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Sitdown Sunday 7 deadly reads
The very best of the week’s writing from around the globe.

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 this Sunday.

1. The life of a hustler in New York
Jessica Pressler on the strange existence of Diane Passage, a woman who wants to be paid for and gets what she wants (New York Magazine).

“We went into this little area and he was like, ‘First, go into the restroom and make me wait,’ ” she says. “So I went into the bathroom for like fifteen minutes and I was texting all my friends and then I came out and I kicked him in the nuts and he was like”—she drops her voice down to a meek whisper—“ ‘Thank you.’ ”

2. Three men who thought they were Jesus
Jenny Diski on what happened when three psychiatric patients – each of whom believed they were the Messiah – met each other (London Review of Books).

Joseph said: ‘My name is Joseph Cassel.’ Was there anything else he had to tell the meeting? ‘Yes, I’m God.’ Clyde introduced himself: ‘My name is Clyde Benson. That’s my name straight.’ Did he have any other names? ‘Well, I have other names, but that’s my vital side and I made God five and Jesus six.’

3. The great family experiment
Clifford J Levy took his three American children to Russia and sent them to a school where no English was spoken. This is what happened (New York Times).

All three were starting to converse in Russian, albeit with accents and grammatical errors, as if the language were seeping into their consciousness. “It was kind of like solving a code, because every day, you just have to figure out some new way you have to act,” Danya later told me.

4.The men who lost the revolution
Max Rodenbeck visits the Libyan generals who were the most powerful men in the country, and are now elderly prisoners (New York Review of Books).

Frail and ashen in complexion, General Mbairish chaired the group. During Libya’s revolution he is known to have issued handwritten instructions to “burn the vermin,” meaning the rebels. General Abdu, his ebony face chinless and spectrally gaunt like an African mask, headed Qaddafi’s military police.

5. The only chemist in town
Peter Hessler
visits the pharmacist in Nucla, Colorado – the only one in four thousand square miles (The New Yorker)

At Easter, the Colcord family tradition is to dye eggs, line them up in a pasture, and fire away with a 25-06 Remington. A loyal NRA member, Don describes shooting as essentially peaceful. “Your arm moves up and down every time you breathe, so you control your breathing,” he says. “It’s very similar to meditation.”

6. Being short, but not for long
Leah Finnegan was medically treated for her short stature – then had to decide when she wanted to stop growing (The Morning News).

The solution was thick and milky—and as I learned, the thicker the injection solution, the greater the pain. I administered it on the floor of my parents’ bedroom. It was an agonizing process. My thigh swelled with the burning white liquid. I injected millilitre by millilitre.


In December 1971, David Felton wrote about a strange cult which set up on a hill in Boston, for Rolling Stone.

‘The same dollar that we set out to stamp out has stamped us out and we never even realized it…’ And Mel’s solution? ‘Get together with your friends, pool your resources, make some money, buy a house, take on some responsibilities… we must get together and fight this creeping decay!

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