This week's picks include Fortune Magazine, the Dallas Observer, Priceonomics, Project Wordsworth, the Toronto Sun, fiction from The New Yorker and a guest pick by Emily Schultz.
[Fiction] A young man, estranged from his girlfriend, receives experimental stem-cell treatment in Germany:
"Hayley wasn’t coming. It was pretty obvious. Julian sat shivering in the chill, listening for the 9:13. Then the 9:41. Then the 10:02. He was tired. In winter, he sometimes caught a fever. His arms burned hot, as if a flame were being held to his skin. This was the nerves dying, an Internet confidant had explained. Of course his immune system wanted him dead. It knew. It was making the call on behalf of the wider society. It was taking him out. In the larger project of the universe, of which he must necessarily be kept in the dark, his own existence appeared to be an obstacle. So the species makes an adjustment. It redacts."
PUBLISHED: May 14, 2013
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7397 words)
This week's picks include pieces from Allie Brosh, The Believer, Miami New Times, GQ, The New Yorker, fiction from Guernica and a guest pick by Michael Macher.
A brief history of the rock legend's style and fashions:
"Bowie’s image was as carefully contrived for album covers as for the actual musical performances: Sukita Masayoshi’s black-and-white photograph of Bowie posing like a mannequin doll on the cover of 'Heroes' (1977), or Bowie stretched out on a blue velvet sofa like a Pre-Raphaelite pinup in a long satin dress designed by Mr. Fish for The Man Who Sold the World (1971), or Guy Peellaert’s lurid drawing of Bowie as a 1920s carnival freak for Diamond Dogs (1974).
"All these images were created by Bowie himself, in collaboration with other artists. He drew his inspiration from anything that happened to catch his fancy: Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin of the 1930s, Hollywood divas of the 1940s, Kabuki theater, William Burroughs, English mummers, Jean Cocteau, Andy Warhol, French chansons, Buñuel’s surrealism, and Stanley Kubrick’s movies, especially A Clockwork Orange, whose mixture of high culture, science fiction, and lurking menace suited Bowie to the ground. Artists and filmmakers have often created interesting results by refining popular culture into high art. Bowie did the opposite: he would, as he once explained in an interview, plunder high art and take it down to the street; that was his brand of rock-and-roll theater."
PUBLISHED: May 7, 2013
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3932 words)
[Fiction, National Magazine Awards finalist] A lapsed Christian Scientist meets a woman escaping her past:
"Seamus lived in Wheaton, Maryland, in the last house on a quiet street that dead-ended at a county park. He’d bought the entire property, including a rental unit out back, at a decent price. This was after the housing market crashed but before people knew how bad it would get—back when he was still a practicing Christian Scientist, still had a job and a girlfriend he’d assumed he would marry. Now, two years later, he was single, faithless, and unemployed. The money his mother had loaned him for a down payment was starting to look more like a gift, as were the checks she’d been sending for the last year to help him cover the mortgage. His life was in disrepair, but for the first time in months he wasn’t thinking about any of that: he was sitting out back on a warm spring day with a woman. Her name was Charity, and she was a stranger."
PUBLISHED: May 6, 2013
LENGTH: 48 minutes (12042 words)
[Fiction] A man reaches out to the woman who lives above him:
"Peter was an agoraphobic. He couldn’t tell you what that was a year ago, but he could describe to you now what it feels like to stand by the front door and feel the heat radiate off of the knob, so sure it could burn you if you touch it. He never would have guessed when he rented this one-bedroom basement apartment that it could become his waking coffin, that he would let her death bury him alive. It was the first place he found on Craigslist, the woman who owned the house was the first landlord to return his call, and he took it without inspecting the toilet or looking closer at the cracks in the ceiling."
PUBLISHED: April 16, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2999 words)
The author on writing nonfiction and fiction, and the current state of criticism:
"BLVR: There has been a lot of talk recently about the rules of criticism. When is it too mean? When is it too nice? The internet makes it so that you’re very much aware of the human you’re writing about—you don’t want to see them in pain. It’s good for the critic’s psychology, but maybe not so great for criticism.
"RA: Well, it used to be one way a young writer made it in New York. He would attack, in a small obscure publication, someone very strong, highly regarded, whom a few people may already have hated. Then the young writer might gain a small following. When he looked for a job, an assignment, and an editor asked, 'What have you published?' he could reply, 'Well, this piece.' The editor might say, 'Oh, yeah, that was met with a lot of consternation.' And a portfolio began. This isn’t the way it goes now. More like a race to join the herd of received ideas and agreement."
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3161 words)
[Fiction] A previously unpublished sci-fi story by the writer and film critic, who died on April 4 at age 70:
"'This is a vague idea,' said Regan. 'I'm still working on it. Titan evolves molecules that group in such a way that they, oh, get together, like, and don't actually communicate, like, but prowl around in non-self-conscious collective-information patterns. That's what we're hearing, now that we're closer to the source.'
"'There's only one way this is going,' Alex said. 'A lunar intelligence.'
"'Intelligence is not required,' Regan said. 'All that's needed are patterns that move more easily than other patterns. Patterns that lend themselves to pattern-originators. The way of least resistance. We don't like sulfur, but it's yummy for the deep-sea plumes.'"
Read more from the Longreads Roger Ebert Archive
PUBLISHED: April 4, 2013
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2410 words)
[Fiction] A woman struggles to deal with personal problems:
"My classroom was on the first floor, next to the nuns’ lounge. I used their bathroom to puke in the mornings. One nun always dusted the toilet seat with talcum powder. Another nun plugged the sink and filled it with water. I never understood the nuns. One was old and the other was young. The young one talked to me sometimes, asked me what I would do for the long weekend, if I’d see my folks over Christmas, and so forth. The old one looked the other way and twisted her robes in her fists when she saw me coming."
PUBLISHED: April 1, 2013
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4145 words)