Help pick next week's reads by tweeting suggestions with the hashtag #SundayLR.
The goal of The Sunday Long Read newsletter is simple: To put the past week’s best journalism in your hands every Sunday morning—or, as a friend said, “to screw up my Sundays with far too much great stuff to read.” Obviously, compiling these lists is a wildly subjective exercise. How do I choose what’s “best?” If I finish a long-read article and immediately want to recommend it to a friend, you’ll find it linked here. These stories brought me pleasure, made me laugh and think and, most of all, told me something I didn’t know. No “hot takes” here.
After 24 years at The Miami Herald and The New York Times, I now write long-form sports stories for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. Naturally, these lists will tilt a bit toward sports (one week I chose 7 out of 10 pieces about sports). But you’ll find every kind of story here. And each week, I’ll choose my favorite read. The standard for that choice will be based as much on raw emotion as anything: If I desperately wished I had written it, you’ll find it at the top of the list.
Why another curated long read list? Well, I started this on a whim in early 2014, tweeting out my favorite stories each Sunday. I was motivated by finding a more orderly way to meet my compulsion to share. One of my favorite things about Twitter is it’s a generous platform that helps you discover great writing and great writers. If you follow the right crowd, Twitter becomes a kind of Pandora or Spotify for great journalism, and The Sunday long read began as a way to try to give back as much as I take. I was surprised and touched at how many people responded favorably. Before long, many of those same people urged me to start a newsletter like this one, to make it easier on them (hopefully) and (perhaps) on me.
This project is co-curated by Jacob Feldman, a Harvard senior whose enthusiasm and expertise were vital to getting this project launched.
During the week, on Twitter, Jacob and I hope you’ll use the #SundayLR hashtag for a piece you’d like us to consider for that Sunday’s list. You can also email your nominations, or questions and/or suggestions for how this list can improve to email@example.com.
Ashely Powers is a Miami writer whose work I’ve long admired. In “Their Town,” she writes about a sect of Mormon fundamentalists living on the border of Utah and Arizona. As the LA Times columnist Kari Howard called this piece, “It’s Stepford Wives (and kids) for the Mormon fundamentalist set.” A nearly perfect description of a riveting tale, which Powers deeply reports and delivers with grace.
Sub-headline of the week goes to Grantland for "Death, Disgrace and a Handful of Knockers." I would read every word of that even if I hadn't known it was about cheating - yeah, that's right - in competitive bass fishing.
With Heisman Trophy ballots due tomorrow, read about one of college football's first heroes, his inspiring life, and his dramatic death.
LEDE OF THE WEEK:
“During an evening of carousing and drinking at a Salisbury tavern, a soldier and his comrades were drinking to one another’s health. Then the soldier did the unthinkable: he drank to the health of the Devil. Boldly daring the Devil to appear, the soldier claimed that if the Devil did not, it was proof that neither the Devil, nor God, existed. The soldier’s drinking companions quickly fled the room out of fear, but they returned “after hearing a hideous noise, and smelling a stinking savour.” After returning to the room, the soldier had vanished, and all they found was a broken window, the iron bar within it bowed and covered in blood. The soldier was never heard from again."
"So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people."