Words on the Internets

I’m in an odd reading place right now, halfway through a bunch of different books and not feeling like any of them are things I want to review. So I thought instead I’d talk about the other main kind of reading I do: online stuff. Yes, I read Twitter and tiny bits of grammatically-incorrect blog content like everyone else, but there is also great, long-form writing to be found on the Internet. Some is just the online presence of traditional print magazines (like the Texas Monthly article I’m about to recommend) but lots of it is unique to the web and you shouldn’t miss it just because it is not on paper. Here are three of the best long-form pieces I’ve read online lately:

1) The Body on Somerton Beach by Mike Dash

The Smithsonian
blog posted this fabulous article about the decades-old mystery of a body found on an Australian beach. I watch enough 48 Hours Mystery and Dateline episodes to know that most murders are just not that complicated. The murderer is generally a spouse or someone that the victim owed money to, and the stories generally don’t get more exciting than that. I came away from this article convinced that the (still unknown!) truth behind this mystery man is way more exciting than anything I will ever come up with.

2) Winona Ryder’s Forever Sweater by Sarah Miller

It’s an article about . . . a sweater? And friendship? And becoming an adult? I don’t know how to describe it, but I found it sweet and funny and insightful.

3) The Lost Boys by Skip Hollandsworth

Okay, the last two articles were comparatively light and non-traumatizing, so let me warn you that this one is not. This is sad and features a lot of dead and missing children. (That sentence was for my friend Liz. She and I recently went to see The Woman in Black and agree that it needed some sort of warning that the central plot point involved MULTIPLE dead children.)  This Texas Monthly article about a serial killer who operated in Houston back before any one talked about serial killers, is amazing and heartbreaking. It specifically focuses on how, prior to the Internet and social media and easy communication between law enforcement agencies, it was almost impossible for the Houston police or the community to connect a series of disappearances of young boys. Instead, the police dismissed the individual cases as runaways and grieving families were left with no answers for decades.

Finally, I know I just said that I hate watching videos on the computer and I do, but this one about the what books in bookstores do at night when no one is around is worth making an exception for.