9 Longform Stories We’re Reading This Week

This week, BuzzFeed’s Doree Shafrir profiles Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress Melissa Leo, whose success in Hollywood has been a long time coming. Read that and these other great longform pieces from around BuzzFeed and the web.

1. How Melissa Leo Became An Overnight Sensation In Just 30 Years — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Lauren Dukoff for BuzzFeed

Self-styled (literally) movie star Melissa Leo has, over the course of three decades of work, carved out an almost impossible career path for an actress: peaking in her fifties, simultaneously courting and trolling Hollywood, and not giving a shit how any of that makes her look. Read it at BuzzReads.

2. Bad Blood — Matter

A riveting account by Will Storr of the brutal poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in a London bar. “The case for official Russian involvement in Litvinenko’s death was growing. And there was more evidence to come: unbeknown to them, the assassins had left a trail — and it seemed to lead east.” Read it at Matter.

3. How Brazil’s Richest Man Lost $34.5 BillionBloomberg Businessweek

Just 18 months ago, Eike Batista was the eighth-richest man in the world. He was the the pride of Brazil, and had a Playboy model for a wife. Now, after some disastrous investments in oil, he’s to close to bankruptcy. Read it at Bloomberg Businessweek.

4. Failure Is Not an OptionTexas Monthly

Photograph by Michael Crouser / Via texasmonthly.com

Beverly Kearney overcame a tough childhood and a near-fatal car accident to become the decorated coaching force behind University of Texas’s female track and field dynasty. Last year, it was announced she was being fired for an affair with a student. Mimi Swartz delivers a tremendous look at the woman and her enigmatic life. Read it at Texas Monthly

5. How Spotify Engineered the New Music Economy — Mashable

Max Blau on the website, as it turns five: “the disruptive service stands at a crossroad. It could either revolutionize how listeners consume music on a global scale or fall by the wayside. Much of its future success hinges on a simple question: Is Spotify a savior or villain for musicians?” Read it at Mashable.

6. An Excerpt from League of DenialSports Illustrated

Brian Bahr / Stringer / Getty

An exclusive excerpt of the new, controversial book that looks critically at the NFL’s response to the concussion epidemic. It focuses on a researcher named Ann McKee, who says, “It’s a crisis, and anyone who doesn’t recognize the severity of the problem is in tremendous denial.” Read it at Sports Illustrated.

7. Why I Stay Closeted in Asia — BuzzReads

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

A heartbreaking, beautifully written essay, in which the narrator returns home to Taiwan. When a drunk cousin offhandedly references him being gay, he is faced with the decision to come out to his very prejudiced family. Read it at BuzzReads.

8. If He Hollers Let Him GoThe Believer

Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

A careful look at one of America’s most beloved — and absent — comedians, Dave Chappelle, by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. When she travels to the small town where he lives and finally sees the man who’s refused to interview with her, how does she react? Read it at The Believer.

9. Annotated “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” — Nieman Storyboard

Hulton Archives / Getty Images

Fans of the classic 1965 Esquire profile of the crooner will delight in this interview-cum-annotation between Gay Talese and Elon Green. It includes such exchanges as, “Why did this piece strike a chord with people?” “I have no idea.” Read it at Nieman Storyboard.

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