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

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1. The Horror Before the Beheadings

Rukmini Callimachi | The New York Times | October 25, 2014 | 20 minutes (5,247 words)

What ISIS hostages endured in Syria.

2. An American Dream Deferred

Eli Saslow | The Washington Post | October 25, 2014 | 21 minutes (5,491 words)

Javier Flores was hoping that an executive action by President Obama would prevent him from being deported to Mexico, leaving his wife and American-citizen children behind in Ohio. He’s now in La Mixtequita, Mexico, with few options to reunite with his family.

3. Against the Grain

Michael Specter | The New Yorker | October 28, 2014 | 27 minutes (6,796 words)

A closer look at what we still don’t know about gluten, and whether going “gluten-free” is a good idea.

4. The Great Paper Caper

Wells Tower | GQ | October 28 2014 | 21 minutes (5,491 words)

Wells Tower talks to Frank Bourassa, the “most prolific counterfeiter in American history” who reproduced more than $200 million in nearly flawless fake twenty dollar bills.

5. The Foodbank Dilemma

James Harrison | New Statesman | October 21, 2014 | 31 minutes (7,906 words)

What does the rise of food banks tell us about Britain today?

Photo: marcveraart, Flickr