The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Featuring stories by Jonathan Alter, T. Kira Madden, Ijeoma Oluo, Lauren Alwan, and Rich Schapiro

Below, our favorite stories of the week.

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1. ‘I Wish to Hell I’d Just Kept Saying the Exact Same Thing’

Jonathan Alter | The New York Times | Jan 17, 2017 | 8 minutes (2,163 words)

The vice president looks back — and forward. Veteran journalist Jonathan Alter’s exit interview with Joe Biden.

2. The Feels of Love

T. Kira Madden | Guernica Magazine | Dec 12, 2016 | 24 minutes (6,063 words)

Yes, kids are cruel and adolescence is challenging, but when we equate sexual assault with the standard teasing of adolescence, we normalize rape culture, and that is not normal. Madden’s story of rape and redemption is still too familiar to the many young woman who men routinely victimize. If America is going to progress as a culture, we must talk openly about our sexual traumas, the victimizers who commit these assaults, and remove the victims’ shame. In this essay, Madden does that her for herself, and for us of all, masterfully.

3. The Exploitation Of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy By White Supremacy

Ijeoma Oluo | The Establishment | Jan 18, 2016 | 7 minutes (1,955 words)

“The Martin Luther King Jr. that we celebrate every year is no longer a man or a movement. The annual holiday is no longer a remembrance.”

4. Arab Past, American Present: My Family’s Invisible History

Lauren Alwan | Catapult | Jan 17, 2017 | 11 minutes (2,950 words)

America is a nation of immigrants, yet the country treats immigrants with increasing hostility. Recounting her Syrian family’s move to the US, writer Lauren Alwan wrestles with her own Arab identity, and she explores the ways immigrants shed their culture in order to assimilate, and the generational effects of invisibility.

5. The True Story of the Fugitive Drug Smuggler Who Became an Environmental Hero

Rich Schapiro | Outside Magazine | Jan 16, 2017 | 21 minutes (5,449 words)

When Florida drug trafficker Raymond Stansel was busted in 1974, he disappeared, changed his identity, and escaped to the dense rainforest along the Daintree River in Far North Queensland, Australia. But instead of laying low, he started an ecological tour company and viable business, becoming invested in the environmental protection of the region.