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Sitdown Sunday: Amanda Knox on keeping her child's birth secret

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

Image: AP/Press Association

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. Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox documented her pregnancy on her podcast – but didn’t reveal that she had had the baby until this exclusive interview.

(New York Times, approx 19 mins reading time)

“I’m still nervous about the paparazzi bounty on her head,” said Ms. Knox, attaching a breast pump as we spoke, on a recent afternoon at the home she shares with her husband, daughter and three cats — Emil, Mr. Fats and Pan — on Vashon Island in Washington State. She was in orange plaid pants and a wrinkled button-down shirt, her hair in a high bun, looking like a new mom who had not slept in a while. “I will say I’m excited to not have to keep pretending not to be a mom. ’Cause it’s like, my brain is just there.”

2. Mystery disease

A strange mysterious disease emerges in New Brunswick – what’s going on?

(The Walrus, approx 18 mins reading time)

Baffling as it was, Cormier’s condition was familiar to Marrero. A Cuban-born neurologist, he had worked in Moncton since 2012 and, in recent years, had seen more and more patients—often unusually young, equally men and women—displaying bizarre signs of neurological decline. In many cases, the symptoms developed with excruciating speed but began almost inconspicuously with behavioural changes, sleep disturbances, or inexplicable pain. Then came memory difficulties, muscle wasting, and difficulty balancing. Many patients experienced visual hallucinations—some relatively benign (Cormier’s TV static), others unsettling (looming shadows), some nightmarish.

3. The clothes we wear

Virginia Solesmith on the clothes we wear as children, what they said about our concerns and how they change as we age. 

(Virgina Solesmith, approx 11 mins reading time)

Every creative kid goes through some process of deciding how much they want to stick out and how much they need to blend in, in order to survive their tween and teenage years. What once felt special, personal, and unique suddenly becomes “attention seeking,” which, we learn early, is one of the worst qualities a girl can have. So I tried to blend in, more and more, to take up as little visual space as possible. I bought overalls only after all of my close friends were also wearing overalls. I wanted a red pea coat, then regretted getting a cheap catalog brand instead of the J. Crew one that other girls had. It was red in entirely the wrong way, though I still can’t articulate what details made it feel so wrong. When I moved to New York City for college, I discovered the safety of wearing black and buying the right jeans.

4. Getting to know Dave Grohl 

The lead singer of Foo Fighters has written a new book about his life.

(Vulture, approx 35 mins reading time)

I remember the night the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video debuted on MTV on 120 Minutes. Kurt and I used to share a room. We knew it was going to be on the show. That night, we realized we had gone from a band in a van with the U-Haul to a band in a van with the U-Haul on fucking TV. But we were moving so quickly at that point. I don’t think we realized what was happening until months later. The thing we did notice was the amount of people at the shows. 

5. Millennial workers 

This article has been at the centre of a lot of debate since it was published last week.

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(The New York Times, approx 10 mins reading time)

Ms. Fain is old enough to remember when millennials determined what was in vogue: rompers, rose pink, craft beer, Netflix and chill. Now, she gets the foreboding sense from colleagues that her AARP card awaits. Subtly yet undeniably, as generational shifts tend to go, there’s a new crop of employees determining the norms and styles of the workplace. And they have no qualms about questioning not just emoji use but all the antiquated ways of their slightly older managers, from their views on politics in the office to their very obsession with work.

6. Passing

Director Rebecca Hall on making her new film, which is about racial ‘passing’.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

That movie is Passing, which Hall has adapted herself from the 1929 novel by the Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen. It is an emotionally resonant study of racial identity, seen through the eyes of two Black women, Irene (played by Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga), both of whom, to varying extents, “pass” as white. Hall remembers first encountering the book in her early 20s and feeling a rush of inspiration: “I was sat there reading and I could just suddenly start seeing it: their two faces, seeing each other in that tea room, and I had that idea of looking from Irene’s perspective and panning through someone staring at you and then coming back. That was really there, and very potent, in black and white in my head.”

…A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

An interview with John Swartzwelder, the writer who people called ‘Sage of the Simpsons’.

(The New Yorker, approx 32 mins reading time)

A few facts seem certain. Swartzwelder was born in 1949 in Seattle. He worked a few years as an advertising copywriter in Chicago. He applied for, but never got, a job at “Late Night,” and had an uncomfortable interview with its host, David Letterman. He worked at “Saturday Night Live,” in 1985, for one particularly rocky season, before being hired four years later at “The Simpsons,” based partly on his contributions to a little-known comedy zine. He went on to write fifty-nine episodes, more than any other writer in the show’s history.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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