Something to read – more than news, different than fiction
Most of our fluency comes from what we read, so reading is the most important thing you can do to improve your English.
To get the greatest benefit from your reading, find articles and stories that are easy enough for you to enjoy without stopping to look at a dictionary. You may not know all the words, but that’s not important. Keep reading, and let your brain do what it does so well – acquire more English.
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.
Something to read during June 2011
Making the Memorial (New York Review of Books) – Maya Lin, who was a architectural student at Yale University, when her Vietnam Memorial design was chosen, finally tells her story.
To Heaven by Subway (Fortune) – On this Memorial Day weekend, travel back to August 1938 to New York City’s Coney Island on a hot summer Sunday.
How Reporting Almost Got Me Killed Before It Saved My Life (The Stranger) – Dorothy Parvaz talks to Eli Sanders about her 19-day disappearance in Syria and Iran.
What happened to Air France Flight 447? (New York Times) – New discoveries, at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, may help solve the mystery of the flight that vanished in 2009 halfway between South America and Africa.
El Mirador, the Lost City of the Maya (Smithsonian) – Now overgrown by jungle, the ancient site was once the thriving capital of the Maya civilization.
Dear Rapist… (Guardian) – 20 years later, a rapist contacts his victim to say, “I’m sorry.”
The man who loves books too much (SanFrancisco) – Notorious thief John Gilkey has built a vast collection of rare works, most of which he will never read and no on will ever see. Why?
My Two Days as a Russian Tabloid Sensation (The Awl) – Writer Michael Idov wins Russian GQ’s “Man of the Year” award and more … or less.
My Mom Couldn’t Cook (Esquire) – I am a husband who cooks for his wife, which makes me a man who cooks for his woman and now his women, which in turns makes me a man who to some extent cooks like a woman: out of love and generosity, yes, but also out of service, out of duty.
Paper Tigers (New York Magazine) – What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?
Taco Bell and the Golden Age of Drive-Thru (Bloomberg) – Operational innovations at restaurants like Taco Bell rival those at any factory in the world. A view from the drive-thru window at how they do it.
Chinese System is Doomed, Leaders on a Fool’s Errand (The Atlantic) – Hillary Clinton says Beijing’s human rights record is “deplorable” and it is “trying to stop history” by opposing the advance of democracy.
Home in Capital Letters (Joe Blogs) – “There’s something deeper, something that is wordless, a sense that you are going to the one place that makes you feel centered and comfortable and even a bit certain.” Sports writer Joe Posnanski’s story of how Kansas City became home.
The Tragedy of Sarah Palin (The Atlantic) – From the moment Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech electrified the Republican Convention, she was seen as an unbending, hard-charging, red-meat ideologue – to which soon was added “think-skinned” and “vindictive.” But a look at what Palin did while in office in Alaska – the only record she has – shows a very different politician: one who worked with Democrats to tame big oil and solve the great problem at the heart of the state’s politics. That Sarah Palin might have set the nation on a different course. What went wrong?
Where is Ai Weiwei? (Guardian) – Artist and activist Ai Weiwei was arrested by the Chinese poice on April 3 in Beijing as he was about to board a scheduled flilght for Hong Kong. He has not been seen since.
Here Be Monsters (GQ) – They did it for the simplest of reasons: adventure. Three friends, on a drunken dare, set out in a dinghy for a nearby island. But when the gas ran out and they drifted into barren waters, their biggest threat wasn’t the water or the ocean—it was each other
The Lazarus File (The Atlantic) – In 1986, a young nurse was murdered in Los Angeles. Police pinned down no suspects, and the case gradually went cold. It took 23 years – and revolutionary breakthroughs in forensic science – before LAPD detectives could finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle.
Sons of the Revolution (The New Yorker) – Libya’s rebels and the war with Qaddafi: Can a ragtag civilian army defeat a dictator?
Woman of the World (Vanity Fair) – In her ninth year as America’s most admired woman, Hillary Clinton is dealing with radical change across the globe, as well as trying to transform U.S. diplomacy.
Bradley Manning is at the center of the WikiLeaks controversy. But who is he? (The Washington Post)
Liquid Gold: The Booming Market for Human Breast Milk (Wired Magazine)
Too young to Wed: the secret world of child brides (National Geographic)
The Dark Arts (Vanity Fair) – It started when the News of the World hacked into the voice mails of the British royal household, in 2005, touching off a scandal that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.—and, apparently, the British authorities—tried to contain. After a score of lawsuits and new arrests, the cover-up is falling apart.
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert (The Awl)
SlutWalk: bad message or a great idea? (Guardian) – In light of evidence that many men and women, including police officers in the UK, believe that women share the blame if they are raped, should we be encouraging young women to dress less provocatively?
Terror, Tragedy and Hope in Tuscaloosa (Sports Illustrated) – On April 27 the most devastating tornado in Alabama history cut nearly a mile-wide swath through the university town, killing 41. Crimson Tide athletes, haunted by the storm and its aftermath, work to heal a community that has always cheered them on as they try to put their own lives back together.
The Slap That Sparked a Revolution (Guardian) – The Arab spring was triggered in Tunisia when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after claiming he was slapped by policewoman Fedia Hamdi. But as Elizabeth Day discovers, revolutions create their own myths
Lombok: the quieter side of Bali (Guardian) – It is the end of the rainy season in Lombok, but the storm is yet to break. The air, heavy with moisture, collects in my elbow pits and rests on my top lip like milk. Even the breeze is dense and sticky. A horse and cart rattles along the narrow road and then a scuffed moped, its driver resting on a cushion of un-plucked chickens. Is this small, self-sufficient volcanic island really becoming, as its embryonic tourist board suggests, the new Bali?
Somali Pirates’ Rich Returns (Bloomberg) – Imagine if you could invest $100,000 to control a $200-million asset for three months and sell it back to the owners for $10-million – tax free. That’s the Somali pirate way.
Reza Abedi’s Greatest Escape (OC Weekly) – A local high-school wrestling coach gave up his Olympic dreams to flee Khomeini’s Iran.
Head Trip (New York Times Magazine) Adam Greenbeerg’s dream was coming true. Then, in his first at bat as a major league baseball player, the ball headed straight for his head.
Inside Al Jazeera (GQ) – Nothing prepared us for what we saw happening across the Arab world this year. One network knew damn well how to report a revolution. Michael Paterniti takes us behind the cameras at Al Jazeera.
There and Back Again (The New Yorker) – The soul of the daily commuter.
Dylan at 70: In Bob we trust (Guardian) – Bob Dylan is 70 on Tuesday. If like me you are a Dylan fan, you will have been waiting for this event for months, perhaps even years.
The Charms of Eleanor (New York Review of Books) – Excerpts from two new biographies about First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Drones are Ready for Takeoff (Smithsonian) – Will unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – soon take civilian passengers on pilotless flights?
These articles have been selected from articles listed in The Long Good Read, Longreads.com, Give Me Something to Read, and longform.org.