The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

This week, we’re sharing stories from Masha Gessen, Molly Osberg, T. S. Mendola, Alexander Chee, and George Murray.

This week, we’re sharing stories from Masha Gessen, Molly Osberg, T. S. Mendola, Alexander Chee, and George Murray.

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1. To Be, or Not to Be

Masha Gessen | New York Review of Books | January 29, 2018 | 16 minutes (4,037 words)

A personal essay in which Russian emigre Masha Gessen ruminates on the culture’s tendency to privilege those who’ve suffered for a lack of choice — in becoming refugees, in picking their gender — and the choices that have impacted her life.

2. How to Not Die in America

Molly Osberg | Splinter | January 31, 2018 | 16 minutes (4,031 words)

Molly Osberg’s harrowing essay — a mysterious illness that wastes away her body in days and nearly threatens her life — outlines in painstaking detail how (or if) she would have survived and recovered from her ordeal without medical insurance or a safety net.

3. Rivers of Babylon: The Story of a Third-Trimester Abortion

T. S. Mendola | The Rumpus | January 30, 2018 | 27 minutes (6,905 words)

A bracing essay on late-term abortion, and how American politics have made an impossibly difficult situation even more painful and dangerous for women.

4. My Inheritance Was My Father’s Last Lesson To Me And I Am Still Learning It

Alexander Chee | BuzzFeed | January 28, 2018 | 18 minutes (4,530 words)

When Alexander Chee’s father died at the age of 43 he didn’t leave behind a will, and his estate was divided among his wife and three children. When he turned 18, Chee was bequeathed a trust, and the first thing he bought was something he thought his father would want for him — a black Alfa Romeo.

5. Send the Barbarian in First

George Murray | The Walrus | January 23, 2018 | 9 minutes (2,382 words)

Bullied as a child in school in the ’80s, Canadian poet George Murray once found solace in the make-believe world of Dungeons & Dragons, where he could become “a seven-foot-tall warrior who could punch the face off a troll.” At The Walrus, Murray writes of the role-playing game’s renaissance — about how it helped his blended family bond — and about how he’s “playing it forward” by acting as dungeon master for local families who want to learn to play.