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‘So What Do You Do?’: A Reading List

This week's picks from Emily includes stories from Politico, Vela Magazine, McSweeney's, and Mother Jones.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 2, 2014

Reading List: One in Seven Billion

Picks from Emily Perper, a freelance editor and reporter who blogs about her favorite longreads at Diet Coker. This week's picks include stories from the The Tampa Bay Times, Columbia Journalism Review, Andrew Yellis, and Vela Magazine.
PUBLISHED: July 28, 2013

Lessons of Grief

Amy Butcher describes the experience of mourning a person she barely knew. An excerpt from Butcher's memoir-in-progress:

"This is what happens now. I feel sadness about everything. I have no idea, of course, what Emily did or did not see, because of course I have no reason to mourn a woman I barely knew.

"'It's not like you were friends,' someone told me once. 'So it's scary, sure—that proximity—but you don’t have a claim in all this sadness.'

"As if sadness is an entity one seeks desperately to call one's own."
PUBLISHED: May 13, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3449 words)

On the Rails in Phnom Penh

A writer on tourism and the perils of addiction in Cambodia, as contrasted against her own daily routine in Phnom Penh:

"'I’ve been robbed seventeen times this year,' he’d say, eyes trained down in a sallow fury. 'They take my phone, my money, even my shoes.'

"I didn’t go out much at night but seventeen seemed an excessive number.

''You know he doesn’t actually get robbed,' Sammy whispered one day.

"'What do you mean?'

"'George told me,' he said matter-of-factly. 'He was coming home one night and saw Paul, outta his mind on ice and God knows what else. Hollering and screaming and carrying on. And get this,' Sammy pressed his fingertip into the plastic tabletop and leaned in. 'He was pulling shit outta his pockets. And just throwing it' — Sammy flicked his thick hands open — 'everywhere. The security guards were all laughing. And then, then he took off his shoes and chucked those too.'

"Sammy threw his hands up then let them flop back down in his lap."
PUBLISHED: June 25, 2012
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4428 words)