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The Last Hand-Me-Down: Retracing My Brother's Life Through His Clothes

Molanphy reflects on an influential sibling, and the clothing that came with it:

Sister has to ring the bell twice our way to shut me up and freeze us before line-up. Paul’s shoes become my first chance at storytelling, and I love it. Even though my Mom offers me a new pair of shoes at the end of the month, I wear Paul’s shoes, pinching and painful but with pleasure, for the rest of the year.

PUBLISHED: April 13, 2014
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4652 words)

For Richard Family, Loss and Love

A family forever changed by the Boston Marathon bombings, one year later:

Bill, still in pain from an unsuccessful operation to repair his ruptured eardrums, continued to struggle making restaurant reservations for four and found himself instinctively grabbing five plates for dinner, having to put one back.

After a while, they were happy to see neighbors, but it wasn’t always comfortable. Some weren’t sure what to say to the Richards and felt strange talking about themselves, at times apologizing for carping about things that seemed so trivial by comparison, like a backache.

But Bill and Denise were buoyed by a steady flow of good will.

AUTHOR:David Abel
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2014
LENGTH: 54 minutes (13683 words)

Honey, I Want To Move To Mars

My wife is a semifinalist to board a one-way mission to the Red Planet. I'm proud, happy, and thrilled for her. Now, do you want to know how I really feel about i?

I might have suggested another couple of words in response to that particular question, but I know better than most that the notion that someone can retain privacy once they’ve entered this modestly public life is archaic. When Mars One whittled the 200,000-plus applicants down to 1,058, Sonia got enough media coverage to become a minor celebrity around town. It doesn’t hurt that she is easy on the eyes. I love her, the camera loves her, and now strangers do too.

When we go to parties we hear whispers. “That’s the Mars girl,” people say. Women—it’s always women—approach to congratulate her on her bravery. Rarely does anyone engage her as a space geek to talk about what she hopes to find up there, but if someone did, he or she would open the discussion to Sonia’s innate curiosity and her enthusiasm about humanity’s drive to explore and expand our understanding of what is possible. She honestly does not understand why everyone does not want to go to Mars, though she knows I would last about half an hour before getting bored up there.

PUBLISHED: April 3, 2014
LENGTH: 6 minutes (1730 words)

Hell On Earth

What happens to life sentences if the human lifespan is radically extended? A philosopher talks about future punishment:

Even in my most religious moments, I have never been able to take the idea of hell seriously. Prevailing Christian theology asks us to believe that an all-powerful, all-knowing being would do what no human parent could ever do: create tens of billions of flawed and fragile creatures, pluck out a few favourites to shower in transcendent love, and send the rest to an eternity of unrelenting torment. That story has always seemed like an intellectual relic to me, a holdover from barbarism, or worse, a myth meant to coerce belief. But stripped of the religious particulars, I can see the appeal of hell as an instrument of justice, a way of righting wrongs beyond the grave. Especially in unusual circumstances.

PUBLISHED: March 13, 2014
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2800 words)

For Love & Money

Same-sex marriages could add $43 million in wedding spending to Wisconsin’s economy in three years if they were legal. But the real economic impact goes far deeper than veils, venues and vows.

On a day in late December 2013, Roger and Indy Arteaga-Derenne sat, marriage license in hand, waiting for a 12:15 p.m. appointment with Judge David Piper of the Hennepin County court system. They had driven 350 miles from their home in Bayside to Minneapolis, and they were nervous. They had plenty of questions for this judge, whom they had never met. Would he marry them? Would he waive the required five-day waiting period for all would-be newlyweds?

PUBLISHED: March 5, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5690 words)

Showtime, Synergy

Our latest Longreads Member Pick is now free for everyone: Matt Siegel’s love story about identity, sex and finding companionship:

It was an acquaintance and former editor of one of those gay lifestyle magazines who advised twenty-year-old me to tone it down if I ever wanted to find a boyfriend. This coming from a man obsessed with anything Disney-related; the walls of his West Hollywood condo adorned with carefully framed Snow White and Fantasia animation cels. “You don’t need to tell them how much you love Belinda Carlisle on your first date,” he said. “But I do love Belinda Carlisle! That quavering vibrato!” I whined. “Well,” he said, “they’ll find out eventually, and by that point they will love you, Belinda and all.” While I hate(d) him for saying it, I understood the algorithm: gay men are attracted to men, so the more you resemble a man, the more desirable you will be to a gay man. [Insert frowny face emoticon.]

PUBLISHED: March 4, 2014
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7343 words)

Showtime, Synergy: Exclusive Early Access to a New Story from The Awl and Matt Siegel

This week, we are excited to give Longreads Members exclusive early access to a new story from Matt Siegel, to be published next week on The Awl. Here’s more from The Awl co-founder and editor Choire Sicha:

“Matt Siegel’s very funny nonfiction story of love, deceit and betrayal (oh my God, I know!!!) comes on all unassuming and conversational. Unlike many citizens of the MFA world (Matt’s a recent graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program), he keeps his techniques hidden. We’re really looking forward to publishing this at The Awl, but we’re more thrilled to share it with Longreads Members—like ourselves!—first.”
Siegel (@unabashedqueer) has previously written for The Huffington Post, The Hairpin, Flaunt Magazine, and The Advocate.

Become a Longreads Member to get the story

Longreads Members, login here to start reading

PUBLISHED: March 2, 2014
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7343 words)

Mission To Mars

How Rob Thomas—creator of the beloved TV series Veronica Mars—used Kickstarter to bring his show to the big screen:

On the morning of March 13, 2013, Thomas hit the “Launch Project” button on his laptop screen. He’d also installed the Kickstarter app on his iPhone, with the notifications option turned on. For the next several hours, his phone vibrated continuously, never pausing long enough for him to change the settings on the app—a new backer was joining the project literally every second. About an hour in, Thomas realized what was happening. “I finally felt absolutely like we were going to get to make the movie,” he says. “That’s when I got hit by just a tidal wave of endorphins or adrenaline. I felt woozy.” They raised $1 million in four hours. By the end of the first day, they had $2.5 million and had set several Kickstarter records, becoming the fastest project to reach $1 million and the fastest project to reach $2 million (eleven hours). In the end, they raised $5,702,153, making Veronica Mars the third-largest Kickstarter ever and the highest-funded film or video project (the previous record was $808,341, for a web TV series).

PUBLISHED: March 1, 2014
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4230 words)

Seduced and Abandoned

The full, gossipy story of how Rupert Murdoch met Wendi Deng, and how their 14-year marriage fell apart amid rumors of affairs:

The passionate note surfaced amid the flotsam of a shipwrecked marriage. It was written in broken English by a woman to herself, pouring out her love for a man called Tony. “Oh, shit, oh, shit,” she wrote. “Whatever why I’m so so missing Tony. Because he is so so charming and his clothes are so good. He has such good body and he has really really good legs Butt … And he is slim tall and good skin. Pierce blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. Also I love his power on the stage … and what else and what else and what else … ”

The woman was Wendi Deng Murdoch, the Chinese wife of the Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The note, not revealed until now, could have been one of the few pieces of evidence in their surprise divorce last year, had the case come to trial. “Tony” was the former prime minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair.

AUTHOR:Mark Seal
PUBLISHED: Feb. 19, 2014
LENGTH: 45 minutes (11473 words)