9 Feature Stories We’re Reading This Week

This week for BuzzReads, Gemma de Choisy profiles a rural pastor who’s fighting the law to continue handling deadly snakes. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and the rest of the web. posted on

1. Serpentecostal: Andrew Hamblin Would Rather Die or Go to Jail Than Give Up Handling Snakes — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Shawn Poynter for BuzzFeed

As part of a traditional Appalachian sect, the 22-year-old church leader illegally handled venomous snakes — and starred on the reality TV show Snake Salvation — until wildlife authorities seized them all. Risking his life and his livelihood, he’s taking a stand in the name of Jesus, and, he argues, in the name of religious freedom. Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. Jesse Willms: The Dark Lord of the InternetThe Atlantic

Grant Harder / Via theatlantic.com

Taylor Clark profiles the biggest Internet tycoon you’ve never heard of (but who’s ads like one for a “weird trick to cut belly fat” you’ve probably ignored for years). “Now 26 and already having made and lost multiple fortunes, Jesse Willms provides us with a perfect symbol of the savage landscape of online commerce.” Read it at The Atlantic.

3. A Speck in the SeaNew York Times Magazine

Daniel Shea for The New York Times

An incredible piece of reporting by Paul Tough about a Long Island fisherman named John Aldridge who was thrown off his boat. “Everyone knew the odds: a man overboard, that far off the coast, would very likely never be found alive.” Read it at the New York Times Magazine.

4. Remote ControlThe Believer

Pascal Rondeau / Getty

A fascinating essay by Sarah Marshall about the spectacle of female power. Twenty years later, she reconsiders story of Tonya Harding and the attack against Nancy Kerrigan. Read it at The Believer.

5. No ExitGQ

David Kadubowski / The Republic / Via gq.com

A story by Sean Flynn about the Arizona fire that trapped and killed 19 of 20 of the Granite Mountain hotshots — the greatest loss of firefighters since 9/11. Read it at GQ.

6. Blood in the Sand: Killing a Turtle AdvocateOutside

Photograph by Jason Bradley for Outside

Matthew Power reports from the isolated beaches of Costa Rica, where poachers are desperate to steal endangered leatherback sea turtle eggs. After activist Jairo Mora Sandoval was found asphyxiated in the sand, he became an environmental martyr. Read it at Outside.

7. The Impossible BodyThe New Yorker

A fun profile of “the Basquiat of street dance,” Storyboard P., by Jonah Weiner. “Today, at twenty-three, he is a star of flex, a form of street dance characterized by jarring feats of contortion, pantomime, and footwork that simulates levitation.” Read it at The New Yorker.

8. I Was an NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A BigotDeadspin

Chris Kluwe’s much-discussed article in which he alleges that his career as a Viking punter was ended because of his support of same-sex marriage rights. Read it at Deadspin.

9. Why I Feel OK About Falling Off the Wagon After Years of Sobriety — BuzzFeed

Illustration by Allen Brewer for BuzzFeed

Joe Berkowitz explains why he’s picking moderation — rather than total sobriety — for 2014. Read it at BuzzFeed. And read more from our Fresh Starts series here.

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