The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

This week, we’re sharing stories from Ben Taub, Paige Blankenbuehler, Alex Horton, Victoria Gannon, and Gustavo Arellano.

This week, we’re sharing stories from Ben Taub, Paige Blankenbuehler, Alex Horton, Victoria Gannon, and Gustavo Arellano.

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1. Guantánamo’s Darkest Secret

Ben Taub | The New Yorker | April 15, 2019 | 78 minutes (19,519 words)

“Instead, he began to wonder whether what he was actually protecting at Guantánamo was one of the government’s darkest secrets: that its highest-value military detainee was being held essentially by mistake, and that his isolation in Echo Special was intended to cover up the hell that had been inflicted upon him.”

2. How a Tiny Endangered Species Put a Man In Prison

Paige Blankenbuehler | High Country News | April 15, 2019 | 20 minutes (5,199 words)

In Death Valley National Park lies Devils Hole: an aquifer-fed pool home to one of the rarest fish species in the world — the Devils Hole pupfish. The pupfish has been the center of controversy between conservationists dedicated to protecting the inch-long fish species and Nevadans who believe the fish isn’t worth sacrificing their right to pump water on their land. Trent Sargent learned about how well the pupfish is protected the hard way.

3. Reading Slaughterhouse-Five in Baghdad

Alex Horton | Washington Post | April 13, 2019 | 8 minutes (2,000 words)

A beautiful meditation on Kurt Vonnegut and the trauma of war.

4. The Metrics of Backpacks

Victoria Gannon | Art Practical | April 3, 2019 | 16 minutes (4,130 words)

Optimization can’t be all there is to life, can it? On data, and backpacks, and technology, and gender, and messy personhood.

5. I get one last Lent with my Mami. I’m using it to learn our family’s capirotada recipe

Gustavo Arellano | Los Angeles Times | April 18, 2019 | 6 minutes (1,602 words)

As his mother enters hospice care, Gustavo Arellano pays tribute to her life and to her cooking, trying to preserve the memory of his favorite dish.