The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

This week, our editors recommend stories by Carla Ciccone, Lex Pryor, Bhavya Dore, Michelle Cyca, and Casey Lyons.

Here are five standout pieces we read this week. You can always visit our editors’ picks or our Twitter feed to see what other recommendations you may have missed.

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Carla Ciccone | Harper’s Bazaar | September 5th, 2022 | 3,231 words

“Getting diagnosed with ADHD on the cusp of 40 brought my personal history into sharp focus,” writes Carla Ciccone in this personal piece for Harper’s Bazaar. There’s been a spike in the number of ADHD diagnoses among adult women, especially in the last several years, and Ciccone was one of them. “But women aren’t suddenly waking up with a neurological disorder,” she writes. “It’s likely been there all along, masquerading as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, ‘she’s difficult,’ ‘she’s an airhead,’ ‘she’s unlucky,’ ‘she’s lazy,’ and other labels that tend to mark a girl as she moves through her life.” Ciccone describes her own struggles growing up — in school, in relationships, in processing traumatic events — and how her diagnosis at 39 has helped her reframe the way she sees herself, her family, and her past. It’s an honest and illuminating read, especially for those who may see their own experiences reflected in hers. —CLR

Lex Pryor | The Ringer | September 8th, 2022 | 2,554 words

There’s been no shortage of encomia written since Serena Williams exited the U.S. Open a week ago, but none of them have felt quite so lived-in as Lex Pryor’s remarkable paean. It details her many distinctions, obviously, but more importantly it properly situates her as the watershed player she is — a subverter of the head-down gentility that Black tennis pioneers like Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe embodied, and the mother of an entirely new lineage of champions. “Is there anything more alpha,” Pryor asks, “more Tiger, more Michael, more wonderfully and ridiculously competitive, than Williams, in the midst of yet another Grand Slam victory, reacting to a bad shot by throwing her arms back, arching her spine, and screaming ‘Fuck are you doing’ into the sky?” If you’ve been lucky enough to watch Serena over the years, you already know that she’s a one of one. This piece not only articulates that with insight and brio, but it drives home the miracle of what she accomplished: remaking American tennis like few have done before, and fewer still might do after. —PR

Bhavya Dore | Fifty Two | September 2nd, 2022 | 5,241 words

“Wouter Dijkstra always knew he had two mothers: his Dutch adoptive mother and his Sri Lankan birth mother. In September 2020, he found out he had three.” With a lede like that, you know a story is going to be excellent. Bhavya Dore’s reporting on the long-term consequences of a fraught adoption pipeline between Sri Lanka and Western Europe is tender, eloquent, and nuanced. There are surprises and disappointments, bright glimpses of beauty and quiet moments of profound grief. The subjects of Dore’s story leap off the page, and I found myself wishing for happy endings I knew could never be. Of all the pieces I’ve read recently, this one felt the most alive — it crackles with humanity. —SD

Michelle Cyca | Maclean’s | September 6th, 2022 | 7,624 words

How far would you go to secure a job? In the case of Gina Adams, the answer seems too far. Far too far. In this riveting piece, Michelle Cyca explores Adams’ claims of Midewiwin descent from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. She used this claim to further her university career — but has not been able to prove her heritage in the face of allegations these ties are false. Cyca’s narrative races along, exploring other people’s doubts about Adams until, with Adams remaining in her position, Cyca feels compelled to investigate herself. As a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, and having worked at Emily Carr University at the same time as Adams, Cyca has a unique perspective to give to this story, and she tells it exceptionally well. While delving into Adams’ case, Cyca opens the Pandora’s box of university hiring practice: In the rush to add First Nations to faculties, no one was checking backstories, and now, invented Indigenous heritage is emerging at several universities. This story will grip you — and frustrate you — to the last word. —CW

Casey Lyons | Orion Magazine | Sep 6th, 2022 | 2,869 words

I confess, it was the headline that drew me in. I wasn’t a Beverly Hills, 90210 fan, never got suckered by Luke Perry’s squint-smirk combo. But I couldn’t resist that monster-movie construction, so I read it — and I’d urge the same of you, regardless of your feelings about Aaron Spelling primetime soaps. This piece starts with Perry’s death, but Casey Lyons uses the actor’s green burial as a springboard to trace the remarkable arc of his life as well, and in doing so to explore what we seek from our corporeal end. “Luke Perry knew about desire, having been buried in a laundry hamper to escape it,” Lyons writes. “He also knew it as the holder of a notion about physical erasure from the planet, that our bodies don’t have to harm the earth when we die. We all know desire. Death is a muse, but desire is a blunter sort of thing.” Regardless of whether the mushrooms feasted the way they were supposed to (spoiler: they didn’t!), you’ll walk away with a fuller sense of the man inside the suit, and maybe even of your own plans for that inescapable day. —PR