Something to read – March 2011


in Something to read

Something to read – more than news, different than fiction

Something to read is a monthly collection of articles and essays for high intermediate and advanced readers. They are more than news, different than fiction – longer, in-depth articles and essays about fascinating people, events, and ideas.

For some suggestions to make online reading easier, take a minute to read More reading, less looking.

March 2011

The Oscars: Who calls the shots? (The Long Good Read) – They are the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group of entertainment industry professionals responsible for handing out the Oscars every year.

Volcano of Rage (NY Review of Books) – Some of the ideas behind the revolts shaking the Arab world.

“I Heard the Shots and Ran Toward the Sound” (GQ) – The story of Daniel Hernandez, the 21-year-old intern who helpd save Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s life when she was shot in Tucson, Arizona.

Philip French: my life as a stammerer (The Observer) – Philip French reflects on the movie The King’s Speech – and how his own speech impediment has contributed to his life and character.

Revolution U (Foreign Policy) – What Egypt’s young people learned from the students who overthrew Milosevic (Serbia).

A Cocktail Party in the Street (Edible Geography) – An interview with Alan Stillman, who in 1965 founded T.G.I. Friday’s, the first singles bar in America.

The People v. Football (GQ) – Jeanne Laskas’ story of Fred McNeill and other American football players who have suffered serious head injuries while playing and the growing public concern about players’ injuries.

Death in the Snow (Guardian) – A body is found in the frozen North Dakota woods. The cops say the dead Japanese woman was looking for the $1-million she saw buried in the move Fargo. But the story didn’t end there.

A Secret Archive: On the Mexican Suitcase (The Nation) – 4500 photographs of the Spanish Civil war by three extraordinary photographers left Europe in 1942 in the luggage of the Mexican ambassador to France when he and his wife returned to Mexico. What happened to them?

The Hunter Becomes the Hunted (Esquire) – This year, as America leaves Iraq for good after eight years of war, we also leave behind a man believed by our military and intelligence agencies to be the best terrorist hunter alive. He’s still there, hunting. And so are the terrorists.

Egypt Leaders Found “Off” Switch for Internet (New York Times) – Many believe that the mobilizing power of the Internet was one of the Egyptian opposition’s most potent weapons. But quickly lost in the swirl of revolution was the government’s ferocious counterattack, a dark achievement that many had thought impossible in the age of global connectedness.

The Hard Luck and Beautiful Life of Liam Neeson (Esquire) – Actor, widower, philosophizer, big man, funny man, capable drinker of pinot noir: may we introduce to you, the man you’ve known for all these years.

The Bobby Fischer Defense (The New York Review of Books) – Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov writes about Bobby Fischer, America’s mysterious chess champion.

The Bull on the Mountain (The New York Review of Books) – While climbing high in the mountains of Norway, Oliver Sacks came face to face with the sign: “Beware of the Bull.” He continued up the mountain until he met it, but what was it? Bull? Monster? or the Devil himself?

Conan 2.0 (Fortune) – When Conan O’Brien left NBC, he agreed to stay off TV for months and stay quiet about the network and its executives. The agreement contained no mention of social media, however. How Conan accidentally fought his way back into bedrooms (and computers, smart phones, and tablets) across America.

Flu breakthrough promises a vaccine to kill all strains (Guardian) – Is a universal flu vaccine possible? How would it work?

John-John Veasey’s Life After the Philly Mob (Philly Mag) – He was one of the most colorful characters in the history of the Philadelphia mob — a charming killer who tangled with two MAFIA bosses, survived three gunshots to the head, and suffered Through the revenge murder of his own brother. Then he went into the Federal Witness-Protection Program — and built a new life for himself that may have been even crazier than his first one

The Last Wailer (GQ) – Even the name is legend. Bunny Wailer. He grew up in the same house as Bob Marley, and together with Peter Tosh, they created not just The Wailers but a new template for sound. But only Bunny remains, and today he lives in his own private Zion. He is not an easy man to visit

What Was He Thinking? (Sports Illustrated) – Why did quarterback Jake Plummer walk away from the game of American football while he was at the top to spend time with his family and dogs?

Love you and leave you (Financial Times) – Wang Tingting last saw her parents nearly two years ago, but now that they are reunited, no one knows what to say to one another. Finally, Su Taoying, Tingting’s mother, clasps her 12-year-old daughter’s hand and says, ruefully, “Next time I see you, you will be taller than me.” As they smile, the family resemblance is striking. And yet for the past five years they have not really been a family.

Inside the Secret Service (The Atlantic) – When President Obama and two-thirds of the world’s leaders – include Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – gather in New York City, it is up to the U.S. Secret Service to keep them all safe.

Britain’s DIY food producers (Guardian) – Since the recession began, there has been a noticeable movement of food lovers researching complicated processes, building their own equipment and even developing businesses fuelled by little more than enthusiasm and ingenuity. It runs in parallel with a rising interest in traditional crafts. . . . It’s geeky, obsessive, web-driven and, above all, fun – this is the new Food DIY (do it yourself).

When Irish Eyes Are Crying (Vanity Fair) – First First Iceland. Then Greece. Now Ireland, which headed for bankruptcy with its own mysterious logic. In 2000, suddenly among the richest people in Europe, the Irish decided to buy their country—from one another. After which their banks and government really screwed them. So where’s the rage?

America’s Gandhi: Rev. Martin Luther King Jr (Time) – A profile of MLK written in 1964 after he had been chosen as Time’s Man of the Year and before his death.

The forger’s story (Financial Times) – Which was he: generous priest or creator of counterfeit paintings?

The Dancer and the Terrorist (More Intelligent Life) – When Peru’s most wanted man was captured in 1992, a young ballerina went to jail too, for harbouring him at her studio. The story was turned into a novel and film, “The Dancer Upstairs”. This year, the author of the novel, Nicholas Shakespeare, flew to Lima to meet the dancer at last—and to ask her whether she was guilty.

The Wave-Maker (Vanity Fair) – Meet Ken Bradshaw who caught the largest wave – 85 feet of “Condition Black” water – ever surfed.

A Father’s Pain, A Judge’s Duty, and A Justice Beyond their Reach (Los Angeles Times) – Paul Wayment made a profound mistake, left his 2-year-old son alone in his truck as he tracked deer in the wilderness. The boy was gone when he returned. The story of a collective struggle to find a just punishment.

Barbara’s Backlash (Vanity Fair) – “Even Barbara Bush’s stepmother is afraid of her.” A profile of the wife of the first President Bush, a woman many Americans have come to love.

Happy reading!

Warren Ediger

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