I love the New Yorker like an addict loves his drug. But I had to go cold turkey. You should have seen me, back when I was subscriber, traveling to work and home, through airports, at the dentist office, in a canoe always with a stack of wrinkled magazines with pages folded over and scribbles in the margins. In the world of Twitter, the long style articles demanded time and with great elation I would finish a magazine and leave it for someone else to pick up and enjoy. (The first time is free.)
But then life and work happened and I’d get behind. It would take me two weeks to get through an issue, then three weeks, meanwhile they kept coming. Every week a new issue. My stack was growing. The burden of it all; my arms grew weary carrying them. I was taking other important items (like my computer) out of my briefcase to hold them all. I couldn’t just throw them away because they are too good. I might miss one of those fantastic articles, the kind that only appeared, well, in every single issue.
I didn’t renew my subscription. Eventually, I read and disposed of each one.
The New Yorker has put their archives online for free. Fortunately for me, only for a few months before it goes behind a paywall. Slate had a piece on 30 stories you must read before the pay wall goes up.
I dare not reenter the world of addiction and begin picking my own must read stories; but, there were two that came to mind I thought I’d share.
A fascinating story about an artist from Laurel who donated fine art all across the country with one problem, the art was all fraudulent. Fraudulent in the sense that they were not by the artists he claimed them to be, but rather, his own created work. But he didn’t sell them; he didn’t take tax write-offs for the gifts. In short, he didn’t break the law; he just fooled a lot of museums. One man discovered it and even put on an exhibit of many of the pieces titled “Faux Real.”
This piece digs into the roots of Dickie Scruggs and recounts in detail the timeline of events leading to his downfall. There have been many books written on the subject, but for those who missed this a few years ago, it’s a good read.
For some shorter reads you might take a look at
The Faulkner Files which includes an excerpt of his letter-to-the-editor to the people of Oxford considering a ban on beer;
A Murder in Deep Summer about Eudora Welty, her writing and civil rights;
Visiting Preacher Killen in which Jeffrey Goldberg recounts his run-in with the man who orchestrated the killing of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia;
An interview with Mississippi’s most recent Pulitzer Prize winning poet: The Exchange: Natasha Trethewey;
And you can take a trip to Greenville in this piece: Tamales on the Delta.
You’ve got a couple of months to pour through the archives of the New Yorker. But be careful, it is habit forming. Read at your own risk.