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Anna Sorokin arrives for sentencing at New York State Supreme Court, in New York Steven Hirsch
7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: The fake heiress who fooled everyone - and got sent to jail

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. What can be done about the women and children of Isis?

Thousands of women and children connected to Isis are in camps with nowhere to go. This leaves countries with a question: should they be allowed home, or is it better to leave them in the camps? 

(New York Times, approx 11 mins reading time)

If figuring out what to do with the children is that complicated, deciding what to do with the women and men is even more difficult. There are at least 13,000 foreign ISIS followers being held in Syria, including 12,000 women and children. That number does not include the estimated 31,000 Iraqi women and children detained there. Another 1,400 are detained in Iraq.

2. Anna Sorokin: the fake heiress who fooled everyone

In the Guardian’s podcast this week, they look at the extraordinary case of Anna Sorokin, who was jailed for masquerading as an extravagant socialite called Anna Delvey.

(The Guardian, approx 27 mins listening time)

The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman, who lived in New York for many years and previously covered fashion, discusses with India Rakusen why Sorokin’s case has attracted so much attention. Jesse Hawk, a photographer who was invited by Sorokin to shoot video on one of her trips, and then never paid for his work, speaks about what it was like to spend time with her. 

3. Carrying out a friend’s final wish after her death

When American filmmaker Alison Wilke died, she left one wish for her friends to carry out: to scatter her ashes at the Cliffs of Moher. She wanted to return to the country where she’d spent time at a writing retreat in Doolin 11 years before her death. Here, her friend Lauren DePino writes about their journey.

(BBC, approx 15 mins reading time)

Allison released the documentary in 2014 and started a foundation to help others fighting cancer. But just two years later, from a hospital bed, she’d tell her partner, family and closest friends she was dying, followed by, “Everything will be OK.” In her final days, she requested they take her ashes to Doolin, where she envisioned herself at peace.

4. Is noise pollution the next big public health crisis?

Loud sound can have a big impact on our health – and nature. But is enough being done about it?

(The New Yorker, approx 24 mins reading time)

That was five years ago. Mark’s condition is called hyperacusis. It can be caused by overexposure to loud sounds, although no one knows why some people are more susceptible than others. There is no known cure. Before the onset of his symptoms, Mark lived a life that was noise-filled but similar to those of millions of his contemporaries: garage band, earbuds, crowded bars, concerts. The pain feels like “raw inflammation,” he said, and is accompanied by pressure on his ears and his temples, by tension in the back of his head, and, occasionally, by an especially disturbing form of tinnitus

5. Trish McAdam

Trish McAdam is an Irish filmmaker who began making movies back in the 1970s, inspired by her contemporaries like Vivienne Dick. Here, she chats to Stephen Porzio about her career.

(Headstuff, approx 10 mins reading time)

“It’s extraordinarily difficult. The competition is huge. It’s an industry the middle has fallen out of. If you have a very big budget film or a very low budget film, it’s easy to get it off the ground. Somewhere in between, that amount of money is difficult for producers to put together,” says McAdam. “There’s lots of hurdles you must get over. You have to convince so many people to choose your film over another. One of the reasons I make movies like Confinement is that they are reminders you can work on a tiny budget. They give you the opportunity to be creative with limitations.”

6. My cousin was my hero – until he tried to kill me

Wil S Hylton writes about what happened when his cousin tried to kill him, three years ago. He analyses how his cousin’s idea of masculinity led to that point.

(New York Times Magazine, approx 50 mins reading time)

I passed a yellow jackhammer and a shelf of four-inch sewer pipe, turning into a small room where he kept his workbench. I heard him behind me, and when I turned, I saw a blur of motion. His hands flew to my throat and cinched my trachea shut. The force was stunning. My lungs stopped. My arms shot up to bat his away, but he was many times stronger, and he slammed my back against the wall.


There’s been a lot of writing about co-living spaces in Ireland this week. But they’re not new – take this 2016 piece about co-living in London.

(Failed Architecture, approx 10 mins reading time)

Read together, the price, exclusivity, substandard size of bedrooms and cynical view of community have been rightly highlighted as criticisms of the building. The most alarming feature of The Collective Old Oak though isn’t the banality of its architecture, the vague claims of solving a housing shortage or the pessimistic idea of a narcissistic youth driven through the next networking opportunity. The most alarming feature is this “new way of living”, is in fact a commodified old way of living; one that is steeped in the language of modernism yet robbed of its radical social intent.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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