The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

This week, we’re sharing stories by Sam Knight, Rick Perlstein, Ijeoma Oluo, Keziah Weir, and George Saunders.

This week, we’re sharing stories by Sam Knight, Rick Perlstein, Ijeoma Oluo, Keziah Weir, and George Saunders.

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1. Operation London Bridge: The Secret Plan for the Days After the Queen’s Death

Sam Knight | The Guardian | Mar 16, 2017 | 32 minutes (8,200 words)

There’s plenty the British don’t speak of. But the death of the 90-year-old Queen might be one of the least spoken about—and best planned for—inevitabilities faced by an entire nation. Sam Knight delivers a minute-by-minute account of what could happen when Elizabeth II, who has outlasted twelve U.S. presidents, dies within the walls of Buckingham Palace. Code word: “London Bridge is down.”

2. Outsmarted

Rick Perlstein | The Baffler | Mar 6, 2017 | 20 minutes (5,168 words)

A fantastic essay by Rick Perlstein, on the cult of “smart” in America and how it distorted the ideals of our democracy. “Even as we moderns spend enormous amounts of our conscious energy making evaluations about who is sophisticated and who is simple, who is well-bred and who is arriviste, and who is smart and who is dumb, these are entirely irrelevant to the only question that ends up mattering: who is decent and who is cruel.”

3. Welcome To The Anti-Racism Movement — Here’s What You’ve Missed

Ijeoma Oluo | The Establishment | Mar 16, 2017 | 9 minutes (2,419 words)

Writer Ijeoma Oluo schools well-meaning white people — who are late to the party — in the hard, thankless work of relinquishing their unearned privilege and fighting racism.

4. The Philosopher Queen: Rebecca Solnit

Keziah Weir | Elle | Mar 2, 2017 | 15 minutes (3,791 words)

A profile of Rebecca Solnit, prolific feminist author and climate change activist. Writer Keziah Weir takes a look at how ground-breaking and crystalizing Solnit’s writing about patriarchy has been, and appreciates the influence it’s had on her and many other women.

5. George Saunders: What Writers Really Do When They Write

George Saunders | The Guardian | Mar 4, 2017 | 13 minutes (3,368 words)

George Saunders reflects on his writing process, suggesting that the magical, romantic notion where fully formed art leaps from the author’s brain on to the page does the writer, the reader, and the work a disservice. In reality, it takes “hundreds of drafts” and “thousands of incremental adjustments” to form a story into a “hopeful thing.”