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Sitdown Sunday: Life and romance aren't like the movies

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

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. Life isn’t like the movies

Filmmaker Nancy Myers has written many a great film about older women and their romantic lives. Here, she writes about rebuilding her relationship with her ex-husband, after 20 years.

(New York Times, approx 7 mins reading time)

It was in this year of being “almost 70” that I emailed my ex-husband, Charles, and asked him if he could give me a ride to our younger daughter’s best friend’s wedding in Solvang, just north of Santa Barbara. He and I live in Los Angeles, and I didn’t want to drive to the wedding alone. It was maybe the first time in the 20 years since we broke up that I said out loud that I didn’t want to do something alone.

2. Who killed Emma?

Questions surround how a young vulnerable woman was killed in Glasgow. 

(BBC, approx 16 mins reading time)

Emma differed from many of the other residents because she was still close to her family. She saw her parents twice a week, every week. They didn’t know she was a sex worker. Margaret and Willie collected her laundry on Wednesdays and took her for lunch. Every Sunday they dropped off fresh clothes and brought her back to the family home in Erskine, not far from the city.

3. Strike for climate

Greta Thunberg’s mother talks about her daughter and what she’s experienced over the last few years.

(The Guardian, approx 23 mins reading time)

Greta was 11, had just started fifth grade, and was not doing well. She cried at night when she should be sleeping. She cried on her way to school. She cried in her classes and during her breaks, and the teachers called home almost every day. Svante had to run off and bring her home to Moses, our golden retriever. She sat with him for hours, petting him and stroking his fur. She was slowly disappearing into some kind of darkness and little by little, bit by bit, she seemed to stop functioning. She stopped playing the piano. She stopped laughing. She stopped talking. And she stopped eating.

4. My boyfriend’s wedding dress

Emily Halnon found herself tackling her own beliefs around masculinity when she met her boyfriend.

(The Guardian, approx 6 mins reading time)

“Emily!” he cried with victorious glee. “I’ve found the one!” Ian thrust the white garment into the air like a Nascar trophy. Its lace sleeves sashayed from the tapered bodice and fluffy tulle grazed the dirty tiles of the thrift store floor. A smile stretched across Ian’s scruffy face and his blue eyes danced with the giddy excitement of a bride saying, “I do!” “Oh, wow,” I managed to spit out.

5. Telekinetic killer

Christina Boyer was convicted of murdering a child in 1992. But her supporters believe she is a victim of injustice.

(Atavist, approx 15 mins reading time)

It didn’t take long for locals to blame Amber’s mother, 22-year-old Christina Boyer, for the little girl’s death. Carroll County is in the Bible Belt, and people saw Boyer as the embodiment of everything they claimed to despise: unwed, abusive, sexually promiscuous, ungodly. Boyer, who professed her innocence, went to prison for life.

6. Murder trial in reverse

Can two men sent to prison in 1987 overturn their murder convictions?

(The New Yorker, approx 30 mins reading time)

The police released Smokes and Warren, but arrested them five days later. Smokes watched from the back seat of a police cruiser as detectives brought his friend out of high school in handcuffs. “From the point that we got to his school, the reality of it really hit,” Smokes told me. “He looked at me as a big brother, and I looked at him as my little brother, and there was nothing I could do to help my little brother.” He added, “I couldn’t comfort him in no way except to say that we’re in this together.”

AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

Leslie Jamison writes about an unusual blue whale.

(The Atavist, approx 57 mins reading time)

The whale that Joe George and Velma Ronquille heard was an anomaly: His sound patterns were recognizable as those of a blue whale, but his frequency was unheard of. It was absolutely unprecedented. So they paid attention. They kept tracking him for years, every migration season, as he made his way south from Alaska to Mexico. His path wasn’t unusual, only his song—and the fact that they never detected any other whales around him. He always seemed to be alone.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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