This week, we’re sharing stories from Seema Jilani, Katy Kelleher, Carina del Valle Schorske, Martin Padgett, and Ben Lindbergh.

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1. Broken Glass, Blood, and Anguish: Beirut After the Blast

Seema Jilani | New York Review of Books | August 18, 2020 | 11 minutes (2,757 words)

Pediatrician Seema Jilani recounts the immediate aftermath of the Beirut explosion: “As I emerged from the car, the air was still whirring with debris. Everything was eerily silent. But it wasn’t. I just couldn’t hear anything. My ears were ringing. The street scene in front of me, almost two blocks from my apartment and walking distance from the epicenter of the blast, was a silent horror film.”

2. Periwinkle, the Color of Poison, Modernism, and Dusk

Katy Kelleher | The Paris Review | August 19, 2020 | 8 minutes (2,115 words)

Katy Kelleher meditates on mauve, purple, and periwinkle in history, art, and in the beauty of quarantine sunsets.

3. It’s Not Too Late

Carina del Valle Schorske | The Believer | August 14, 2020 | 12 minutes (3,185 words)

“I don’t want my part to get skipped over, but I still don’t know how to write directly about what went down between me and M. All I can do is worry a detail like an R&B singer worries a line…For years I’ve cherished a clip of Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin singing on Soul Train.”

4. Underneath The Sweet Gum Tree

Martin Padgett | Oxford American | August 10, 2020 | 15 minutes (3,766 words)

“Today, I venture proudly and safely into the straight world outside the confines of bars and clubs once designated specifically as ‘gay’ spaces. I can be free. This wouldn’t have been the case a generation ago.”

5. One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times

Ben Lindbergh | The Ringer | August 18, 2020 | 21 minutes (5,283 words)

“In 2017, the Times dissolved its copy desk, possibly permitting more typos to slip through. Meet the anonymous lawyer who’s correcting the paper of record one untactful tweet at a time.”