Writer Logan Sachon: My Top Longreads of 2011

Logan Sachon writes for The Awl and other places also. She lives in Virginia.  

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• “Inside David Foster Wallace’s Private Self-Help Library,” by Maria Bustillos (The Awl)

This piece just blew me away, and I’m not even a DFW devotee (I’ve yet to tackle any of his books). To go to his library, to transcribe notes from his journals and books, to make it all make sense — incredible. I was as in awe of Maria’s devotion to her subject as I was of the subject itself. 

• “The truth that lives there,” by Sugar (The Rumpus)

I’m a Sugar devotee; her columns have been such a help to me during a rough year. This one, in which five women ask Sugar what to do about their relationships that aren’t working, is particularly great (that last line slays). 

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Rock Hudson, Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor,” by Anne Helen Petersen (The Hairpin)

Anne’s “Scandals of Classic Hollywood” series is top notch. I was reared on old films and tend to long for “the good old days,” so it’s a good splash in the face to have the veneer ripped off. I love Petersen’s style; her combination of fact and colloquial candor is so much fun. (Behold: “At this point, Hudson looked very much as he would for the rest of his life, which is to say he looked like a Ken doll with a dye job. The same classic good looks, the same soft, inviting smile. But dude could not act FOR SHIT.”)

• “The Percentages: A biography of class,” by Sady Doyle (Tiger Beatdown) 

Oh, gosh. Sady writes these vignettes of her life with such honesty, clarity, and insight, that it’s incredible to remember that she is a young woman and these moments aren’t that far gone. This one had me thinking for days, and I sent it to everyone I knew, pleading with them to read it. 

• “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” by Jose Antonio Vargas (New York Times Magazine)

Incredibly brave piece; it gives me chills to think all that Jose risked to write this. I can’t imagine anyone reading this and still arguing for the automatic deportation of undocumented immigrants. (Also: I consider Terry Gross’s Fresh Air Interview with Jose an essential companion piece to this one). 

BONUS PRINT PICKS: The interviews that run in each issue of The Sun Magazine aren’t published in full online, but I love them and I’d like to tell you about them. I am a person who likes to learn things and think about stuff, and these interviews deliver. Full text is not available online (even to subscribers), but the excerpts are substantial enough that you should know if you need to go to the new stand and get educated (just do it). 

Feb 2011: Arnie Cooper interviews Michelle Alexander on prisons as the new Jim Crow. 

April 2011: Leslee Goodman interviews Paul Chappell, U.S. Army vet, on how he went from soldier to anti-war activist. 

June 2011: David Kupfer interviews actor and writer Peter Coyote about his history of activism. 

September 2011: Arnie Cooper interviews environmentalist Stewart Brand about why his is pro-nuclear power and pro-GMO’s.

October 2011: Gillian Kendall interviews Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson about why he takes enormous risks to protect whales.  

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