9 Feature Stories We’re Reading This Week

This week for BuzzReads, Miriam Elder discusses Pussy Riot, the Russian activist group everybody’s heard of but few understand. Read her story and these other great features from around BuzzFeed and the web. posted on

1. What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? — BuzzFeed

Sergey Ponomarev / DAPD / AP

With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed. Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. Inside the Iron ClosetGQ

Photograph by Yuri Kozyrev for GQ

A must-read story by Jeff Sharlet about what it’s like to be gay in Putin’s Russia. “The Russian closet has always been deep, but since last June, when the Duma began passing laws designed to shove Russia’s tiny out population back into it, the closet has been getting darker.” Read it at GQ.

3. A Miracle Put on IceSB Nation

Getty Images / Via sbnation.com

Everyone remembers the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won gold at Lake Placid. But what do people remember about the 1984 squad? “Nothing,” their coach now says. “Most people remember nothing.” Read it at SB Nation.

4. A Valuable ReputationThe New Yorker

Photograph by Dan Winters for The New Yorker

Esteemed biologist and Berkeley professor Tyrone Hayes was approached by a chemical company called Syngenta fifteen years ago to study the herbicide atrazine. When he began publishing about its harmful effects, Rachel Aviv writes, the company began a campaign to ruin him. Read it at The New Yorker.

5. Eric Church Marks His TerritorySpin

John Peets for Spin

Rob Harvilla profiles the country singer: “Who is Eric Church? The guy who has mastered the fine art of mimicking the dominant male. Half the fun lies in trying to figure out if he’s mimicking at all.” Read it at Spin.

6. Why Pierce Brown May Be Fiction’s Next Superstar — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Jessica Chou for BuzzFeed

At just 26, Pierce Brown’s debut novel, Red Rising, is already being hailed as the next YA fantasy series turned blockbuster movie franchise. Erin La Rosa asks: why isn’t he more freaked out? Read it at BuzzFeed.

7. India’s Golden ChanceVirginia Quarterly Review

Photograph by Allison Joyce/Redux

Meera Subramanian contemplates whether and how feminism can transform India: “As girls in India become educated and learn to speak out for themselves — to parents, to prospective grooms — will it incite a backlash?” Read it at the Virginia Quarterly Review.

8. The Empathy ExamsThe Believer

A considered and beautifully written essay about being a medical actor and medical patient — and the question of empathy as a whole — by Leslie Jamison. Read it at The Believer.

9. A Higher CallingNew York Times Magazine

The Associated Press

This 2008 profile by Lynn Hirschberg explored the roots and force behind the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s remarkable talent. “Hoffman has imbued all his characters with a combination of the familiar and the unique. It’s not easy; it’s the sort of acting that requires enormous range, as well as a kind of stubborn determination and a profound lack of vanity.” Read it at The New York Times Magazine.

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