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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. Love on Death Row
She was a landscape architect in New York; he was a convict sentenced to execution for the murder of a child. Geoffrey Gray on an unusual romance (New York Times).

The fluorescent lights in his cell came on for breakfast at 2:30 a.m.; lunch was at 9:30 a.m., dinner at 2:30 p.m. He rarely ate, and he’d lost some 50 pounds, going down to 130. There was a small television inside his cell.

“I’ve taken the habit of watching ‘The Price Is Right’ in the mornings,” he wrote. “Sometimes I even talk to Bob.”

2. The man who sailed his house
Michael Paterniti on the incredible story of Hiromitsu Shinkawa, who was found alive nine miles out to sea after the Japanese tsunami (GQ).

My name is Hiromitsu. I just want to report that I am still alive on the twelfth and was with my wife, Yuko, yesterday. She was born January 12 of Showa 26. SOS. I’m in a lot of trouble. Sorry for dying before you. Please forgive me.

3. The trouble with Piers Morgan
Benjamin Wallace on the man on top of the TV world – and the tabloid past that just won’t let him go (New York magazine).

At a New Kids on the Block concert outside London in 1991, Donnie Wahlberg wore a PIERS MORGAN SUCKS T-shirt. Sinéad O’Connor told him in a letter that he was a “crawling sliming little gutter maggot” — an epithet Morgan proudly shared with the world. After Morgan twice ran photographs of Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson with a woman who wasn’t his wife, Clarkson physically assaulted him.

4. Monster truck mamas
Margaret Eby meets the working mothers who drive giant car-crushing monster trucks part time (Slate).

The Westons own several monster trucks: the full-size hulking Black Knight, which Nancy occasionally drives; the half-size Monster Bear, named by KJ and designed to fit his tiny frame; and another smaller one, Sir Crush-a-Lot, for KJ’s six-year-old brother, Jake.

5. The road to the South Pole
Mark Jenkins retraces the brutal journey undertaken by Roald Amundsen before he became the first man to the pole (Outside).

During the night, blankets of snow piled up on them, at first muffling the sound of the roaring wind, eventually extinguishing it. The moisture from the brothers’ slow breathing iced the interiors of their snow holes. The snow’s weight nearly cemented their bodies in place. They were almost buried alive.

6. All the single ladies
Kate Bolick on the recent explosion in male joblessness – and what that means for women (The Atlantic).

Had I made the biggest mistake of my life? Ten years later, I occasionally ask myself the same question. Today I am 39, with too many ex-boyfriends to count and, I am told, two grim-seeming options to face down: either stay single or settle for a “good enough” mate.


In 1966, Gay Talese spent a long time trying to interview Frank Sinatra for Esquire. He never did; but he talked to all Sinatra’s hangers-on, and watched the man from afar.

That night dozens of people, some of them casual friends of Sinatra’s, some mere acquaintances, some neither, appeared outside of Jilly’s saloon. They approached it like a shrine. They had come to pay respect. They were from New York, Brooklyn, Atlantic City, Hoboken. They were old actors, young actors, former prizefighters, tired trumpet players, politicians, a boy with a cane.

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

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