Longreads has been connecting readers with quality stories since 2009, and since joining Automattic in 2014, we’ve published more than 100 pieces of original reporting, essays, and book excerpts from talented writers and reporters from across the globe. Here are five.
“Violet,” by Adele Oliveira
Violet was born at 25 weeks and five days—more than three months ahead of her due date. This is a story about becoming parents in the face of uncertainty.
I didn’t think I could handle the loss. But when I saw my daughter’s tiny red body under saran wrap on a tilted, flat bed, a thousand cords and wires attached to her chest, her eyes not yet open, and a ventilator breathing for her, I was not surprised to find that I loved her right away. I knew I’d never love anyone more, and I knew I’d always miss her if she died.
“The Fullness of a Moment,” by Jaime Green
Half a century ago, the Hall of New York State Environment in the American Museum of Natural History was not only the future of museum design, but also, one man hoped, the future of democracy itself.
Many things here are lovely or sweet, but almost nothing is beautiful. Nothing beautiful, nothing big, nothing cool. And nothing new. In a museum that otherwise shows visitors the most awe-inspiring science in the most modern and attention-grabbing ways, here is science of the most ordinary things in the world, the science of your humble backyard. Yet it is in the company of blue whales and cosmic wonders, this homeliest and homiest of halls.
“The Freelancers’ Roundtable,” by Eva Holland
A conversation between veteran freelancers Eva Holland, Josh Dean, Jason Fagone, and May Jeong about pitching stories, negotiating contracts, and breaking into a tough industry.
Josh Dean: I think we’re probably all going to agree that finding ideas is the single hardest thing about this job. It’s surely the single hardest thing about any kind of writing, at least once you get some experience and have built enough of a reputation to get past the gatekeepers. I can imagine that if there were a very young and new writer in this group, he or she would say that getting attention, getting ideas looked at, is the hard part.
“The Queen of the Night,” by Alexander Chee
The first chapter from Alexander Chee’s much-anticipated second novel.
When it began, it began as an opera would begin, in a palace, at a ball, in an encounter with a stranger who, you discover, has your fate in his hands. He is perhaps a demon or a god in disguise, offering you a chance at either the fulfillment of a dream or a trap for the soul. A comic element—the soprano arrives in the wrong dress—and it decides her fate.
“Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers,” by Alex Mar
In partnership with Atlas Obscura, we produced this story about the radical women of early Christianity.
Many of the female leaders of Christianity—in the Catholic Church in particular, with its 1.25 billion followers around the world—are barred from being fully ordained and are closely overseen by men. But this was not always the case. Scores of early Christian women—like Marcella, the desert-dwelling Susan, or the scholars Melania and Paula—embraced radical lives, helping the young religion fan out across the Roman Empire and beyond.
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