As we approach an impending lockdown to minimise the spread of coronavirus, we’re more in need of distraction and entertainment than ever. Here are 17 of the most absorbing long-form journalism articles to take your mind off things:
Reeves Wiedeman for The Cut
A New Jersey family bought their ideal home. But according to the creepy letters they started to get, they weren’t the only ones interested in it.
Bucky McMahon for GQ
Ten shark attacks on surfers in the past two years, three of them fatal. Now the surfers are biting back. Bucky McMahon paddles straight into the insanely unsafe waters of Reunion island and reports on a raging turf war between man and beast.
Nick Paumgarten for The New Yorker
Damon Baehrel’s methods are a marvel, and his tables are all booked until 2025. Or are they?
Joshuah Bearman for Wired
How a 29-year-old idealist built a global drug bazaar and became a murderous kingpin.
Sean Flynn for GQ
One Easter Sunday, the Alaska Ranger—a fishing boat out of Dutch Harbor—went down in the Bering Sea, 6,000 feet deep and thirty-two degrees cold. Forty-seven people were on board, and nearly half of them would spend hours floating alone in the darkness, in water so frigid it can kill a man in minutes. Forty-two of them would be rescued. Here’s how.
Katy Vine for Texas Monthly
Sandy Jenkins was an accountant at the Collin Street Bakery. He was tired of feeling invisible, so he started stealing – and got a little carried away.
Daymon Gardner for Wired
An epic riddle. An eccentric storyteller. A missing person. When a man vanishes in the wilderness, his family takes to the internet to find him.
Leslie Jamison for VQR
The Museum of Broken Relationships is a collection of ordinary objects hung on walls, tucked under glass, backlit on pedestals. But what are the stories behind them?
Bob Friel for Outside Magazine
In the Northwest’s San Juan Islands, best known for killer whales and Microsoft retirees, a teen fugitive has made a mockery of local authorities, allegedly stealing cars, taking planes for joyrides, and breaking into vacation homes. His ability to elude the police and survive in the woods has earned him folk-hero status. But some wonder if the 18-year-old will make it out of the hunt alive.
Hunter S. Thompson for Rolling Stone
A savage journey to the heart of the American Dream, as told by gonzo journalism legend, Hunter S. Thompson.
Dylan Taylor-Lehman for Narratively
How the world’s quirkiest micro-nation got pulled into one of history’s most epic intercontinental frauds.
Noah Kirsch for Forbes
On the outskirts of Alba, a cobble-stoned Italian city that dates to Roman times, stands a stark modern fortress. Behind 10-foot concrete walls, steel gates and uniformed guards lies not a nuclear facility or an army base but a chocolate factory.
Staff story for Sports Illustrated
Carried away by love – for risk and for each other – two of the world’s best freedivers went to the limits of their sport. Only one came back.
Christian Petersen for BBC
The people who live on remote rocks in the windswept Atlantic.
Rowan Jacobsen for Outside Magazine
One German’s quest to unearth the centuries-long mystery of the finest cacao on earth.
Jeanne Marie Laskas for GQ
On a $500 million man-made island in the frozen Arctic Ocean, just off the coast of a vast, uninhabitable tundra known as Alaska’s North Slope, a pipeline begins. In temperatures that hover around forty-five degrees below zero, in perpetual darkness, a tight-knit band of roughnecks spends twelve hours a day, seven days a week, drilling down, down into the earth and pulling up precious crude. If you want to know how badly we need oil, here is your answer.
Darcy Fray for Topic Magazine
By the mid-’90s, the American air traffic control system was on the verge of a nervous breakdown: broken equipment, insane overtime, impossibly high stakes. We bring back a classic story from the frontlines of the world’s most stressful desk job.
Jon Krakauer for Outside Magazine
Fifty-four days after his group’s Everest climb turned tragic, Krakauer first told the story of what had gone wrong.
Eric Konisberg for Vanity Fair
Peter Nygard is a hard-partying retail tycoon, whose estate is fit for a Mayan emperor. Louis Bacon is a buttoned-up hedge-fund king, whose passion is conservation. Both are locked in an eight-year legal war with each other that has turned each man’s paradise into hell.
Elizabeth Gilbert for GQ
Eustace Conway is not like any man you know. He’s got perfect vision, perfect balance, perfect reflexes and travels through life with perfect equanimity. He is smart and fearless and believes he can do anything he sets his mind to – like saving America.
Sebastian Junger for Outside Magazine
Six young men set out on a dead-calm sea to seek their fortunes. Suddenly they were hit by the worst gale in a century, and there wasn’t even time to shout.
Gay Talese for Random House
At 51, DiMaggio was a most distinguished-looking man, ageing as gracefully as he had played on the ball field, impeccable in his tailoring, his nails manicured, his 6-foot-2 body seeming as lean and capable as when he posed for the portrait that hangs in the restaurant and shows him in Yankee Stadium, swinging from the heels at a pitch thrown 20 years ago.
Mark Bowden for Vanity Fair
The corpse at the Eleganté Hotel stymied the Beaumont, Texas, police. They could find no motive for the killing of popular oil-and-gas man Greg Fleniken – and no explanation for how he had received his strange internal injuries. Bent on tracking down his killer, Fleniken’s widow, Susie, turned to private investigator Ken Brennan, the subject of a previous Vanity Fair story. Once again, as Mark Bowden reports, it was Brennan’s sleuthing that cracked the case.
Lisa DiPaolo for GQ
Specialist Sean O’Shea guarded the most high-profile prisoner in U.S. history. What was it like?
Jon Ronson for The Guardian
When Rebecca Coriam vanished from the Disney Wonder in March, hers became one of the 171 mysterious cruise ship disappearances in the past decade. So what happened? Jon Ronson booked himself a cabin to find out.
Skip Hollansworth for Texas Monthly
He wore a Western hat, never spoke a word, and robbed bank after bank. When the feds finally arrested him, they discovered that their suspect was actually a soft-spoken woman. They thought they’d never hear from her again – but she had other plans.
Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed
When neo-Nazis started trolling Whitefish, Montana, the town had to make a definitive stand against hate. But the deepest-rooted intolerance in places like Whitefish isn’t the kind that makes headlines.
David Roberts for National Geographic
There were 31 men at the bottom of the world exploring uncharted territory. What followed was one of the most terrifying survival stories of all time.
Katy Vine for Texas Monthly
Meet the teenagers at the Marq*E Entertainment Center, a one-of-a-kind place that offers everything that matters in life: skateboarding, video games, movies, fortune-telling, bowling, miniature golf, T-shirts, ice cream – and close encounters with the opposite sex.
Erin DeJesus for Eater
The real life of a restaurant extends far beyond a line cook’s shenanigans or the number of covers turned each night. It’s the happily tipsy regulars, the vivacious playlist, the backstory of the iconic dish. We’re looking at the big picture – and the small ones: minute by minute, dollar by dollar, vodka shot by vodka shot. Welcome to One Night at Kachka.
Shane Bauer for Mother Jones
“Within two weeks of filling out its online application, using my real name and personal information, several CCA prisons contacted me, some multiple times.”
Christopher Goffard for the Los Angeles Times
Their first date was at Houston’s, a restaurant in Irvine, where he opened the door for her and put her napkin on her lap. Candles flickered along the polished-mahogany bar; jazz drifted from speakers; conversation purred. But was he who he claimed to be?
Tom Lamont for The Guardian
After decades among the hidden homeless, Dominic Van Allen dug himself a bunker beneath a public park. But his life would get even more precarious.
Michael Finkel for GQ
For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend—or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest.
Matthieu Aikins for Rolling Stone
While war raged across Afghanistan, expats lived in a bubble of good times and easy money. But as the U.S. withdraws, life has taken a deadly turn.