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This week, we’re sharing stories from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Katie Engelhart, Katy Vine, Zach Baron, and Colin Dickey.

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1. The Life Breonna Taylor Lived, in the Words of Her Mother

Ta-Nehisi Coates | Vanity Fair | August 24, 2020 | 26 minutes (6,720 words)

“She started walking early—like at nine months, so she was just a little person early. I always say she had an old soul. She liked listening to the blues with my mother. She would sing me the blues. It was hilarious. She used to sing ‘Last Two Dollars.’ That was her song.”

2. What Happened In Room 10?

Katie Engelhart | The California Sunday Magazine | August 23, 2020 | 64 minutes (16,178 words)

“The Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, was the first COVID hot spot in the U.S. Forty-six people associated with the nursing home died, exposing how ill-prepared we were for the pandemic — and how we take care of our elderly.”

3. The Wildest Insurance Fraud Scheme Texas Has Ever Seen

Katy Vine | Texas Monthly | August 19, 2020 | 26 minutes (6,633 words)

“Over a decade, Theodore Robert Wright III destroyed cars, yachts, and planes. That was only the half of it.”

4. The Conscience of Silicon Valley

Zach Baron | GQ | August 24, 2020 | 20 minutes (5100 words)

“Tech oracle Jaron Lanier warned us all about the evils of social media. Too few of us listened. Now, in the most chaotic of moments, his fears—and his bighearted solutions—are more urgent than ever.”

5. How the Spirit Mediums of New York Are Dealing with Mass Death

Colin Dickey | The End of the World Review | August 24, 2020 | 8 minutes (2,025 words)

“A few months into the pandemic, I started contacting spiritual mediums….As we go forward attempting to rebuild our country and our communities in the wake of this destruction, that will not just involve burying the dead—it will involve finding the means and the rituals to make sense of this loss.”