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This week, we’re sharing stories from Prachi Gupta, Tess McClure, Anna Wiener, Ismail Muhammad, and Alex McLevy.

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1. Stories About My Brother

Prachi Gupta | Jezebel | September 26, 2019 | 27 minutes (6,812 words)

“I was finally becoming the woman I had always wanted to be, but was heartbroken that my brother, the person I loved more than anyone else in the world, seemingly hated that woman… When he died, I believed that I didn’t know the facts of his life well enough to write his obituary. Worse, I feared that he wouldn’t have wanted me to write it. How do you write about someone you loved intensely, but didn’t really like?”

2. Dark Crystals: The Brutal Reality Behind a Booming Wellness Craze

Tess McClure | The Guardian | September 17, 2019 | 19 minutes (4,925 words)

The wellness industry has turned cheap stones into #healingcrystals. The growing demand is damaging Madagascar, one of the Earth’s most biologically diverse and fragile ecosystems, and putting its laborers into dangerous mines, many of them children. Is this how you heal yourself?

3. Four Years in Startups

Anna Wiener | The New Yorker | September 23, 2019 | 29 minutes (7,268 words)

Wiener recalls working for a variety of tech companies earlier this decade, observing the men who ruled Silicon Valley.

4. Walking with the Ghosts of Black Los Angeles

Ismail Muhammad | Literary Hub | September 20, 2019 | 18 minutes (4,560 words)

“People tend to speak of South Central Los Angeles as a homogenous neighborhood, an undifferentiated community of African Americans wracked by poverty, gang violence, drug use, and general social disorder. In actuality, South Central is not a neighborhood at all, but a massive swath of the city settled by black migrants in the 20th century. It’s a radically horizontal post-industrial landscape where buildings rarely exceed two or three stories, and pedestrians find little shelter from the sun. Down Slauson, decommissioned train tracks that once carried freight from the Port to the inner city call to mind the region’s formerly robust economy.”

5. All Hail Veruca Salt: The Oral History of American Thighs

Alex McLevy | The AV Club | September 25, 2019 | 42 minutes (10,651 words)

With unprecedented speed after forming, the Chicago band recorded and released an album whose sound helped define the early 90s alternative era. This is the album’s story, timed to the album’s 25th anniversary.