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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

Sitdown Sunday: The secret world of the mysterious Enya

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. The years of living dangerously

syrian comic Source: Mother Jones

Didn’t know about the links between Syria’s conflict and climate change? This comic, written by Audrey Quinn and illustrated by Jackie Roche, will fill you in.

(Mother Jones, approx 10 mins reading time)

President Bashar al-Assad offered little help. His government awarded well rights along political lines, so farmers had to drill their own illegal wells. And people who spoke out against him regularly faced imprisonment, torture and even death.

2. Enya’s kingdom

Enya Portrait Session Source: AP/Press Association Images

Enya is one of Ireland’s most famous singers, but rarely do you get a glimpse into her personal life. Buzzfeed (lucky them) got to visit her in her Manderley estate, and here’s what they discovered.

(Buzzfeed, approx 30 mins reading time)

There are no photos of Enya in pants, or without the makeup that emphasizes her alabaster skin and dark, pooling eyes. Her look, like her sound, is markedly different from the norms of musical celebrity: her pitch black hair trimmed short, her clothes Arthurian. On her album covers, Enya’s always posed against a backdrop of nature or old regency; the cover of her 1988 breakthrough album Watermark renders her the subject of an impressionist painting.

3. Anguish and escape

Mideast Islamic State File photo Source: AP/Press Association Images

Three former Isis women, who were members of its morality police, tell their stories of being trapped, and how they escaped.

(New York Times, approx 32 mins reading time)

Dua sat back down and watched as the other officers took the women into a back room to be whipped. When they removed their face-concealing niqabs, her friends were also found to be wearing makeup. It was 20 lashes for the abaya offense, five for the makeup, and another five for not being meek enough when detained.

4. The problem with ‘quick’ recipes

shutterstock_250750660 Source: Shutterstock/Milles Studio

If you’re baffled by the phrase ‘easy cooking’, and find yourself spending too much time making ‘quick’ recipes, or just eating cheese toasties at night, this essay is for you.

(The Atlantic, approx 17 mins reading time)

The problem is that none of this actually easy. Not the one-minute pie dough or the quick kale chips or the idiot-proof Massaman curry, every last ounce of which is made from scratch, from ingredients that are sourced and bought and lugged home and washed, peeled, chopped, mixed, and cooked. Meanwhile, technology has made appetising, affordable cooking alternatives easier and easier to come by.

5. A life out of the spotlight

UMass-Gordon Basketball Source: AP/Press Association Images

Derrick Gordon made history by becoming the first openly gay player in Division I men’s basketball. Here’s what happened afterwards.

(ESPN, approx 27 mins reading time)

Gordon soon realised, however, that a picture he’d Instagrammed earlier that night had inadvertently been geo-tagged, triggering the teammate’s question. Weeks later, the locker room also discovered that Gordon had liked an Instagram photo in which he was posing alongside a man who was, as the team suspected, his boyfriend at the time. When confronted, Gordon repeatedly denied he was gay. “I’ve never run away before,” he says. “But that’s the time I really wanted to.”

6. Tracy Morgan’s comeback

YE New Jerseys Big Stories Source: AP/Press Association Images

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in a serious car accident last year, which left him with head trauma, temporary blindness and depression. But now, things are looking up.

(GQ, approx 17 mins reading time)

Did you learn something in the recovery process that hadn’t occurred to you before?
Yeah: People care. People care a lot, that’s what I learned. People care. There’s so much negativity in the world that sometimes you feel like you could give up, and I had people who took care of me after the accident, and they never let me go. I feel it nowadays when I’m in the streets, when people say, “We love you. We miss you. We pray for you. We are so thankful that you’re on your feet.”


shutterstock_141915040 Source: Shutterstock/Stokkete

In the 1960s and 70s, oral historian and radio broadcaster Studs Terkel met women doing a variety of jobs around the US. Here’s what they told him about their lives.

(Longform, approx 23 mins reading time)

I think what we had to work for. I used to work for $1.50 a week. This is five days a week, sometimes six. If you live in the servant quarter, your time is never off, because if they decide to have a party at night, you gotta come out. My grandmother, I remember when she used to work, we’d get milk and a pound of butter, I mean this was pay. I’m thinkin’ about what my poor parents worked for, gettin’ nothing. What do the white think about when they think? Do they ever think about what they would do?

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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