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. The New Face of Richard Norris

Jeanne Marie Laskas | GQ | July 28, 2014 | 34 minutes (8,518 words) words)

Richard Norris became disfigured after he accidentally shot himself in the face when he was 22. He successfully received a full face transplant with the help of Eduardo Rodriguez, a Baltimore reconstructive facial surgeon, but life after the surgery has brought up some unexpected burdens.

 

2. Finding the Words

Alec Wilkinson | The New Yorker | July 28, 2014 | 31 minutes (7,884 words)

The poet Edward Hirsch confronts the loss of his son, who died at 22, by writing an elegy: “‘I decided that what I wrote wasn’t going to be just about Gabriel, it also had to be about losing Gabriel,’ he said.”

 

3. The Transgender Crucible

Sabrina Rubin Erdely | Rolling Stone | July 30, 2014 | 26 minutes (6,626 words)

The story of how CeCe McDonald, a transgender woman who endured homelessness and other hardships as a teen, galvanized the trans and queer community and became a hero after defending herself in an attack.

 

4. The Down And Dirty History Of TMZ

Anne Helen Petersen | BuzzFeed | July 24, 2014 | 31 minutes (7,955 words)

A profile of TMZ founder Harvey Levin and the tactics he used to create a gossip media empire. Anne Helen Petersen talked to several former employees to provide a behind-the-scenes account.

 

5. Ghosts in Sunlight

Hilton Als | New York Review of Books | July 30, 2014 | 9 minutes (2,304 words)

“The artist’s memory is a dangerous, necessary thing.” Als’s commencement speech at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Photo: Dan Winters/GQ