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The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week, featuring The New Yorker, Hazlitt, The Billfold, Politico Magazine, and The Believer.
PUBLISHED: July 3, 2014

Without You I'm Nothing

Molotkow takes a closer look at the memoirs of rock stars' ex-lovers—from Cynthia Lennon to Angie Bowie. "'The truth is that if I’d known as a teenager what falling for John Lennon would lead to,' read 'John'’s final lines, 'I would have turned round right then and walked away.' Aside from the living death of losing her husband abruptly and in public, Cynthia never recovered the life she could have had without him."
PUBLISHED: July 2, 2014
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6135 words)

Heart of the Emerald Triangle

The illegal farmers of California’s Humboldt County brace themselves for marijuana’s legalized future:

And yet California, long the marijuana movement’s pacesetter, and a haven for high-capacity growers, finds itself in the perhaps-unwelcome position of losing outlaws like Ethan. Should the state follow Colorado’s and Washington’s leads in legalizing recreational use, as is expected, already-fragile economies in the north—specifically in the “Emerald Triangle” of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties, home to some quarter of a million people—could be crippled. The “prohibition premium” that keeps marijuana prices, and those economies, aloft would fall, possibly so precipitously that many growers would lose their incentive and (perhaps ironically) leave for more-punitive regions. In recent years, many growers have reportedly left California for places like Wisconsin and North Carolina—markets where a pound of marijuana might fetch double what it does in the Golden State. Legalization helps keep growers out of jail, but regulation slashes their profit margins.

AUTHOR:Lee Ellis
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2014
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6914 words)

Confidentially Yours

Petersen traces the history of the celebrity profile:

Confidential was by no means the first publication to suggest that its subjects lived secret, salacious lives—the tabloid press had thrived, in various iterations, for years. But Confidential’s dirt was richer: publisher Robert Harrison developed a web of informants crossing the continent. More important, he understood what titillated: miscegenation, homosexuality, unbridled female sexuality, and communism.

PUBLISHED: May 9, 2014
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6937 words)

Christmas in Thessaloniki

The writer travels to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, and talks to the mayor and other residents about they city's social and economic life. Here, he speaks with Dora Seitanidou, a percussionist and university worker in her late 30s:

"'If we become increasingly fascist—and Greek society is becoming increasingly fascist—you have to put the blame not only on the crisis but also on the educational system. The whole system is sick. Until recently everyone wanted to work for the government in Athens, because working for the government meant security, and it also meant you didn’t have to really work—it meant you could just set up a business for yourself on the side. Security is an obsession that was passed down from grandfather to father to son; maybe it can be explained by the fact that here in Thessaloniki, we’re almost all the descendants of refugees.' (Many of the inhabitants of Thessaloniki are the descendants of Greeks who were run out of Turkey.) 'Take my uncle and aunt, for example; they’re not incredibly rich people, but they have five houses. They have the house that they live in, three houses they rent out, and they also have a vacation home. The Greek is obsessed with property because he sees property ownership as security. My uncle and aunt have a son who’s confined to a wheelchair; they think that those houses are going to guarantee his financial security.'"
PUBLISHED: Sept. 6, 2013
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5163 words)

Reading List: Summer Camp

Picks from Emily Perper, a freelance editor and reporter currently completing a service year in Baltimore with the Episcopal Service Corps. This week's picks include stories from The New Yorker, Autostraddle, Rookie, and The Believer.
PUBLISHED: June 30, 2013

Top 5 Longreads of the Week

This week's picks include pieces from Allie Brosh, The Believer, Miami New Times, GQ, The New Yorker, fiction from Guernica and a guest pick by Michael Macher.
PUBLISHED: May 10, 2013

A Trip to Japan in Sixteen Minutes

The story of Sadakichi Hartmann, a Japan-born poet who had befriended everyone from Walt Whitman to Ezra Pound and John Barrymore—and who once attempted to stage the first-ever "perfume concert" in New York:

"But no one had ever heard of a perfume concert. It was an invention so faddish the newspapers had inked themselves in excitement and still managed indifference by the second column. 'All lovers of good smells are expected to patronize the concert,' one hopeful feature began. However, 'It may be that after a time the olfactory nerve of the New York gatherings will become jaded, and will require smells of more and more pungency.' It was suggested Mr. Hartmann take a trip to Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal."
PUBLISHED: May 3, 2013
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5531 words)

Happy 10th Birthday, The Believer!

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, The Believer has just published a handful of classic stories for the first time on the web, and they were nice enough to share them with the Longreads community. Enjoy.
PUBLISHED: April 29, 2013