The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our top stories of the week, as chosen by the editors at Longreads.

Below, our favorite stories of the week.

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1. The Prisoner

Skip Hollandsworth | Texas Monthly | Dec. 27, 2016 | 73 minutes (7,598 words)

In 1991, twelve-year-old Edwin Debrow killed a cab driver. Twenty-five years later, he remains in prison, continuing to be denied parole since 1999. Is the public better served by putting youngsters in adult prisons and keeping them off the streets for years and years?

2. The Detective of Northern Oddities

Christopher Solomon | Outside | Jan. 4, 2017 | 24 minutes (6,045 words)

A profile of Kathy Burek, a veterinary pathologist who performs necropsies on animals (whales, sea otters, polar bears) that mysteriously turn up dead in Alaska.

3. A Sober Utopia

Will McGrath | Pacific Standard | Jan. 2, 2017 | 22 minutes (5,539 words)

At Pacific Standard, Will McGrath reports on Fort Lyon — “a Betty Ford Center for the homeless — a radical experiment to rehabilitate some of society’s most vulnerable members.

4. Strange Women

Connie Kuhns | Geist | Jan. 1, 2014 | 26 minutes (6,640 words)

Kuhns’ lively, detailed account of the revolutionary female musicians who made Vancouver, British Columbia’s underground music culture in the 1970s was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2015. Many of us Americans missed it, because it’s from Canada, and we don’t pay close enough attention to life up there. This article is worth paying attention to.

5. The Anthologies of John D’Agata

Ned Stuckey-French | Los Angeles Review of Books | Jul 28, 2016 | 33 minutes (8,401 words)

Literary feuds often feel sad and empty, but intelligent, measured critiques advance human knowledge and get people thinking. Although not a response to the recent Atlantic piece about writer John D’Agata’s take/mistake on the essay form, this piece by another essayist adds many welcome dimensions to this ongoing debate around the definition and nature of the essay, and the role of facts and art in storytelling.