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Sitdown Sunday 7 deadly reads

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. Inside the world of the Hollywood paparazzi
Philip Bethge meets ‘the thugs of the telephoto lens’ to discover a high-stakes world of hunters and hunted (Der Spiegel).

Navarre’s cell phone rings. “Kim Kardashian just left her place,” he reports. Even if, by Hollywood standards, the reality-TV star (with an estimated annual income of $6 million) is merely a B-list celebrity, photos of her will probably still be worth a few thousand dollars.

2. The story of a teenage suicide
Ian Parker tells the story of gay student Tyler Clementi, who was spied on by his college roommate and took his own life (New Yorker).

At six minutes past midnight, Tam offered Ravi a summary. The roommate was “a gay person who asks a lot of questions, is mostly techno illiterate, and makes tshirt ideas.” Ravi replied, “I’m literally the opposite of that.”

3. What does sliced bread mean to us?
Aaron Bobrow-Strain tries to recreate the white bread of the 1950s, when US nutritionists set out to transform the world’s loaves (The Believer).

I am dividing a loaf into 1.5-centimeter slices. The loaf’s tranches articulate a white fanned deck, each one the exact counterpart of its fellows. The bread is smooth and uniform, like a Bauhaus office block. Each symmetrical slice shines so white it is almost blue.

4. Turning garbage into gas
David Wolman on a revolutionary technology that could transform our landfills of rubish into usable fuel (Wired).

Not all the trash arriving at Columbia Ridge has ended up buried. On the southwest side of the landfill, bus-sized containers of gas connect to ribbons of piping, which run into a building that looks like an airplane hangar with a loading dock.

5. Electrocuted almost to death
John Jeremiah Sullivan writes about what happened to his musician brother after he was electrocuted by a microphone (Deadspin).

Without warning all six feet and four inches of his body came to life, writhing against the restraints and what looked like a thousand invasions of his orifices and skin. His head reared back, and his eyes swung open on me. The pupils were almost nonexistent.

6. Why ending a war is harder than starting it
Luke Mogelson on the soldiers trying to wind down the war in Afghanistan’s most dangerous place (New York Times).

We pushed past a cornfield toward another village farther east. Whole families were running away. Sisson noticed, on a distant ridge, the silhouette of a lone figure and the glint of something metal catch the sun. “We got a spotter,” he told de Maria.


In June 2010, Katy Butler wrote for the New York Times about the pacemaker that kept her father alive beyond his time, and the struggle to turn it off.

My father said he came to believe that she would have been better off if he had died. “She’d have weeped the weep of a widow,” he told me in his garbled, poststroke speech, on a walk we took together in the fall of 2002. “And then she would have been all right.” It was hard to tell which of them was suffering more.

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