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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# 7 great reads
Sitdown Sunday: He spent 59 years in prison - and is fighting to prove his innocence
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. Succession

An interview with Succession director Mark Mylod about making the series – and THAT finale.

(Vulture, approx 10 mins reading time) 

Because we shoot the story in order, and because the script evolves so much beyond our initial road map, by the time we get to episodes seven and eight and nine, everybody’s been on this journey, the actors especially, inhabiting those characters. We’re all a team. You know, about 90 percent of us have been working together since season one. So when it comes to shooting Kendall’s breakdown and everything that follows, we all know where we’ve been in order to get there, and we all know what’s required. As a director, my job at that point is to set the scene where I know the actors can excel and know their specific processes.

2. Unmaking a murderer

Chester Weger spent 59 years in jail for the murder of three women – but now he is on a mission to prove his innocence.

(Chicago Mag, approx 50 mins reading time)

When he ceased to be a free man back in 1961 and became known far and wide as the Starved Rock Killer, Weger was only 22, a chain-smoking ex-Marine, avid hunter and fisherman, and married father of two young children. In those days he had James Dean’s swooping pompadour and svelte build, if not quite a matinee idol face. But now, at the age of 80, he showed signs that he had been hobbled by time served in concrete-and-steel cages all over Illinois — at Stateville and Menard and Pontiac and Graham. He was down to only 113 pounds, his pale scalp encircled by a faint halo of short gray hair that he no longer bothered running a comb through

3. Fall of Kabul

A look at the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and what happened after. 

(New York Times, approx 70 mins reading time)

As civilians, the guests at the party faced a stark question that summer, which they repeated to me: Berim ya bashim? Should we stay or should we go? Afghans had endured the agony of displacement and exile for 40 years; the latest wave began in 2014 at the end of the U.S. troop surge, which was followed by an economic recession and the steady loss of territory to the Taliban. The following year, when Europe’s borders collapsed and a million people crossed the Mediterranean in boats, Afghans were the second-largest group among them, after Syrians.

4. Cancelled or not

A really interesting profile of the food writer Alison Roman, who could have been so-called ‘cancelled’ in early 2020 but who found her way through controversy.

(The New Yorker, approx 37 mins reading time)

Dusk was falling. Marigolds sat on a coffee table in a green glass vase. Roman had just lit a candle and was playing moody music. Eighteen months after a disastrous interview and its attendant miseries—“I was single, I was cancelled, I was in a pandemic”—she was feeling reflective. “The only way I will be successful is if I’m myself, because (a) I can have a really shitty attitude if somebody asks me to do something I don’t want to do and I can’t be myself, and (b) there’s so much noise out there, so many people that develop recipes, so many places that you can find one.”

5. Diagnosis

Adults who were diagnosed with autism after their children were share their story. 

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

Purnell, managing director of a successful business, has adapted well – on one level at least. “Now I understand my autism, I can see how helpful it has been through my working life,” he says. In a letter to colleagues after the diagnosis, he wrote: “Among the many benefits I see for being autistic is that I’m incredibly organised and get a lot done. I also have a very strong attention to detail, can take into account a lot of information quickly and see relevant patterns that help me make good decisions.”

6. Gavin Bazunu

Paul Fennessy does a deep-dive into the great year that breakout Irish footballer Gavin Bazun has had.

(, approx 13 mins reading time)

“But where he stood out was his distribution. From an early age, you could see how comfortable he was on the football, he was ahead of most ‘keepers his age. You’d have no problem putting him into an outfield session. He was like a holding midfield player where he was comfortable receiving the ball under pressure, playing passes. He was like a little playmaker. “Even at that stage, it was ‘wow’. He had only come back from a broken foot and you think to yourself: ‘Jesus Christ, we’d love to have this guy in for this camp.’”


Back in 2016, Wired spoke to teenagers about their lives on social media.

(Wired, approx 23 mins reading time)

Lara and Sofia are shy, almost painfully so, with people they don’t know. They move around in the world with heads close, chatting conspiratorially. This belies how substantial their Instagram reach is. Each 16-year-old has more than 1,000 followers, especially surprising when you realize that their feeds are locked, and the girls say they at least vaguely know every single person that follows them. Perhaps more impressive, though: Each post on their feeds has at least 300 likes—meaning that roughly a third of their followers have signaled their approval.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday

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