Posts Tagged: Longreads

When the Story Begins

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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.

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Scary Stories for a New Generation

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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.

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“The Sheer Fun of Researching” Cults

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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.

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Art and Money and Muppets

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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.

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“Fear and Anxiety…Link All of Us Across the Centuries”

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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.

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Welcome to the Clone Zone

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Via Longreads, a Carl Zimmer story on his National Geographic blog about bringing lost species back from extinction.

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?

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