose of taunting him. His house was swatted. When he does a live video, the insults float onscreen, fast and furious. “It’s been hard to keep my composure,” Farbstein told me. After trolls started posting pictures of him in the hallways at his high school, he started to fear for his safety. Eventually, he left and finished high school online.


In 2015, architect Denise Scott Brown wrote about how after she married fellow architect Robert Venturi, she was written out of her career, with much of her work incorrectly attributed to him.

(Mas Context, approx 22 mins reading time)

When Praeger published a series of interviews with architects, my name was omitted from the dust jacket.  We complained and Praeger added my name, although objecting that this would spoil the cover design. On the inside flap, however, “eight architects” and “the men behind” modern architecture were mentioned. As nine were listed in the front, I gather I am still left out

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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