The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

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1. Life, After

Miles O’Brien | New York magazine | June 12, 2014 | 10 minutes (2,680 words)

TV reporter Miles O’Brien’s first-person account of what it’s like to lose your arm:

I’d always heard amputees talk about the stares and the acute awareness of being viewed as different. During my first shoot for the NewsHour with one arm, I was wearing a blazer when I met a researcher I was to interview. She left the lab, and I took my jacket off. When she returned, it was a good thing she wasn’t sipping her coffee, because she would have offered up an amazing spit take. As we both looked at my stump, I shrugged and said, “It happens.” She smiled and nodded and then we pressed on. It didn’t really bother me for some reason—perhaps because of the honesty of her reaction. What makes me more uncomfortable is when I notice people consciously looking away. Is that pity? Revulsion? On the sidewalks, I look straight at people looking at me, and lots of times, they smile. Maybe I am still attractive. Or maybe I’m a freak.

 

2. The Thin Blue Privatized Line

Justin Berton | San Francisco | June 3, 2014 | 18 minutes (4,707 words)

Unsettled by the reality that the cops can’t help them, Oakland residents are hiring private patrols. Crime is down. But is the cure worse than the disease?

Picking himself up, Ward was approached by Rico Thomas, the 26-year-old security guard who had stumbled upon the break-in—and would soon draw a gun and shoot the suspect with it. Thomas had become a beloved fixture to the Upper Dimond and Oakmore residents who had hired him to patrol their streets months earlier. He would later tell police that his scrap with Ward happened in a flash: Ward lunged at him with an iron pry bar, he said, and tried to kill him. The two men wrestled, and then Ward ran away. But instead of heading downhill, the easier escape route, Ward ran uphill after the SUV, perhaps hoping that it would stop.

 

3. Turning 14 in Cincinnati: ‘I Worry About Surviving’

Krista Ramsey and Cara Owsley | Cincinnati Enquirer | June 8, 2014 | 27 minutes (6,895 words)

A look at three neighborhoods in Cincinnati—Avondale, Evanston and Walnut Hills—through the eyes of 14-year-olds who routinely witness violence and poverty:

“I don’t understand how somebody can take somebody else’s life.”

Jalen Owensby says out loud what students at her school have been thinking since two of their Withrow classmates, Jashawn Martin and Tyann Adkins, were shot and killed in March.

But Jalen, who lives in Evanston, has been trying to make sense out of losing people to violence since she was six years old.

 

4. The Tortured History of Entertainment Weekly

Anne Helen Petersen | The Awl | June 10, 2014 | 33 minutes (8,339 words)

How Time Inc. created the entertainment magazine 24 years ago, and how it was soon haunted by a quest for corporate synergy:

EW’s rise, scattered identity, brilliant heyday and slow, gradual decline mirrors the same journey of Time Warner’s conglomerate hopes and dreams. The leading magazine company weds a film and television giant? It all looked so great on paper. But here we are with the EW of today, and it’s clear: Just because it looks pretty in a business plan doesn’t mean it’s a good idea at all.

 

5. The Day I Left My Son in the Car

Kim Brooks | Salon | June 3, 2014 | 24 minutes (6,125 words)

A mother recalls a temporary lapse in judgment and how it has affected her as a parent:

Over the past two years, I’ve replayed this moment in my mind again and again, approaching the car, getting in, looking in the rearview mirror, pulling away. I replay it, trying to uncover something in the recollection I hadn’t noticed at the time. A voice. A face. Sometimes I feel like I can hear something. A woman? A man? “Bye now.” Something. But I can’t be sure.

We flew home. My husband was waiting for us beside the baggage claim with this terrible look on his face. “Call your mom,” he said.

I called her, and she was crying. When she’d arrived home from driving us to the airport, there was a police car in her driveway.