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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. From hotel reviewer to war correspondent
Lonely Planet author Kate Grace Thomas on her experiences in Libya’s revolution (Guernica).

I was writing a guidebook to a country that no longer exists; a country where busloads of Italian tourists gathered around hotel buffets; where billboards advertised the Qaddafi brand [...] The guidebook I researched was a guidebook to the past.

2. Inside the heart of Twitter
Joe Hagan visits the headquarters of Twitter, and asks whether the phenomenon will ever turn a profit (New York Magazine).

“All right, I’m ready to Tweet!” It’s the president of the United States, clapping his hands and walking down a hallway in the White House. A group of Twitter staffers receive him in the green room outside the West Wing.

3. The radio station left over from the Cold War
North of Moscow, an isolated radio antenna has been broadcasting a mysterious series of noises for 30 years. Peter Savodnik investigates (Wired).

The following day, the broadcast resumed as if nothing had happened. For the rest of June and July, UVB-76 behaved more or less as it always had. There were some short-lived perturbations—including bits of what sounded like Morse code—but nothing dramatic. In mid-August, the buzzing stopped again.

4. California and bust
Michael Lewis, who famously wrote about Ireland’s economic collapse, gives the Golden State the same treatment – and meets Arnie along the way (Vanity Fair).

When he wants to cross three lanes of fast traffic he doesn’t so much as glance over his shoulder but just sticks out his hand and follows it, assuming that whatever is behind him will stop. His bike has at least 10 speeds, but he has just 2: zero and pedaling as fast as he can. Inside half a mile he’s moving fast enough that wind-induced tears course down his cheeks.

5. The money that just kept growing
What happens when you put money in a savings account and just leave it there? Very strange things, as Paul Collins finds out (Lapham’s Quarterly).

Thanks to an eccentric New York lawyer in the 1930s, this college in a corner of the Catskills inherited a thousand-year trust that would not mature until the year 2936: a gift whose accumulated compound interest, the New York Times reported in 1961, “could ultimately shatter the nation’s financial structure.”

6. Battleground state for sale
Jane Mayer on the multi-millionaire pouring money into the swing state of North Carolina, and the Democrats’ battle against him (The New Yorker).

“In a very real sense, Democrats running for office in North Carolina are always running against Art Pope. The Republican agenda in North Carolina is really Art Pope’s agenda. He sets it, he funds it, and he directs the efforts to achieve it. The candidates are just fronting for him.”


Murder accused Amanda Knox was freed on appeal this week. Earlier this year, Nathaniel Rich wrote about her ordeal for Rolling Stone.

Her killer did a bad job. It was amateur work: There were bloody fingerprints and footprints all over the apartment, and the killer even defecated in the toilet and forgot to flush. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Whoever murdered Meredith Kercher didn’t know how to use a knife.

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

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

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