guest-pick

Waston & Meeka help you tie the knot. 

A new Watson-enabled app, MEEKA, can help you have that dream wedding. The cognitive app learns from tons of data to keep an eye on the budget, find venues, sift through the guest list, pick out flowers and even suggest cake flavors for you. So do you, take this Watson to be your wedding planner?

Learn more about the Watson-enabled Meeka app →

Reading List: 6 Stories for the Science-Fiction Newbie

Hilary Armstrong is a literature student at U.C. Santa Barbara and a Longreads intern. She also happens to love science fiction, so she put together a #longreads list for sci-fi newbies.


Have you heard? Science fiction is “in.” Cloud Atlas, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Oblivion—nerds at the movies, nerds everywhere. This is thrilling if you are familiar with the genre, but what if you never got into sci-fi in the first place? Where would you start?

Since its inception (ha), speculative fiction has worked as social commentary, satire, and a creative answer to the question “What if?” Here are my personal picks to get you started. Please add your own science-fiction story picks in the comments below.

1. Nightfall, Isaac Asimov (1941)

No sci-fi list is complete without Asimov, and not only due to his creation of the Laws of Robotics. If you like this story, I would suggest moving straight on to his “robopsychologist” Susan Calvin stories.

2. The Veldt, Ray Bradbury (1950)

Bradbury, of Martian Chronicles fame and beyond, writes here about the danger of integrating technology too far into human developmental psychology.

3. Bloodchild, Octavia Butler (1995)

A look at the symbiotic relationship between aliens and humans. If you’ve seen any horror movie featuring extraterrestrials, you’ve pretty much seen them all, but sci-fi stories like this one explore more “alien” ideas than the simple “monster from space” trope.

4. Robot, by Helena Bell (2012)

Robots! Here’s a short and wicked story from Bell, a contemporary sci-fi writer who touches on slavery, mortality, and the horror of a slow decline in life.

5. The Country of the Blind, H.G. Wells (1904)

Wells (War of the Worlds, Time Machine) is the oldest pick on my list, and this story imagines just what its title implies.

6. Understand, by Ted Chiang (1991)

Chiang addresses PTSD, advancements in medical science, and the horror of not trusting your own mind. This story is probably one of the best “straight” sci-fi examples on this list—the clear “What if?” develops steadily, and pushes the reader along to its surprising conclusion. Entire novels have been written in this style—Max Barry’s Machine Man is my personal favorite.

Bonus Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Suggestions

I also recommend this list for more great reading material, and if you want to start with something cyberpunky, look out for Neal Stephenson or William Gibson—they’re mostly novelists, and definitely worth your time.

What would you put on your sci-fi reading list? Tell us in the comments. 

(Illustration via umbc.edu)

Longreads Guest Pick: Nolan Feeney on 'The New New Girl'

Nolan is an editorial fellow at The Atlantic. 

Jada Yuan’s profile of Mindy Kaling for New York magazine is almost a year old, but it has been a major influence on the way I write. It moves effortlessly from funny to sad, and it captures Kaling so well that it’s hard not read her quotes in her voice. But I think the story’s structure is the best part. The piece mentions a sign in Kaling’s room that reads: STAKES MOTIVATION TURNS ESCALATION, which she says are the four pillars for a great comedy story. If you read closely, I think you’ll notice how Yuan’s article follows a similar organization that shows Kaling’s model works well for great journalism, too.

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Guest Artists all picked!

Normally I would be glad to be so spoiled for choice, but in times like these I feel more like a deer paralyzed before oncoming headlights. You’re all so fucking good, and while I’m really bad at saying no and perfectly content to let a band of artists more skilled than myself occupy EO’s viewership for the next three months… I fear the folks manning the coffers for my student loans would come break my legs. 

So that said, tough choices were made, with skill, familiarity with the source material/ comic, and diversity among the lineup all given mind. My intended list of 3 grew to more in the 6-7ish territory with some very, very close seconds. 

I’ll be confirming everything with the folks I’m talking to over the next few days and reaching out to some more of you to see if you’d be interested in putting your hand in for our next chapter break sometime after december.

I really can’t thank you all enough though. The best part about working on this comic over the last couple years has been meeting new talented people, and this was no exception. Thank you so much for reading, reblogging, and thank you especially to those who reached out to me. It truly means to world to me.

Longreads Guest Pick: Elise Foley on 'The Girl Who Turned to Bone'

Elise Foley is an immigration and politics reporter for The Huffington Post.

“My favorite longread this week was Carl Zimmer’s ’The Girl Who Turned to Bone’ in the Atlantic, which is about a very rare disease that causes people to form a second skeleton. It reminded me, in a great way, of ’The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly’ in the New York Times last year—both of them are stories about dealing with a rare disease on your own, then finding a doctor and network of people like you that make you feel like you’re not alone. The entire piece is a fascinating look at the science behind the disease and the people who helped to discover it.”

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@rebeccabrogers

There are some traditions that just don’t die. This is one of those traditions. Every other Thursday. Host picks the food. Guest picks the movie. And they’ve only missed a handful of them over the years. They’ve seen everything from Star Wars movies to Sharknado and today is the last Thursday before Danny finally graduates. Danny grabbed the DVD that was in his bag and headed for her door, knocking to see if Becca was home.

erisxmi  asked:

HC meme: body & appearance 11 & 14

headcanon meme: accepting!

What are their chief tension centers?

her lower back and shoulders.

Does your character dress the same on the job as they do in their free time? If not, what are the differences?

hyoseong is fairly stylish but when she’s lazing around at home or only expects one guest she definitely picks comfort over anything else. at work she dresses professionally, sometimes overlooking that she’ll probably have to toss her heels away so she doesn’t end up twisting an ankle. but at home she’s in over-sized shirts (probably brian’s lbr…h…fuck) and shorts.

Longreads Guest Pick: Briana Bierschbach on 'Finding Molly: Drugs, Dancing, and Death'

Girl reporter for Politics in Minnesota. Mother of Dragons.

It was a great week for longreads in America (see: Reuters’ ‘The Child Exchange’ investigation and Rolling Stone’s interactive story on hackers who will probably save the world), but one piece was passed around on my social media feeds more than any other: 'Finding Molly: Drugs, Dancing and Death,’ by Shane Morris. This piece doesn’t exactly exemplify any traditional journalistic values, nor would mom approve of it (warning, this story contains swears), but it’s also the most educational thing I’ve read all week. Did you know that the 'rise of Molly can be traced back to German Shepherds?’ Did you know that cartel tactics are being used to traffic Molly? No, I bet you didn’t. It’s like 'Breaking Bad,’ but real. Added bonus: Morris’s writing style is amazingly accessible. It feels like you’re listening to the confessions of a friend, that is, if you have friends that do/sell a lot of drugs.

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Longreads Guest Pick: Christine Kim on 'What's Killing Poor White Women?'

Christine Kim is a civil rights advocate studying at Duke University School of Law.

My favorite longread of the week is ‘What’s Killing Poor White Women,’ by Monica Potts, in The American Prospect. Health care is on the national stage. From Obamacare to health care costs to new state-run health exchanges, it seems that each news day is packed with analysis of our governmental strategy on health care. The stories of the individuals and minority groups who are suffering and—in this story—passing away without clear explanation do not often make it to the front page. Monica Potts discusses the alarming drop in life expectancy of low-income white women with humility, candidness, and understanding. Her story makes the research and data accessible all while reminding the reader to remember the women being affected. My close friend recently lost his mother suddenly without any warning or explanation. While the article is not entirely consoling, it places our grief into a greater context and made me realize that more information may be revealed to us in the future through further study and research.

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A Longreads Guest Pick: Tim Cigelske on Clive Thompson's "Is Google Wrecking Our Memory?"

Tim is Director of Social Media at Marquette University and writes about beer and running for DRAFT Magazine.

“Whenever I hear people talking about how technology is ruining our attention spans and turning our collective brains to mush, I like to tell them about #longreads. This article is a perfect example. I saw a link on Twitter to an excerpt of Clive Thompson’s book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better. I immediately saved it to Pocket to read later. In this chapter, Thompson provides background on how we’ve always used outside resources to boost our ‘transactive memory,’ or ability to recall specific facts. The most powerful aid, it turns out, is pooling our brain power with other people. Today, technology is simply multiplying that ability. Now go share with someone else.”

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Photo: Simon McConico

Longreads Guest Pick: Meaghan O'Connell on Ted Thompson and the Making of a Novel

Meaghan O'Connell is the editor-in-chief of meaghano.com:

“I regard novel-writing with a heady combination of awe and dread, so when debut novelist Ted Thompson wrote about his book’s eight (eight!) year journey to completion last week, I opened it in a tab and walked away from my desk immediately. ‘The Evolution of a First Novel’ is as fascinating as it is generous, and takes us along as his book about a retired Connecticut divorcee went from plausible deniability, to short story, to MFA application, to self-doubt, despair, long dog walks, and longer grant applications. The story ends as all real stories should, with an air of peaceful resignation and a book deal. The people mentioned (Thompson most of all, I suppose) seem to be from a bygone literary era, but aren't—or so we’ll keep hoping. I took from it what is either a reminder, a threat, or a revelation, depending: that people will forgive you when you get in your own way, and make way for you when you get out of it.”

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Longreads Guest Pick: Kristen Majewski on 'How Meditation Works'

Kristen Majewski is the social media editor of Prevention.com.

My pick for this week is ‘How Meditation Works,’ by Liz Kulze, in The Atlantic. Meditation is often dismissed as New Age and hokey, but Kulze does a wonderful job of making mindful meditation an accessible notion and perhaps even a necessary one. She is absolutely right that 'in a culture that continually emphasizes the cultivation of the self, [letting go of a fixed sense of identity] may be the most profound lesson that mindfulness meditation has to offer, and certainly the most bewildering.’ A great reminder for a 140-character world and a must-read for those of us who are constantly plugged in.

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Longreads Guest Pick: Valerie Vande Panne on Anna Clark and Detroit

Valerie Vande Panne is an independent journalist covering life and human interests. This week, she chose a series of articles to help give readers a better understanding of Detroit.

“As a journalist, I am often asked, ‘How do you cut through the noise?’ In other words, how do I sift through the thousands upon thousands of bits of information, 'facts,’ media outlets, and organizations vying and manipulating to get my attention? One tool I rely on is credible sources—actual human beings, experts of any given field. It starts with curiosity: I read their work; I question everything.

"In the case of Detroit, there is one writer I turn to for understanding again and again—a woman who is so prolific, your heart beats with her words as you read, and you miss Detroit as if the city is a long lost lover who has broken your heart—though, perhaps, you’ve never even felt the Motor City’s aching concrete beneath your feet. 

"Anna Clark’s words are gems of Detroit and offered to you with grace, so you too may intimately know this American city and her people.  

"There’s been a lot of loud noise about Detroit these last few weeks, much of it from people who have never spent a moment breathing her air, and do not hold Detroit in their heart—how can one say what a place is, or what she needs, or what her people must do, when there is such a fundamental and profound disconnect?

"If you care to read anything about Detroit, I humbly suggest you make it one of, if not all three of these wordsmithed pieces of truth. Take them in, let them seep into you, and if it pleases you, lift Detroit with your spirit.”

• “Ty Cobb as Detroit.” (Grantland, July 22, 2011)

“Mapping Motown.” (Architect Magazine, November 27, 2012)

“Can Urban Planning Rescue Detroit?” (NextCity, July 1, 2013, Subscription Required)

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Longreads Guest Pick: Win Bassett on 'The Poorest Rich Kids in the World'

Win Bassett is a writer, lawyer, and seminarian at Yale.

My treasured longread of the week is Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s “The Poorest Rich Kids in the World” in Rolling Stone. I lived down the road from Duke University for ten years, but one doesn’t need any familiarity with the Blue Devils to become enthralled with the tale of a family haunted by real demons. Erdely writes near the beginning of her story, “When they turn 21, the family claims, the twins will inherit a trust fund worth $1 billion.” But by the end of the heroin-filled, heart-wrenching saga that involves blood, guns, torture, and even lions, one learns all the money in the world can’t save the heirs of the Duke family.

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Longreads Guest Pick: Baxter Holmes on 'The Prophets of Oak Ridge'

Baxter covers the Celtics for The Boston Globe, which he joined in 2013 after spending three and a half years as a sports reporter at the Los Angeles Times. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. He’s a proud Oklahoman from a no-stoplight town where humans are outnumbered by cow and buffalo:

“A nun. A super-secure nuclear-weapons facility. A break-in. Click-bait, all of that. All ingredients succinct enough for an enticing tweet, which these days count. But Dan Zak, one of the best in this racket, has far more than a wild premise; he also wrote the hell out of his piece, ‘The Prophets of Oak Ridge,’ in the Washington Post. It’s my favorite longread of the week. Exquisite reporting, beautiful pacing (and writing), but no overwriting—a key. The online layout is 'Snow Fall’ sexy, and the illustrations set it apart. The story itself bounces chronologically off their suspenseful B&E, keeping you in real time while divulging just enough history—but not enough to bore you. Some stories are as fulfilling as a top-dollar steak, medium rare, with nice fixings on the side. This is one of them. (But no spoilers.) Well done, Zak. You took a gripping narrative and turned it topical by showing how much the U.S. doles out per year on nuclear weapons. You also made me care about these servants of God, especially Sister Megan. I now give a damn about their trial. In all, this is newspapers at their finest. Long live print—and print will live on with stories like this.”

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A Longreads Guest Pick: Sari Botton on 'Not Weird About Brooklyn'

Sari is a writer and editor living in Rosendale, N.Y. She writes the Conversations With Writers Braver Than Me column on The Rumpus. An anthology she edited for Seal Press, Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, will be released Oct. 8.

“My favorite longread this week is ’Not Weird About Brooklyn’ by Helen Rubinstein in the Paris Review Daily. Having left the East Village for upstate eight years ago with very mixed feelings on the matter, I tend to be very curious about other people’s stories of quitting New York City. Love-hate relationships with the place are so common as to border on the cliche - ditto the city’s tenacious gravitational pull despite the hate part of that equation, despite diminishing returns over time lived there. Rubinstein acknowledges the cliche, even the one inherent in writing about it, ‘the trope of the single woman in New York,’ while giving new, nuanced, if meta, voice to it. Her criteria for a potential mate made me laugh (and I cheered this one: 'Not anti-memoir.’). I was reminded of an essay by John Tierny in the New York Times Magazine in the mid nineties about how fundamentally picky single New Yorkers can be. (In that one, a criteria for potential mates was, '…has resolved her control drama.’) Nine days before she leaves, as she packs up her apartment, Rubinstein seems at once melancholy and resigned to leaving, and as if she’s trying to convince herself she’s made the right choice. It’s a familiar conversation, one I have with myself all the time.”

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Longreads Guest Pick: BKLYNR's Favorite Brooklyn Stories

Thomas Rhiel and Raphael Pope-Sussman are the founding editors of BKLYNR, a new online publication that features in-depth journalism—including more than a few #longreads—about Brooklyn.

Thomas’s pick: “Brooklyn: The Sane Alternative,” by Pete Hamill in New York magazine

It’s 2013—three long years since New York magazine asked “What was the hipster?”—and yet there are still people for whom Brooklyn means Bedford Avenue. It’s depressing that so played out a trope could displace, in the popular imagination, everything else that the borough is: more populated than Manhattan and three times as massive; a patchwork of neighborhoods, some of which, incredibly, aren’t Williamsburg or Park Slope; and a place whose history stretches as far back as the country’s.

A restorative for the trend piece du jour is Pete Hamill’s “Brooklyn: The Sane Alternative,” a New York magazine cover story from 1969. It’s an oldie but goodie, a look at the borough’s bounce back from what Hamill sees as its postwar (and post-Dodgers) decline. As a snapshot of an evolving Brooklyn from decades ago, the story’s a fascinating read today. And Hamill’s wide-angle view of the borough’s complexities, as well as his celebration of its energy and diversity, still rings true.

Raphael’s pick: “Gentrified Fiction,” by Elizabeth Gumport in n+1

There’s a story many Brooklynites tell in which the moment of their arrival in a neighborhood coincides with the last breath of its “authentic” life. Those who came after, this story goes, never knew the “real” neighborhood. They missed the junkies who hung out on the stoops down the block, the bodega on the corner that sold 40s, the drop ceilings and vinyl siding and linoleum. It’s a seductive story, to hear and to tell. But it’s also a destructive story—really a myth—that valorizes an arbitrary authenticity at the expense of a more complex understanding of the place we call home. What is the “real” Brooklyn—what is the “real” anywhere?

If you’re interested in interrogating that question, I strongly recommend Elizabeth Gumport’s 2011 essay “Gentrified Fiction,” which explores the fixation on authenticity in contemporary literature about Brooklyn.

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