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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. The battles of ‘Dr Schnoz’
Michael E Miller on Dr Michael Salzhauer, controversial plastic surgeon and YouTube star (Miami New Times).

His assistant hands him a footlong metal rasp and Salzhauer goes to work, filing down the bump on his patient’s nose with a carpenter’s zeal. From time to time, he stops to cauterise a gushing vein or two. “It’s like barbecue,” he says nonchalantly.

2. The Wire’s creator on policing and the media
David Simon explains how one city massages its crime statistics – and the role journalists have to play in exposing it (

Most of those who argue that new-media journalism is growing, exploding even, in a democratic burst of egalitarian, from-all-points-on-the-compass reportage are simply never talking about beat reporting of a kind that includes qualitative judgment and analysis.

3. My father’s last words
Mark Warren on what his father left him, and the words he used (Esquire).

Daddy was at such cross purposes with the world that he came back from fighting the Nazis with antipathy for the English and warm reminiscences of the Germans, and speaking auf Deutsch. Mach schnell! he would bark at us.  Kommen Sie hier! German is such a warm language when hollered at children in this way.

4. Inside the Vatican
Fiona Ehlers on the chaos and discord prevailing inside the Holy See, and what Pope Benedict is doing (Der Spiegel).

“The only important thing is proximity to the monarch,” says a member of a cardinal’s staff. Rome works like an absolutist court, one in which decisions are made by people whispering things into the others’ ears rather than by committees. “There are many vain people here, people in sharp competition with one another.”

5. What’s happening with ‘bath salts’
Natasha Vargas-Cooper on the semi-legal drug reaching epidemic proportions across the US (Spin).

Carefully, he breaks the rock in half with a plastic room key and begins to cut lines. It’s less powdery than cocaine, and grainier. John snorts a line. “This tastes way different from the other stuff we’ve done,” he says with a grimace and a hard swallow.

6. JFK, his wife, and his mistress
Caitlin Flanagan on how people like to remember Kennedy, and what we like to forget (Atlantic).

He was romantic, sharing late-night dinners with her and putting love songs on the record player, and he was sexually sadistic, asking her to perform sexual services on his friend Dave Powers—the president’s “leprechaun”—which she once did (while JFK stood in the pool and watched), to her everlasting regret.


In 2004, Jonathan Franzen wrote for the New Yorker about his childhood and Charlie Brown.

She gathered me in her arms, which was probably the main thing I’d been dreading. I stood there stiffly while she hugged me. “Tom and Dad had a terrible fight,” she said. “After you went to bed. They had a terrible fight, and Tom got his things and left the house, and we don’t know where he went.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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