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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 6 July, 2020

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. Painting naked women

Source: ODelle Abney/YouTube

Artist Aleah Chapin is known for painting huge portraits of naked women. Here, she tells the Telegraph what she’s learned through her work – and why some people dislike seeing real women’s bodies.

(The Telegraph, approx 12 mins reading time, 2534 words)

Her paintings challenge the ageing process: how the years affect our bodies and minds, and how we’re ‘supposed’ to behave at a certain age. So there’s a giant canvas on which a group of nine grey-haired women play an exaggerated, child-like game, crawling through each other’s legs.

2. Defecting from North Korea

South Korea Koreas Tension Source: Lee Jin-man

These young people defected from North Korea, and their experiences make grim and fascinating reading.

(Mother Jones, approx 12 mins reading time, 2591 words)

Jae became so hungry as a child that he had taken to eating tree bark. A middle-aged woman who now works at a defector-run radio station in Seoul told me that when she arrived in South Korea, she assumed that the heaps of rice and hard-boiled eggs that greeted her at the defector integration center were some sort of propagandistic joke. In North Korea, she said, a hard-boiled egg traditionally was given to a person dying of hunger

3. What a douchebag

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 20.51.00 Source: Gawker

Is there such thing as a racist slur against white people? Here are Michael Mark Cohen’s thoughts.

(Gawker, approx 15 mins reading time, 3008 words)

The point of this sanctioned spewing of hate speech is that none of these words can hurt me.Because am an individual. I can choose to not be offended. White racial slurs are not common in our colorblind age because they don’t work on people who posses white privilege. When they do work, like “redneck” or “cracker,” it’s a matter of class politics.

4. Is anybody listening?

Warning over mental health support Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

What happens when you’re a student in Ireland feeling the strain on your mental health?

(Trinity News, approx 11 mins reading time, 2296 words)

One student, Abby, found that her experience led her to question how well doctors are trained to deal with mental health issues. When she was a DCU student seven years ago, she sought help from the college doctor after a period of self-harming, going into the doctor’s office shaking and crying.

5. Lunch with Russell Brand

Question Time Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

There’s nothing as entertaining as lunch with Russell Brand, one would think. Here are his thoughts on sex, fame, money and politics.

(Financial Times, approx 29 mins reading time, 5835 words)

I point out that I’m not the only one propping up the system. What about Brand’s chauffeur-driven Merc outside? He replies that his chauffeur, Mick, is a really great guy and a friend – which is nice but not the point.

6. Being a Man

Grayson Perry receives Honorary Doctorate Grayson Perry Source: Nick Ansell

Artist Grayson Perry explores what it means to be a man in today’s world – and the idea of the Great White Male. What are your thoughts on this piece?

(The New Statesman, approx 18 mins reading time, 3681 imwords)

The Great White Male’s combination of good education, manners, charm, confidence and sexual attractiveness (or “money”, as I like to call it) means he has a strong grip on the keys to power. Of course, the main reason he has those qualities in the first place is what he is, not what he has achieved.


Mexico City of Books Source: AP/Press Association Images

You can’t beat Alan Bennett writing about, well anything. Here he is on libraries, back in 2011.

(London Review of Books, approx 25 mins reading time, 5002 words)

I have always been happy in libraries, though without ever being entirely at ease there. A scene that seems to crop up regularly in plays that I have written has a character, often a young man, standing in front of a bookcase feeling baffled. He – and occasionally she – is overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that has been written and the ground to be covered.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by >

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