9 Longform Stories We’re Reading This Week

What if your fear of flying was so extreme you’d take a 36-hour train ride rather than board a plane? Katie Heaney shares how she learned to fly in this week’s BuzzReads story. Enjoy that and other longform from around the web.

1. How I Got the Fear of Flying Scared Out of Me — BuzzFeed

Statistics be damned, a fear of careening through the air at 600 mph inside a long metal can is as logical as it is debilitating. Exposure therapy — basically, scaring the shit out of you on purpose, repeatedly — is the cure for the common aviophobia.

2. Missing Michael Hastings — BuzzFeed

Image by Blue Rider Press

One of our colleagues, and one the great reporters of his generation, died Tuesday at 33. BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith reflects on the stories he wrote, and the ones he didn’t live to write.

3. A Great Actor, A Better Man — Vulture

HBO, Barry Wetcher, File / AP

Matt Zoller Seitz eulogizes the great American actor, whom he’d known for years, and whose death also shook us this week. “The decent part of Tony, the part that stood in for the tragically wasted human potential Dr. Melfi kept trying to tease out and embrace, came from Gandolfini. His humanity shone through Tony’s rotten façade. When people said they sensed good in Tony, it was James Gandolfini they sensed.”

4. Inside Digg’s Race to Build the New Google ReaderWIRED

A riveting tech exclusive by Mat Honan: “This is the team who, in just six weeks, took a dying brand that collapsed under the weight of its own spam and made it something vibrant and vital: a place you wanted to go. So in April, when Google announced it was shutting down Google Reader on July 1, it was almost unsurprising that Digg replied–that same day–We’ve got this. This is the story of how a tiny team took 90 days to pull off the impossible.”

5. Galliano in the WildernessVanity Fair

Vanity Fair / Annie Leibovitz

The designer gives Ingrid Sischy his first interview since his infamous, 2011 anti-Semitic rant — his first-ever interview sober. “He has been busy during these last two and a half years of public silence, however, learning about what he has to do to keep his illness at bay, facing up to what went wrong in his life, and doing everything he can to atone. He has also begun taking baby steps to re-enter the world of fashion. My prediction: Get ready for his second act.”

6. The Original WWE Superstar Finally Comes Home — BuzzFeed

Bruno Sammartino played a sold-out Madison Square Garden practically as many times as the Knicks. But for decades, the Old-World Italian and the ever-edgier WWE wanted nothing to do with each other. Here’s what happened the night they made up.

7. A Closed Letter to Myself About Thievery, Heckling, and Rape Jokes — Patton Oswalt

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

An unmissable rant on the three hottest-button issues affecting his craft. “There are almost 7 billion people on this soggy marble. I don’t need all of them on my side.”

8. The Hedge Fund Disaster Behind an Oscar Winner’s New Movie — BuzzFeed

Geoffrey Fletcher, who won an Academy Award for Precious, financed Violet & Daisy through his brother’s now-failed hedge fund — and indirectly ended up screwing over a lot of Louisiana firefighters.

9. How Junk Food Can End ObesityThe Atlantic

Demonizing processed food may be dooming many to obesity and disease. Could embracing the drive-thru make us all healthier?

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