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Along with the Top 5 Longreads of the week, we’re proud to bring you “Shades of Grey” by Ashley Stimpson.

In 2018, Floridians voted overwhelmingly to end greyhound racing, a sport they were told was archaic and inhumane. What if they were wrong? Ashley’s deeply reported feature starts with the story of Vesper, her retired racing greyhound, and explores the arguments for and against the controversial sport. This is her first piece for us here at Longreads. Be sure to check out more of her work.

It’s been nearly a decade since the numbers were tattooed in her ears, but they remain remarkably legible. In the right one, dots of green ink spell out 129B: Vesper was born in the twelfth month of the decade’s ninth year and was the second in her litter. The National Greyhound Association (NGA) gave that litter a unique registration number (52507), which was stamped into her moss-soft left ear. If I type these figures into the online database for retired racing greyhounds, I can learn about her life before she was ours, before she was even Vesper.

Smokin’ Josy was born to a breeder in Texas, trained in West Virginia, and raced in Florida. Over three years, she ran 70 races. She won four of them. In Naples on May 12, 2012, she “resisted late challenge inside,” to clinch victory, according to her stat sheet. In Daytona Beach on April 17, 2013, she “stumbled, fell early.” Five days later, after a fourth-place showing, she was retired.

Read Shades of Grey


This week, we’re sharing stories from Jane Mayer, Nicholas Thompson, Gabriel Winant, Rachel Lord Elizondo, and Pamela Petro.

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1. Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose

Jane Mayer | The New Yorker | November 1, 2020 | 24 minutes (6,220 words)

“The President has survived one impeachment, twenty-six accusations of sexual misconduct, and an estimated four thousand lawsuits. That run of good luck may well end, perhaps brutally, if Joe Biden wins.”

2. A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack

Nicholas Thompson | Wired | November 2, 2020 | 13 minutes (3,323 words)

A friendly and charming hiker was known on the trail as “Mostly Harmless.” After his body was discovered in a tent in Florida, no one could figure out who he was.

3. “What’s Actually Going on in Our Nursing Homes”: An Interview with Shantonia Jackson

Gabriel Winant | Dissent | October 05, 2020 | 16 minutes (4,222 words)

Gabriel Winant, a professor at the University of Chicago interviews Shantonia Jackson, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who works at City View Multicare Center, a nursing home that experienced a major COVID-19 outbreak.

4. The Wounds That Do Not Heal

Rachel Lord Elizondo | The Bitter Southerner | November 2, 2020 | 13 minutes (3,443 words)

“Rachel Lord Elizondo shares something terrible in common with celebrated poet, professor, and author Natasha Trethewey — both of their mothers were murdered in Georgia by their former partners. Elizondo talks with Trethewey about her new book Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir — and the journey toward healing, education, and advocacy to end partner violence in Georgia and in every home.”

5. Shedding Light

Pamela Petro | Guernica Magazine | November 2, 2020 | 10 minutes (2,748 words)

“Darkness obscures and sunlight reveals, but dusk—that liminal moment in between—murmurs suggestions.”