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Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

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. I can’t remember

shutterstock_101520898 Memory Memory

Su Meek suffered a head injury as a young mum, and it obliterated her memory. She’s now in her 40s, but can barely remember much of her life.

(New York Magazine, approx 40 mins reading time, 7000 words)

Music is a rare through line between her former and current selves: Shortly after her accident, she’d sat down at a piano and played Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” (a feat she does not remember and never replicated), and when she started playing her drum set a few years ago, she steadily regained the skills she was told she used to have.

2. Lost

The Paley Center for Media / YouTube

Were you a fan of the TV show Lost? Andy Greenwald was – and still misses it. Here, he outlines the things it taught us, about making and watching TV shows.

(New York Magazine, approx 14 mins reading time – 3587 words)

Rewatching the premiere the other night, I was floored by how exceptional it is, especially in comparison to the middling dreck I was sifting through just a week ago. The fearlessness of those first two hours, directed by J.J. Abrams at a reported cost of $14 million, is intoxicating.

3. Pickled Pigs’ Feet

For something a little different – here’s an audio article about some unusual Chinese customs for new mothers… and whether it’s possible to take part in them in modern day US.

Narratively / SoundCloud

(Narratively, approx 5 mins listening time)

4. Greek Robin Hood

Greece Fugitive assilis Paleokostas, center, is escorted by police outside a court building in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki in 2008 AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

This robber was known as the Greek Robin Hood – so though he committed lots of crimes, he became somewhat of a folk hero. But the net was closing in.

(BBC, approx 26 mins reading time – 5212 words)

“As a mountain boy, he had no skills other than stealing to make his living,” says Father Panayiotis, with characteristic generosity towards his former pupil. Between 1979 and 1986, Vassilis and his older brother, Nikos – who didn’t spend long at sea – were allegedly responsible for 27 robberies, mostly the theft of video recorders.

5. A childless life

shutterstock_115992457 Shutterstock Shutterstock

Meghan Daum never wanted to have children of her own, but in her 30s helped a number of needy kids… and found that something changed.

(New Yorker, approx 33 mins reading time – 6658 words)

I’d been told that Matthew’s problems were neither as simple as needing a ride to baseball practice nor as dire as being locked in his bedroom. During our first visit, he told me that what he wanted most was for me to take him to McDonald’s. (The Happy Meal, it turns out, is the meal of choice for the unhappiest kids in the world.) 

6. Meet the early computer programmers 

Great Britain Welwyn Garden City Electronic Brain AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

A new book looks at the six women who worked in wartime secrecy at the University of Pennsylvania on ENIAC, “the world’s first programmable, all-electronic, general-purpose computer”.

(Fortune, approx 18 mins reading time –  3636 words)

 “Somebody gave us a whole stack of blueprints, and these were the wiring diagrams for all the panels, and they said, ‘Here, figure out how the machine works and then figure out how to program it,’” explained McNulty. That required analyzing the differential equations and then determining how to patch the cables to connect to the correct electronic circuits.


Germany Albert Einstein AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Let’s go back to 1933 with this profile of Albert Einstein, who, of course, needs no introduction.

(New Yorker, approx 15 mins reading time – 3102 words)

He had been almost a recluse. His contacts had been with quiet, scholarly men of his own type, and his sudden glory appalled him. Interviewers, photographers, lion-hunters, cause-promoters, testimonial-seekers, and reflected-glory chasers of every kind came swarming into his life. A man of soft, plastic nature, Einstein was helpless in their hands.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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