Vivid, shiver-inducing, short story excerpts stud “The Summer People of Shirley Jackson and Kelly Link” over at Longreads. On conjuring a story with the same title as Jackson’s original, iconic, and creepy “The Summer People,” Kelly Link says, “I liked the idea of writing a story where all the play between Jackson’s story and mine would come from the reader, rather than from me.”...more
Posts Tagged: Longreads
The deeper I get into this life of writing and making things, the more I understand that I don’t know. … As long as I feel like I’m trying to speak as much truth as I possibly can, and people are willing to publish this and I do the best job I possibly can, then that’s all I can really worry about.
For Longreads, Jaime Green writes about the narrative styles employed in exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History. Green focuses on the work of one of the AMNH’s directors, Albert E. Parr, and his efforts to connect the science of the museum with the lives of its visitors:
Rather than showing one isolated capsule, the new hall would encompass nature and the human world….
Rachel Kincaid writes for Autostraddle on the twisted power dynamics inherent in witch trials, both in history and fiction, in the past and in the present day:
But what rings most dangerously prophetic about Salem is the ideology that suggests imagining the most helpless and vulnerable in our communities as the most powerful, in a kind of 1984-esque doublethink that provides a rationale for causing as much harm as one wishes to that group.
When I talked to him that weekend, he explained I couldn’t have been pregnant because we hadn’t had sex. He knew because he and his dad sometimes hired a bull and watched it work. He’d had sex himself, in the past.
At Longreads, Elissa Strauss analyzes the economics and frustrations that come with giving low-income children a summer....more
If someone asked to me to sum up what is great about my country, I would probably tell them about Apollo 11, about the four hundred thousand people who worked to make the impossible come true within eight years, about how it changed me to see the space-scarred Columbia capsule in a museum as a child, about how we came in peace for all mankind.
Longreads gifts us newly translated fiction from Antonio Tabucci:
He must be almost ninety, he spends his afternoons gazing out the window at New York’s skyscrapers, a Puerto Rican girl comes each morning to tidy up his apartment, she brings him a dish from Tony’s Café that he reheats in the microwave, and after he listens religiously to the old Béla Bartók records that he knows by heart, he ventures out for a short walk to the entrance of Central Park, in his armoire, in a plastic garment bag, he preserves his general’s uniform, and when he returns from the park, he opens its door and pats the uniform twice on the shoulder, like he would an old friend, then he goes to bed, he’s told me he doesn’t dream, but if he does, it’s only of the sky over the Hungarian plains, he thinks that must be the effect of the sleeping pill an American doctor prescribed.
Ideally, online longform nonfiction combines the strengths of the print world with those of the Internet, granting writers the rigorous editing and reporting resources they’d get at a magazine but freeing them from the constraints of word limits and limited audiences....more
We haven’t stopped creating fairy tales and folklore—we just do it online now.
For Aeon magazine, Will Wiles has a splendid longread about “creepypasta,” the phenomenon of writing and disseminating scary stories on the Internet.
Their subject matter—horrific lost episodes of TV shows, malicious computer code that causes seizures—reveal how the loci of our anxieties have shifted to more technological horrors....more
If you’re a fan of longform writing, fiction or nonfiction, consider subscribing to Longreads.
They’re holding a membership drive to help keep the site going; you can choose between $3/month or $30/year memberships, both of which give you access to certain exclusive stories and editor’s picks in addition to the regular content they provide for free....more
Sociologist Susan Palmer studies new religious movements—“cults,” as the rest of us might call them—not out of morbid fascination or a desire to catalog their evils, but because she considers them “beautiful life forms, mysterious and pulsating with charisma.”
Of course, it’s a controversial line of work, and involves more than its fair share of ethical quandaries—but none of the ones you’d guess....more
Because it taught children across the country, Henson became a household name, and through Sesame Street toys, Henson became a millionaire….However, licensing toys, to Henson, felt like selling out.
The cage-match-to-the-death between art and business can be brutal, but Muppet-master Jim Henson seemed to broker a level of peace between the two....more
An excerpt from Joel F. Harrington’s book The Faithful Executioners is a featured Longreads Members Pick and well worth a few minutes of your time.
Starting with a creative nonfictional account of an executioner in Germany in the 1500s, the piece opens up into a grim but fascinating overview of European life in the sixteenth century....more
Dinosaurs are probably out of the question because their remains are too old to contain usable DNA, but according to “an expert on mammoth DNA at McMaster University in Ontario,” recreating woolly mammoths is “just a matter of finances now.”
Of course, there are a million complications between us and restored flocks of passenger pigeons, but who knows what the future will bring?...more
“I’m a Sugar devotee; her columns have been such a help to me during a rough year. This one, in which five women ask Sugar what to do about their relationships that aren’t working, is particularly great (that last line slays)....more