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

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1. How Listening to Music and Fighting with Susan Sontag Helped Me Cope with Chemo

Trisha Ready | The Stranger | Jan. 21, 2015 | 24 minutes (6,152 words)

An essay about dealing with stage IV cancer and developing coping techniques.

2. Watching Willie’s Back

Joe Nick Patoski | Oxford American | Jan. 12, 2015 | 27 minutes (6,931 words)

“Mess with Willie Nelson and the next thing you’ll see is the wrong end of a gun held by the Devil himself, Robert Paul English.” A profile of Paul English, Willie Nelson’s friend, drummer, and protector.

3. A Germaphobe’s Guide to Buying a Metrocard

Aaron Reiss | Next City | Jan. 19, 2015 | 10 minutes (2,679 words)

Writer and illustrator Aaron Reiss uses his germaphobia as a lens to explore why transit ticket kiosks work the way they do.

4. The Hunting of Billie Holiday

Johann Hari | Politico | Jan. 17, 2015 | 17 minutes (4,380 words)

How the Federal Bureau of Narcotics—an early predecessor of the Drug Enforcement Administration—targeted jazz, and Lady Day herself.

5. The Sports Startup Being Sued for Nearly $500,000 by Its Former Employees

Aaron Gordon | Vice | Jan. 19, 2015 | 11 minutes (2,850 words)

A sports startup called Sport195 hired workers at a rapid pace despite having no customers, revenue, users, or a clear business plan. When the paychecks stopped coming, its CEO told employees that he had two revenue sources lined up—none of which came to fruition.