Five great reads: a mysterious death at sea, dystopias set in 2022 and the joy of ugly fruit

Good morning to everyone except those just returning from annual leave, to whom I offer my condolences instead. This is Five Great Reads, a weekday summer story wrap that does what it says on the tin, selected by me, Guardian Australia’s canned food, candles and courtship editor, Alyx Gorman.

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Usually, at this point I’d be giving you a brief summary of today’s biggest headlines before moving on to the reads. But fortunately – for me at least – my colleagues at the Morning Mail have returned to work, so I’ll gladly leave that task in their expert hands. Spoiler: a lot of not-great stuff happening.

But also, some great reads. Let’s talk about them!

  1. Camera pans across a smouldering ruin. The year is 2022
    For decades, directors have selected 2022 as a particularly ill-fated year. What can we learn from old movies, set in the present?

Which directors? What movies? Richard “Soylent Green is people” Fleischer, for one. Also the original Purge film, which actually came true a year and two days earlier than expected.

Best descriptive phrase: “Admirably dumb eco-spectacle.”

Bonus read: What with it feeling so close to home, contemporary apocalypse films are delivering a cinematic experience that’s less spectacular and more intimate.

  1. A mysterious death at sea
    Arnold Latu was found dead in his berth. His is one of more than a dozen cases of fisheries observers dying on the job since 2009.

Notable quote: “Latu’s death is still a mystery for us,” said his longtime friend Benny Jagroop. “So if you ask what [is] the speculation around Arnold’s death, for real I have no idea.”

How long will it take me to read? About three minutes.

  1. Exercising through back pain
    It helps! But it’s hard. Here’s a guide to getting started, from core-strengthening classes to moves you can do at home.

Notable quote: “Any single treatment in low back pain is never enough by itself,” says Assoc Prof Michael Vagg, a pain medicine physician. “But exercise is a fundamental part of recovering from low back pain and managing it if it becomes persistent.”

My back doesn’t hurt. Lucky you! But, if you are one of the millions of Australians living with another form of ongoing pain or illness, keep your eyes peeled. This story is part of a series How to move, and there’s more advice on exercise and chronic conditions coming. The first, which ran yesterday, tackled rheumatoid arthritis.

  1. ‘The Hoodoo Gurus’ crew are stuck in the elevator’
    The Go-Betweens’ Lindy Morrison on the gig she’ll never forget: Roskilde, 1987.

Setting the scene: “I had bought the cookie from an ingratiating post-punk hippie. My musician mate disappears. I lean against a tent post.”

I’m intrigued. How long is the read? Only two minutes or so.

  1. An easy win: eating ugly fruit
    Why an imperfect produce box will get you eating fresher for less.

But it’s a weird shape! A weird shape that fights food waste.