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

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Eric Borsuk | The Marshall Project | September 22, 2022 | 8,775 words

When Eric Borsuk was incarcerated in federal prison with two accomplices, the three friends used self-education to pass the time. They studied on a demanding schedule and evaluated assignments for one another. When an injustice within the so-called justice system separated them, Eric lost not only their companionship but his primary coping mechanism, forcing him to find a new way to protect his mental and physical health during the final five years of his sentence. In this incisive piece at The Marshall Project (published in partnership with VQR), Borsuk recounts how the justice system’s willful blindness and casual cruelty helped inspire him to write. , the memoir Borsuk wrote from his cell, became a major motion picture in 2018. —KS

Aaron Gell | Los Angeles Magazine | September 22, 2022 | 6,235 words

Bestselling novelist Jarett Kobek believes he’s uncovered the true identity of the Zodiac Killer. His research into the cultural references in the killer’s cryptic letters led him down a rabbit hole and, ultimately, to an eccentric man named Paul Doerr, who died in 2007. But Doerr’s daughter, Gloria, isn’t so sure — until Aaron Gell suggests that the two of them come together to meet. I’m in no way immersed in the subculture of cold-case websleuths, but Gell’s story hooked me from the start, and it was impossible not to picture the movie version of this piece in my head as I was reading. As Gell shows, the evidence against Doerr might be the strongest yet, especially after chilling conversations with Gloria about her father, her childhood, and their relationship. Even if Kobek is just another amateur detective making this claim, Gell’s piece demonstrates how easy it is to become obsessed with unsolved cases like these. —CLR

Laurie Penny | British GQ | September 18, 2022 | 3,415 words

I was 13 when Princess Diana died. For weeks, her death was the dominant force in England — on every channel, every paper, every face. A soap opera stuck on a tragic loop. My mum took me to London to lay flowers at Buckingham Palace. I remember the plastic cellophane suffocating the dying blooms, glinting in the sun in an expanse that seemed to stretch forever. I remember it being silent. I had picked flowers from our garden, which were now a sad, wilted offering. I was embarrassed putting them down — partly by the flowers, partly by even being there. Looking back, I am still a little embarrassed; it was strange to be driven by this huge, incomprehensible, national grief. So I appreciated Laurie Penny’s awkwardness in joining “the Queue” to walk past Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, quick to explain she is “not here for the Queen; I’m here for the Queue” (and that she is being paid). People have quipped Brits have been practicing for this queue their whole lives, and Penny encounters great stoicism as people settle into “groups of around seven or 10, and we take turns keeping each other’s place.” Her group is the focus of this essay: An array of characters brought together simply by turning up at the same time, they bond over the 14-hour ordeal with true blitz spirit. I was particularly rooting for 84-year-old John and his wife, feeling horrified when, after 13 hours, an official tried to remove them for being too frail. Reading, I went from chuckling at Penny’s wit to feeling tearful. Not for the Queen — I would not have joined the queue without being paid either — but, as a British expat of 10 years, for missing being part of a nation of people who would willingly share such a bizarre experience. A beautiful essay that, for a brief moment, made me miserably, gut-wrenchingly homesick. —CW

Hanif AbdurraqibESPN | September 28, 2022 | 8,314 words

If you’ve only read Hanif Abdurraqib’s peerless arts criticism and , you may not be aware how deeply he loves the game of basketball. (Or how stoically he shoulders his own pathos-filled Minnesota Timberwolves fandom.) But that love suffuses every word of his journey into the world of summer hoops leagues — those offseason battlegrounds where promising young draftees go up against hometown legends and NBA icons alike, in tiny jam-packed gyms that amplify the game’s visceral swells beyond imagination. This is more than a travelogue. It’s a paean to the forge of competitive pro-am basketball, a tradition that sharpens games and shapes folklore. “The court is home,” he writes of Columbus’ Kingdom Summer League. “It transcends the places you live, or have lived. If you were made in this city, you can come back and play in this city, and there will be people who remember you when you first made a name for yourself. In a city like Columbus, if you were great once on these courts, you can always exist in a space beyond fading memories.” —PR

5. I Do Not Keep a Diary

Will Rees | Astra Magazine | September 15, 2022 | 3,051 words

Will Rees doesn’t yet keep a diary, but he aspires to. Maybe. He carries a notebook and pen, ready for the precise set of planting conditions that would allow him to sow his thoughts and ideas. The notebook is well traveled. The cover is worn, yet the inside remains blank as he struggles with how to portray himself on the page, asking “How would I like to appear when it is only myself who is looking?” I loved this piece because I find it wholly relatable. Have you ever felt those sweet yet rare moments when you’re infused with possibility, that desire to make sense of your life and your experiences, to uncover meaning in how you spend your days? Have you ever aspired to get thoughts down before they evaporate, before that drop of inspiration or insight is gone forever? To take pride in yourself as a thinking person who makes reflection a habit? Don’t we all? —KS