The Soviet Children Who Survived World War II

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses, a 1985 collection of testimonials from then-Soviets who were children during the Second World War, has been translated into English and excerpted at the Paris Review. “It became connected like that in my memory, that war is when there’s no papa.”

Published: Jul 17, 2019
Length: 9 minutes (2,454 words)

Poetry and Prophecy, Dust and Ashes

“But twenty-three years after Genesis, Alter has completed his work: a finished Hebrew Bible, three volumes lovingly footnoted; an altogether worthier object of contemplation than some fantasy series, or Lyndon Johnson. And I, who am but dust and ashes, review it.”

Source: Plough
Published: Jul 16, 2019
Length: 10 minutes (2,712 words)

Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.

A deeply upsetting object lesson in how the arcane details of inheritance and property law are used to strip black Americans of their land.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Jul 15, 2019
Length: 30 minutes (7,602 words)

Going Down the Pipes

For the “Journeys” issue of Topic, Anna Holmes shares a reprint of a 1996 New York Times Magazine piece by Darcy Frey originally titled, “Something’s Got to Give.” The piece is a wild, frenetic look at the fragile fraternity of air traffic controllers minding the busiest airspace in the United States. “Every hour around here is 59 minutes of boredom and 1 of sheer terror.”

Author: Darcy Frey
Source: Topic
Published: Jul 15, 2019
Length: 36 minutes (9,120 words)

Food Injustice

Does helping poor urban families access fresh vegetables reduce health disparities? Probably not, but universal health care sure would.

Published: Jul 16, 2019
Length: 19 minutes (4,985 words)

Is It Okay to Laugh at Florida Man?

“What it’s like to go viral as one of the Internet’s biggest memes — and the moral complications of laughing along.”

Author: Logan Hill
Published: Jul 15, 2019
Length: 25 minutes (6,268 words)

The Charmed Life of Esther the Wonder Pig

In 2012, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter adopted a twenty-centimeter, six-month-old ‘mini pig’ that they named Esther. However, it turned out that their new pet was, in fact, a commercial pig that reached a sturdy 650 pounds. This did not stop her proud new parents from letting Esther share their home and documenting her adventures on social media. Close to a million and a half people now follow the pampered life of Esther on Facebook, about half a million on Instragram, and 50,000 on Twitter. Esther becoming a social media phenomenon has meant millions of people have started to care about the welfare of pigs, and by extension, all animals, in a way that was previously impossible.

Source: The Walrus
Published: Jul 6, 2019
Length: 21 minutes (5,441 words)

The Tow Truck Turf War and the Driver Left for Dead

In Pittsburgh’s cutthroat towing business, “crash chasers” sabotage competitors, employ “enforcers” to intimidate each other, and fight on the scene with disturbing regularity. For new driver and new father, Jason Stotlemyer, one job nearly turned deadly.

Source: Narratively
Published: Jul 11, 2019
Length: 7 minutes (1,967 words)

Whole 60

For the Fine Lines series, Laura Lippman writes about her own unique diet plan, which requires that you eat whatever you want whenever you want to eat it, and declare yourself beautiful.

Source: Longreads
Published: Jul 16, 2019
Length: 14 minutes (3,660 words)

An Epidemic of Disbelief

““This heffer is trippin… She was clean and smellin good, ain’t no way that shit happened like she said.” Defense witness trying to discredit a rape victim? No, a detective’s notes on a 14-year-old sexual assault victim.

Source: The Atlantic
Published: Jul 15, 2019
Length: 31 minutes (7,862 words)