Long-ish non-fiction reads that will make me smarter and more empathetic
November 25, 2014 8:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for articles that take anywhere from half an hour to one hour to read. Specifically, I'm looking for 1) in-depth, meaty reads in any field; 2) (auto)biographical reads about ordinary people.

To specify, I'm looking for:

1) articles on politics, society, economics, science, media, agriculture, etc. etc., that really go in-depth into explaining something and arguing a viewpoint. Something between an article from the Economist/Foreign Affairs and an academic journal, with a dash of op-ed and Wikipedia.

2) articles on the lives of non-famous people and the challenges they face. Autobiographical is better, but especially good biographical is fine, too. The more introspective, the better. Even better would be a mix of biography and perspectives from others who know the person (something like... John Doe says he knows he drinks too much and is always fighting it; his son resents his drinking; his wife knows his good side but is most affected by the bad)

These kinds of reads sometimes pop up on Longform, Longreads, and of course MeFi, but those in category 1 often feel too much like skimming the surface, and those in category 2, too sensationalist.

Specific article recommendations are welcome, but I'm most interested in finding single sources dedicated to these types of reads (if only to avoid having to pay for and skim through a dozen magazines per week).

Thanks in advance.
posted by rebooter to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You might also enjoy ProPublica.
posted by starbreaker at 8:36 AM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: The format is different from a single long article, but I LOVE the "card stacks" section at Vox. Really well done.
posted by jbickers at 8:36 AM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: It's over 50 years old, but for your #2, archive.org has a complete copy of In the Company of Man: Twenty Portraits by Anthropologists, which if you can forgive some outdated language like "Man" is a collection of twenty essays about twenty ordinary people from around the world who each helped an anthropologist to understand their point of view, cultural milieu, etc. The anthropologists involved are mostly quite famous (I could tell you off the top of my head what a dozen of them are better-known for), and the portraits of their key informants hit an awful a lot of your ideal points.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:51 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Atlantic and The New Yorker are both great magazines with good articles.

If you are looking for a social bookmarking type of site, try /r/longtext and /r/truereddit on reddit are both great subreddits.
posted by wye naught at 10:11 AM on November 25, 2014

Check out Longform.
posted by umbú at 10:41 AM on November 25, 2014

Seconding The New Yorker (who may still have their online archives unlocked - not sure) and The Atlantic - Two authors in particular you want to look for are William Langewiesche and John McPhee.
posted by jalexei at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2014

Read any Matt Taibbi.
posted by humboldt32 at 6:50 PM on November 25, 2014

The Count of Monte Cristo.
posted by hippychick at 3:42 PM on November 26, 2014

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