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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: He loved grizzly bears - but his obsession led to his grisly death

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. What wearing a FitBit taught me

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The ace writer David Sedaris got a FitBit, and found that it just made him (because of his competitive nature) walk and walk. And luckily for him, this helped him discover more about the world around him.

(Independent, approx 20 mins reading time)

During the first few weeks that I had it, I’d return to my hotel at the end of the day, and when I discovered that I’d taken a total of, say, 12,000 steps, I’d go out for another 3,000. ”But why?” my boyfriend Hugh asked when I told him about it. “Why isn’t 12,000 enough?” ”Because,” I told him, “my Fitbit thinks I can do better.”

2. Journey to freedom

Romania Economy Protest IMF A picture of the late communist dictator of Romania Nicolae Ceausescu, is seen during a protest in Bucharest, Romania Source: Associated Press

When she was five, journalist Rukmini Callimachi was told by her mother that she was being brought on a trip to Paris. Instead, she was brought to Europe in an attempt to escape communist Romania. Here’s her story.

(New York Times, approx 8 mins reading time)

The train left Bucharest, and hours later we crossed into Hungary. My grandmother opened her prayer book to the picture of the Virgin Mary. The page was stained the color of her lipstick from all the times she had kissed the image.

3. The rise of the Weeknd

Source: TheWeekndVEVO/YouTube

You’ve probably heard ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’, by The Weeknd by now. But did you know that just a few years ago, he was an underground artist who people didn’t imagine would become a superstar? Here’s his story.

(NY Mag, approx 15 mins reading time)

But not very long ago, in 2011, Tesfaye was a relatively obscure artist in Toronto, averse to the spotlight and comfortable with his own brand of success. Today, the self-professed “man of few words” is sharing a stage with Taylor Swift, starring in Apple Music commercials with John Travolta, popping up on Kanye West’s “dance music” playlist. How did this happen, and so quickly?

4. The fight in defense of extreme porn

myles jackman Source:

Myles Jackman is a lawyer who sees it as his mission to change the obscenity laws in Britain. This in-depth article looks at the unusual cases he fights, and his own history.

Reader note: This story contains references to extreme sexual practices.

(The Guardian, approx 41 mins reading time)

On the streets of north Wales, in the newspapers and all over the internet, Holland quickly became known as “the tiger-porn guy”. As he told me, the consequences were “worse than being dead”. Vigilantes staked out his house. Hate mail and excrement were posted through his letterbox. He was banned from seeing his daughter for 18 months. He had a heart attack.

5. Defending the worst of the worst

Judy Clarke Source: Reed Saxon

Judy Clarke was the defence lawyer who represented Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in court. It’s her job to defend people like him – and to try and make sure they don’t get the death penalty. Almost every time, she has succeeded. Except this time.

(New Yorker, approx 56 mins reading time)

Clarke may be the best death-penalty lawyer in America. Her efforts helped spare the lives of Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Zacarias Moussaoui (the so-called “twentieth hijacker” in the 9/11 plot), and Jared Loughner (who killed six people and wounded thirteen others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, at a Tucson mall). “Every time Judy takes a new case, it’s a soul-searching process for her,” Clarke’s old friend Elisabeth Semel told me. “Because it’s an enormous responsibility.”

6. Sentenced to death, but who did it?

shutterstock_157065551 Source: Shutterstock/Tupungato

This long and in-depth story is about a double murder in Chicago 33 years ago. One man was sentenced to death for the crime. But in 1999, another man confessed to it. Now both men are free from jail.

(Atavist, approx 79 mins reading time)

The convictions were based on the recollections of a bystander, who claimed to have seen the defendants in the vicinity of the crimes, and the testimony of the girlfriend of one of the accused assailants, who told police she’d been present for the rape.


timothy treadwell Source: YouTube

Timothy Treadwell loved grizzly bears. In fact, he lived for them. But he met a tragic end at the paws of the animal he adored the most.

(Vanity Fair, approx 48 mins reading time)

The golden couple, Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, lived by bears and died by bears. He was 46, she 37. They looked younger than their ages, and increasingly they looked alike: lean, fit, beach-blond. Neither was Alaskan, except in their minds, which had become tuned to that strange frequency that pulls a rare few into the deep wilderness, and ever closer to the line separating humans and animals.

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

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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