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The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories this week, featuring the New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Tin House, The Awl and The Walrus.
PUBLISHED: March 14, 2014

The Soundproof Room

An excerpt from Lacy M. Johnson's memoir The Other Side, which details Johnson's experience of being held prisoner in a soundproofed room by her ex-boyfriend and what followed after she escaped:

The Detective follows me to my new apartment in the unmarked car. He offers to come inside, to stand guard at the door, but I don’t want him to see that I have no furniture, no food in the fridge, nothing in the pantry, or the linen closet, or on the walls. I ask him to wait outside. I call my boss at the literary magazine where I am an intern and leave a message on the office voice mail: Hi there. I was kidnapped and raped last night. I won’t be coming in today. I call My Good Friend’s cell phone. I call My Older Sister’s cell phone.

While I’m in the shower, the apartment phone rings and callers leave messages on the machine: My Good Friend will stay with her boyfriend; she’s delaying her move-in date. Of course she hates to do this, but she’s just too scared to live here, with me, right now. You should find somewhere to go, she says. My Handsome Friend’s message says he heard the news from My Good Friend. He’s leaving town and doesn’t think it’s safe to tell me where to find him. The message My Older Sister leaves says she wants me to come stay at her place, which sounds better than sleeping alone in this apartment on the floor.

SOURCE:Tin House
PUBLISHED: March 12, 2014
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3918 words)

Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our picks this week include Pacific Standard, The New York Times Magazine, Humanities Magazine, Tin House and Atlanta Magazine, with a guest pick by Christine Kim.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 6, 2013


The writer and her husband, who live in the Sans Bois Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma, deal with a rattlesnake problem:

"Nineteen-year-old Faith comes in the door after a bit, hunting her camera. 'There’s a snake coiled in the yard,' she says, her voice remarkably calm. Little eight-year-old C.C. marches to the living room, stands in front of my snake-phobic mom, and announces: 'There’s a big snake in the yard, Grandma. We think it’s a rattling one.'

"Daddy is up from his easy chair and out the door like a shot. I hurry around trying to locate my phone to take pictures while the rest of the family troops out to see it—except for my mother, of course, who wouldn’t go out there on a dare.

"By the time I reach the porch, the rattler has uncoiled and begun crawling away from the house toward a flat nest of sandstone slabs and boulders beside the pond path. I catch a glimpse of it gliding rapidly through the dead grass, its diamond markings mottled, but distinct. Its size is almost beyond belief: even winding S-like that way, the rattler is longer and thicker than any I’ve ever seen."
SOURCE:Tin House
PUBLISHED: Sept. 3, 2013
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3998 words)

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our picks this week include BuzzFeed, Mother Jones, The Stranger, Tin House, Bloomberg Businessweek and a guest pick by Sarah Bruning.
PUBLISHED: June 21, 2013

How I Met My Wife

Novelist Robert Boswell tells the story of how he met his wife, the author Antonya Nelson, and uses the story to explore how fiction is crafted:

"Why are we drawn to stories about people falling in love? There are likely a host of reasons, but here’s a good one: marriage, when observed from a place of solitude, has the power of dream. Solitary people fall in love with couples, imagining their own lives transformed by such a union. And once the transformation finally happens, people need to talk about it, telling not only their families, friends, and strangers on the bus but also themselves—repeating it to make it real, to investigate the mystery of marital metamorphosis. And they get good at the telling. People who cannot otherwise put together an adequately coherent narrative to get you to the neighborhood grocery will nonetheless have a beautifully shaped tale of how he met she (or he met he, or she met she) and became we."
SOURCE:Tin House
PUBLISHED: June 3, 2013
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7468 words)

Budd and Leni

Hollywood screenwriter Budd Schulberg's unlikely collaboration with Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, who was arrested and asked to provide evidence at Nuremberg against war criminals:

"In subsequent interviews he continued the story: 'I had this warrant for her in my pocket. It was like burning a hole in my pocket … Finally I took the thing out and said, ‘Miss Riefenstahl, I'm sorry, but I have to take you to Nuremberg.' And that's when she screamed, "Puppi, Puppi … he's arresting me."' The little majordomo raced into the room, with Schulberg now realizing he was her husband. 'I tried to reassure her,' Schulberg continued. 'I said, "Look, you're not being put on trial with Goering and von Ribbentrop, but we do need you as a material witness."' He took her outside, where his driver and his vehicle awaited. The trip from Kitzbühel to Nuremberg was roughly 150 miles. 'She didn't say anything on the way ... She was very ticked off—very. And I guess scared.'"
SOURCE:Tin House
PUBLISHED: March 2, 2013
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6763 words)

Longreads Member Exclusive: House Heart, by Amelia Gray

This week's Member Pick is "House Heart," a short story by Amelia Gray, the author of the novel Threats and short story collections Museum of the Weird and AM/PM. "House Heart" was published in the December 2012 issue of Tin House.

Support Longreads—and get more stories like this—by becoming a member for just $3 per month.
SOURCE:Tin House
PUBLISHED: Dec. 1, 2012
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3719 words)

A Good Deuce

[Fiction] A grieving teen and his friend look for a place to drink:

"'Hey, you know what? Roy’s grandparents were Nazis.' Phillip leaned back and took a drink from his beer and put an arm around Veronica. 'I’m not even kidding. Tell them. Tell them about that time you found the swastika armbands and all that shit in your grandpa’s closet.'

"It was something I thought I had seen once, and maybe I had or I hadn’t, I wasn’t sure, and when I tried to remember what I had seen in that closet, and I put myself back in that room, all I could smell was talcum powder and see my grandma standing at the window, stiff and straight, staring out at nothing in the weak light, her back to me, the tears streaming because I had said it, I had said names, called her things, told her how my mother would disappear every time she got off the phone with her, my grandmother with her thick accent and twisted language, harsh, guttural, clipped through the phone, and for seventeen years I never once remembered my mother asking me how I felt—not once—how do you feel? Because feelings, she said, were lies. The only truth was in what you could see."
AUTHOR:Jodi Angel
SOURCE:Tin House
PUBLISHED: Nov. 28, 2012
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6676 words)