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Sitdown Sunday: Al Pacino on his role in the gamechanging film The Godfather

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. Have we been thinking about burnout wrong?

We thought we had an idea what burnout was, but were we wrong about the symptoms?

(Bustle, approx 11 mins reading time)

“Who can take time off from work to recuperate from burnout?” says Dionne when I bring this up. “I think when we are talking about impoverished people, many of those people are indigenous folks, Black folks, brown folks — exhaustion is the baseline so often because capitalism is eating these people alive,” she says. “There is no safety net for those folks, so it really is either work yourself into the ground, or starve.”

2. Running in Ukraine

Diyora Shadijanova talks to the Ukrainian people who run daily while war rages around them.

(The Guardian, approx 7 mins reading time)

Plyuyko has participated in 48 marathons in his lifetime. Before retiring, he worked as an engineer and served in the Soviet army. Today, Plyuyko is 75 years old and lives alone in what he describes as “a sleepy part of Kyiv”. Since war broke out, Plyuyko has maintained his schedule of daily outdoor runs, running around 150km in the past two weeks. He laughs when I ask him if he’s scared of running outside. “During my run, I often hear more than 10 explosions which are within a 20km distance,” he says stoically. “What’s the point of worrying? I’ve lived most of my life anyway.”

3. The Godfather

An interview with the legendary Al Pacino on The Godfather and how it catapulted his career to a new level.

(New York Times, approx 14 mins reading time)

“It’s hard to explain in today’s world — to explain who I was at that time and the bolt of lightning that it was,” Pacino said. “I felt like, all of a sudden, some veil was lifted and all eyes were on me. Of course, they were on others in the film. But ‘The Godfather’ gave me a new identity that was hard for me to cope with.” Pacino spoke further about getting hired for and making “The Godfather,” the weight of its legacy and why he never played another film character like Michael Corleone after it.

4. Being a granddad

Ian Martin, who has four grandchildren, on what he loves about the role. 

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

The first epiphany comes early on, with the arrival of your first grandchild and in retrospect hardly qualifies as a surprise at all. It’s the realisation that the heart-swell of unconditional love you felt for your children, unique and unrepeatable, is very much not unique, 100% repeatable, and as infinite as the Marvel Universe. After the “Oh my God it’s happening again!” love-bomb, the dawning of the long surprise. You discover it’s not just the sweeping-strings-and-fireworks love that’s an equal sequel to first-wave parenthood. It’s the beautiful mundanity, the repeated, endless, quotidian love. The comfort of it, the lull and soothe of it, the ordinariness of hanging out, feeling at home with human beings from some strange future. 

5. Wrongful conviction

When he started working at an Amazon fulfillment centre, Hamid Hayat was that someone would google him and discover that he’d been wrongfully convicted of terrorism after 9/11.

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(San Francisco Chronicle, approx 75 mins reading time)

One day early last year, Hamid was having trouble concentrating on his work. He confided in a co-worker that he was feeling “mentally drained” and might need to take a short leave. She asked if he wanted to talk about it. They found a private place to sit.
“Do you know who I am?” Hamid asked her. “Google my name.”
She took out her phone and tapped a few keys.
“I can’t believe it,” she said.
He paused, trying to think of what to say next.

6. Endurance

People were fascinated by the discovery of the Shackleton expedition’s ship Endurance earlier this week. And among the people paying close attention were polar biologists, because of all the animals found to be living on the ship.

(BBC, approx 5 mins reading time)

That there are so many filter-feeders covering the wreck is no surprise. These animals will colonise anything that stands proud of the ocean floor, which in this region of the Weddell Sea would include boulders dropped by passing icebergs. Getting even just a few centimetres above the sediment gives greater opportunity to catch particles of food in the bottom currents. Creatures such as sea squirts will pump water in and out through their two syphons to collect plankton and “marine snow”, which is essentially dead things and faeces that rain down from the sea surface.

… AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

The British Queen is alive and well, but when she was ill with Covid recently, rumours persisted that she had died. This article outlines what will happen when she does pass away.

(The Guardian, approx 36 mins reading time)

There will be bulletins from the palace – not many, but enough. “The Queen is suffering from great physical prostration, accompanied by symptoms which cause much anxiety,” announced Sir James Reid, Queen Victoria’s physician, two days before her death in 1901. “The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close,” was the final notice issued by George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30pm on the night of 20 January 1936. Not long afterwards, Dawson injected the king with 750mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine – enough to kill him twice over – in order to ease the monarch’s suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing presses of the Times, which rolled at midnight.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday

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