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Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

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

Michael Freeman

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 basketball coach and the warring gangs
Patrick Radden Keefe on how FBI agent James Gagliano is trying to clean up the crime-ravaged town where he taught some gangbangers basketball (New York Magazine).

The graffiti-scarred residential streets running off it are narrow and one-way, which creates a claustrophobic intimacy between the gangbangers and the local constabulary. “They know every car when it makes the block,” says one Newburgh police officer. “They know which cop is going to jump out of his car, which cop is going to keep driving. It’s like prisoners watching prison guards.

2. Does the Euro have a future?
Veteran financier George Soros explains the debt crisis – and gives his view on whether the currency can survive (New York Review of Books).

To start with, it is imperative to prepare for the possibility of default and defection from the eurozone in the case of Greece, Portugal, and perhaps Ireland. To prevent a financial meltdown, four sets of measures would have to be taken.

3. Two chancers and their million-dollar empire
Benjamin Wallace on how two “garden-variety internet hustlers” spun computer users’ fear into a multimillion-dollar business (Wired).

The plan worked. People were so spooked by the Blaster worm, a coworker would later recall, that Jain boasted he could be selling “a block of ice” and still make money. Soon, IMI was pulling in $1 million a month.

4. Handing out the verdicts that change lives
Heather Kovich on her time processing disability claimants, and the 40 minutes she spent deciding each one’s fate (Guernica).

The receptionist showed me around the office, and pointed out where I could discreetly watch the claimants walk back out to their cars. This was so I could see if a limp disappeared, or a wheelchair went unused, once the claimant had left the office. “I’m sorry to say it but you’ll meet the scum of the earth doing this job,” she explained.

5. Girls on screen
The Office screenwriter Mindy Kaling gives her rundown of movie roles available to the fairer sex (The New Yorker).

The Klutz clangs into stop signs while riding her bike and knocks over giant displays of fine china in department stores. Despite being five feet nine and weighing a hundred and ten pounds, she is basically like a drunk buffalo who has never been a part of human society. But Fred Tom loves her anyway.

6. Where Gaddafi lived
Robert F Worth goes inside the compound where Libya’s fugitive leader spent his days (New York Times).

Afterward, he drove us to another intelligence building, where the lights and air-conditioning were still on, as if the Qaddafi men had run out earlier that morning. The rooms were full of odd, often sinister detritus: boxes full of Libyan and foreign passports, including blanks; a blue bag full of needles with injection tubes attached; surgical masks and gloves.


IN April 2007, Gene Weingarten set out to discover whether one of America’s greatest classical musicians could cut it as a rush-hour busker, for the Washington Post.

By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.

Read more: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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Michael Freeman

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