Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 6
10 of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.
Here’s the latest collection of our favorite stories from writers and publishers across all of WordPress. You can find our past collections here — and you can follow Longreads on WordPress.com for more daily reading recommendations.
Keep these stories coming: share links to essays and interviews (over 1,500 words) on Twitter (#longreads) and WordPress.com by tagging your posts longreads.
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1. Criticism and Self-Criticism (S. Li, The Kenyon Review)
Li, an associate professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology in Nanjing, China, recalls being forced by a teacher to criticize her best friend as an adolescent. “Criticism and self-criticism were required practices in every socialist social unit,” Li explains. “In the village school I attended, they took the form of trimester reports constituted by two parts: class criticism of each student and each student’s self-criticism.”
2. A Letter to Mitchell Browne, ‘Why Should Artists at Work Fund Idlers at Art?’ (Dave Lamb, School for Birds)
A Melbourne-based artist’s open letter to a journalist on eliminating arts funding: “The very best art will tell us not just who we are, but who everyone is, and will allow us to accept and understand not just what makes us different but what makes us unalterably the same.”
3. “I Promise to Never Forget Where I Came From” (Sean Sprague, Sportsnet)
“They just look at him as LeBron James, the kid from the neighborhood”: Dan Robson reports from Akron and Cleveland in Ohio, meeting with Lebron James’s fans, surrogate father, former coaches, and the residents who watched him grow up.
4. Elon Musk: How We’re Going to Colonize Mars (Ross Andersen, Aeon)
An in-depth interview with the SpaceX founder on how we could make it to Mars — and why it’s important for us to get there.
5. Why Gangsters Who Broke Every Law Still Went to Services on Yom Kippur (Robert Rockaway, Tablet)
Robert Rockaway on Prohibition-era Jewish mobsters, who — despite their criminal behavior — still saw religious observance as an integral part of their identity.
6. Identity In Pieces: When You Don’t Know Where You Count (Jaya Saxena, The Aerogram)
Jaya Saxena, whose mother is white and father is Indian, writes about her experience with being biracial: “You’re an intruder in either space, with no right to claim one or the other without a heavy caveat.”
7. Before the Law (Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker)
The New Yorker is known for its exceptional reporting. This story, about a crippled legal system that left a 16-year-old imprisoned on Riker’s Island for three years without a trial, is particularly devastating.
8. Sirte and Misrata, Libya’s Last Battle (Clare Morgana Gillis, The American Scholar)
War journalist Clare Morgana Gillis recalls her days reporting in Libya with James Foley.
9. Who Killed Bugsy Siegel? (Amy Wallace, Los Angeles Magazine)
A family’s answer to one of America’s most famous unsolved Mob mysteries.
10. On Our Traveller Perception of a Place & Finding Alternate Stories (Jessica Lee, Road Essays)
Jessica Lee, a travel writer and author for Lonely Planet, recalls her time in the Middle East, primarily Cairo.
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Photo: Mr. Marco, Unsplash