Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 1

A reading list of 10 stories we love right now.

Here’s the first official edition of Longreads’ Best of WordPress! We’ve scoured 22% of the internet to create a reading list of great storytelling — from publishers you already know and love, to some that you may be discovering for the first time.

We’ll be doing more of these reading lists in the weeks and months to come. If you read or publish a story on WordPress that’s over 1,500 words, share it with us: just tag it #longreads on Twitter, or use the longreads tag on WordPress.com.

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Tickets for Restaurants (Nick Kokonas, Alinea)

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How the owners of world-class restaurants including Alinea created their own custom ticketing system:

Though I hadn’t the faintest idea how we would sell tickets, Grant and I included the line: “Tickets, yes tickets, go on sale soon…” in the announcement ‘trailer’ for Next. That was meant to do three things: 1) gauge the reaction from potential customers; 2) create interest and controversy; 3) force us to actually follow through.

Read the story

‘How I Came to Kill Your Brother’: A Confederate Reveals an Irish-American’s Final Moments (Damian Shiels)

“There are only two conflicts in Irish history which have seen close to 200,000 Irishmen in uniform. One is the First World War… the other is the American Civil War.” Historian Damian Shiels tells the true story of a soldier’s death, and a first-person account from the man who killed him.

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No Country for Old Pervs (Molly Lambert, Grantland)

Lambert looks at the sex scandals involving photographer Terry Richardson and American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, and asks: how did they stick around for so long anyway?

I remember thinking in 1999 that we were finally on the brink of the future. I saw how wrong I was about that repeatedly. After 9/11, the culture became demonstrably more conservative. Gender essentialism returned, and the ’90s were suddenly considered a failed experiment, like the ’60s, in pushing the boundaries for sex roles too far.

Read the story

Insuring The Dead (Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The New Inquiry)

Inside the business of corpse-repatriation insurance:

It is said, by people who would know, that at its peak, Colombia’s infamous Medellín drug cartel was spending $2,500 a month on rubber bands to wrap around bricks of cash. The arithmetic of human excess begins to acquire mythic status when money becomes nearly impossible to count and we are left to communicate chiefly through estimates and legends, like the one in which Pablo Escobar set fire to $2 million in cash to create a fire for his daughter when they were on the run and she got cold. During Colombia’s dark and bloody 1980s, the cartels’ pecuniary abundance was not only the stuff of legendary proportion. Death, too, became grimly innumerable—and at the intersection of cartel, guerrilla, and paramilitary violence was the question of how to respond to the ubiquity of death.

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Inside the Barista Class (Molly Osberg, The Awl)

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A former barista examines service work and the difficult transition into the creative class:

My kind of service work is part of the same logic that indiscriminately razes neighborhoods. It outsources the emotional and practical needs of the oft-fetishized, urban-renewing “creative” workforce to a downwardly mobile middle class, reducing workers’ personality traits and educations to a series of plot points intended to telegraph a zombified bohemianism for the benefit of the rich.

Read the story

The Near-Death of Grand Central Terminal (Kevin Baker, Harper’s)

How we almost lost a New York landmark:

Many consider the destruction of New York’s original Pennsylvania Station in 1963 to have been the architectural crime of the twentieth century. But few know how close we came to also losing its counterpart, Grand Central Terminal, a hub every bit as irreplaceable. Grand Central’s salvation has generally been told as a tale of aroused civic virtue, which it was. Yet it was, as well, an affirming episode for those of us convinced that our political culture has become an endless clown-car act with the same fools always leaping out.

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Matt Power: An Appreciation (Maria Dahvana Headley)

A eulogy for the journalist Matthew Power, by his friend, writer Maria Dahvana Headley, following his death in March at age 39:

I can’t believe Matt Power died on the river. I can’t believe Matt Power isn’t still trekking and toasting the joy he always had, for everything he did, for his amazing wife, for his amazing life. So many people are grieving him right now, and grieving the words he won’t write, too. There are a lot of broken hearts all over the world. He was loved.

Read the story

Opportunity’s Knocks (Eli Saslow, Washington Post)

The fastest growing job in America — working as a nurse aide — is also among the hardest. The reporter follows a single mother hoping to find a stable job and build a better life for her family:

“I’m getting desperate, to be honest,” she told her classmates. “I need something good to happen. I’m hoping this might be it.”

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Greet the Enemy (Kent Russell, Tin House)

Russell recounts his experience with night terrors, which he associates with his love of horror films and the work of Tom Savini, a special-effects artist known for working with director George Romero on zombie films.

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What’s In a Name? (Kat Haché)

A transgender writer on changing her name:

I’m a woman with a pretty amazing namesake – two fantastic women. And my name is just as valid as any nickname adopted by any individual at any point in their lives. My name is just as valid as that of any Hollywood star. My name is just as valid as any woman married or divorced who chooses to adopt or discard her lover’s family name. Those names are not up for debate, however. Somehow, transgender names are.

Read the story

Photos: wallyg, Flickr
banditob, Flickr
coffeegeek, Flickr


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Mark Armstrong

19 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Lino Althaner

    There should also be a place for blogs in spanish in these kind of selections. I hope that in the future you could improve in that way.

    Like

  2. Intisar (nomadswriting)

    Hi, Mark.
    Thank you for this. I’ve been looking for other writers on this site worth checking out. I am a writer, but new to the wordpress world… so I am sure you can understand.
    -Intisat

    Like

  3. ashokbhatia

    Thanks for posting this!

    Like

  4. BWLEtravel

    Wonderful idea to review and flag good, thoughtful writing! Looking forward to reading your selections and discovering new writers along the way,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Russian Universe

    Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  6. marielfernandes

    Great!

    Like

  7. idoartkarenrobinson

    Longreads…this is great and I really look forward to getting into reading other peoples’ stories in greater depth…thank you…Karen

    Like

  8. dmstravel

    yes this is mind blowing good job

    Like

  9. George Quentin

    Great list! If you have a minute, daroomiesroom.com would love a brief consideration of any of our pieces for another installment of this series. Thanks for giving us all some new blogs to check out and follow!

    Like

  10. frugoal

    Great reads! So many fantastic writers in the wordpress community!

    Like

  11. Queeneth Gain

    Would hopefully get tips on how to have “longreads” of my own.
    Looking forward to reading your selection.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  12. indifferenttearex

    Kudos, here to say the same as everyone else, basically. Great idea, good follow-through. Excited to read more as they come. ;D

    Like

  13. skaheru

    Thanks for this. Looking forward to others – and to more tips for us to popularize our own blogs more.

    Like

  14. @hell4heather

    Let’s have some madcap, light-relief comedy on here too! I might know someone… ;-)

    Like

  15. careermanagementcoaching

    What a great idea! Thank you for these posts.

    Like

  16. regiswrites

    Thank you for this. Such a great opportunity spurs me to go to my posts; then to check if they meet your word count requirement.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. unpackedwriter.com

    These long reads were great! Glad to know the form will go on! Loved the one on the barista’s trajectory!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Bryan Hemming

    As an author of longreads, who has received mentions before, longreads also make sense for advertisers too. The attention span of the average surfer is limited, and hit numbers are not necessarily a good indication of interest. But readers return to their favorite longread writers again and again. Not only do they spend more time there but on a longread there´s obvously far more space for more targeted advertising as longreads demand more space and time and can easily be profiled by the material they read.

    Like

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