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12 New Yorker Stories You Should Read While the Paywall is Down

12 New Yorker Stories You Should Read While the Paywall is Down

Like pretty much every print magazine, the venerable New Yorker has recently decided to rethink its online strategy, with a redesign and lots more online-only exclusive content. They’re also redoing their paywall, and before it goes back up this fall, you’ve got the rest of the summer to read anything from their archive — literally everything from 2007 to this week’s issue, plus plenty of older gems — totally free. Here are some recommendations of what New Yorker stories to add to your late-summer reading list. (P.S., if you like what you see, why not support independent long-form journalism and subscribe?)

1.“Torture at Abu Ghraib,” Seymour Hersh (2004)

newyorker-2004_05_10

    Myers, who was one of the military defense attorneys in the My Lai prosecutions of the nineteen-seventies, told me that his client’s defense will be that he was carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in particular, the directions of military intelligence. He said, “Do you really think a group of kids from rural Virginia decided to do this on their own? Decided that the best way to embarrass Arabs and make them talk was to have them walk around nude?”

    If you don’t think this kind of magazine breaks news, think again. This deeply-reported piece helped turn the whispers that something was going very wrong in Iraqi prisons into an uproar, and showed as a lie the notion that the crimes that took place were simply the work of a few “bad apples.”

    2. “Birdbrain,” Margaret Talbot (2008)

    birdbrain-talbot

      Pepperberg told me that Alex also made spontaneous remarks that were oddly appropriate. Once, when she rushed in the lab door, obviously harried, Alex said, “Calm down” — a phrase she had sometimes used with him. “What’s your problem?” he sometimes demanded of a flustered trainer. When training sessions dragged on, Alex would say, “Wanna go back” — to his cage. More creatively, he’d sometimes announce, “I’m gonna go away now,” and either turn his back to the person working with him or sidle as far away as he could get on his perch. “Say better,” he chided the younger parrots that Pepperberg began training along with him. “You be good, see you tomorrow, I love you,” he’d say when she left the lab each evening.

      A must-read for animal lovers, Talbot closely follows the researcher most widely known for trying to understand how animals’ minds work, and takes readers on a tour through the history of smart (or “smart,” depending who you ask) creatures.

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      3. “Happy Feet,” Alexandra Jacobs (2009)

      happy-feet-jacobs

        Unlike most Web sites, including Amazon’s, which seem to be operated by spectral forces rather than by human beings, Zappos prominently displays a toll-free customer-service phone number. There are no limits on call times, and the resulting sessions occasionally resemble protracted talk therapy. On July 5th, a twenty-two-year-old C.L.T. member named Britnee Brown, who has been with the company for a little more than a year, took a call that was a record five hours, twenty-five minutes, and thirty-one seconds long, from a woman on the East Coast interested in Masai Barefoot Technology shoes, which purport to mimic supposedly salubrious barefoot-on-the-beach walking with curved rubber platforms. “We started talking about her sister,” Brown said.

        Stories that take the reader through the ins and outs of how businesses work are surprisingly common in the New Yorker. Perhaps what’s more surprising is how fascinating even the most pedestrian of operations turns out to be, and what these stories — like this one, about Zappos — tell us about the American psyche.

        4. “Offensive Play,” Malcolm Gladwell (2009)

        football-dogfighting

          McKee is a longtime football fan. She is from Wisconsin. She had two statuettes of Brett Favre, the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, on her bookshelf. On the wall was a picture of a robust young man. It was McKee’s son — nineteen years old, six feet three. If he had a chance to join the N.F.L., I asked her, what would she advise him? “I’d say, ‘Don’t. Not if you want to have a life after football.'”

          The epidemic of concussions and related diseases in football was just coming to light when Gladwell published this piece. Looking in unstinting (and upsetting) detail at football and dogfighting, Gladwell really forces you to think about what exactly it is you’re cheering for every Sunday.

          5. “The Catastrophist,” Elizabeth Kolbert (2009)

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          james-hansen

            “I had had hopes that Obama understood the reality of the issue and would seize the opportunity to marry the energy and climate and national-security issues and make a very strong program,” Hansen told me. “Maybe he still will, but I’m getting bad feelings about it.”

            Kolbert’s consistent, solid reporting of horrific environmental disasters past and present is so important and eminently readable that it’s hard to choose just one story to highlight. The profile is a classic New Yorker style of story though, and her look at James Hansen — then a climate expert at NASA, now retired to pursue activism and teaching — now reads as an even more damning indictment of our continued inaction on climate change.

            6. “The Cost Conundrum,” Atul Gawande (2009)

            gawande

              I gave the doctors around the table a scenario. A forty-year-old woman comes in with chest pain after a fight with her husband. An EKG is normal. The chest pain goes away. She has no family history of heart disease. What did McAllen doctors do fifteen years ago?
              Send her home, they said. Maybe get a stress test to confirm that there’s no issue, but even that might be overkill.
              And today? Today, the cardiologist said, she would get a stress test, an echocardiogram, a mobile Holter monitor, and maybe even a cardiac catheterization.

              New Yorker contributor Dr. Atul Gawande also has a regular “beat” — the surgeon and public health researcher covers the field of medicine, often bringing in his own perspective as a practitioner. This examination of McAllen, Texas looks at a deceptively simple question — does more costly health care mean better care? — with a complicated answer.

              7. “Standing By,” David Sedaris (2010)

              sedaris-flying

                Of course, you can’t just ask people whom they voted for. Sometimes you can tell by looking, but the grandmother with the many bracelets could have gone either way. In the end, I decided to walk the center line. “What gets me is that they couldn’t even spell ‘motherf-ker’ right,” I whispered. “I mean, what kind of example is that setting for our young people?”

                Like many other writers who are also regular New Yorker contributors, material that winds up in Sedaris’ books often first sees print in the magazine. A master of dissecting the everyday and making even his most intensely personal experiences feel somehow universal, Sedaris is also a whiz at making anything — even air travel horror stories, as here — downright hilarious.

                8. “Funny Like a Guy,” Tad Friend (2011)

                anna-faris

                  “A month before the shoot,” Faris said, “they got me a gym membership and a trainer, which is standard.” She added, deadpan, that after she lost five pounds “they sent me a bouquet — and said, ‘Don’t eat it.'” During the filming, she subsisted on turkey slices and carrot sticks. “I felt they might have pulled the movie if we fought any further,” she said. “But it still bothers me: why would Ally be unemployed and wearing Prada shoes?”

                  If you’ve ever wondered how it can be that, as Paul Feig recently opined on Twitter, making a movie with women in the lead roles could still be a gimmick in 2014, read this profile of Anna Faris. It will leave you both darkly depressed about the state of gender politics in Hollywood and madly in love with Anna Faris.

                  9. “Netherland,” Rachel Aviv (2012)

                  aviv-netherland

                    Samantha and Ryan talked about the “housed world” as if it were an exotic culture, intrinsically superior to their own. They spoke in academic tones, trading theories about the patterns of “housed thinking.” They treated the subway, where they occasionally panhandled, as a human laboratory: people’s impulses toward charity had far less to do with them, they concluded, than with the other passengers riding the train. Few people looked at their faces until the first dollar changed hands, which then created some sort of force field — other passengers would suddenly feel compelled to be generous, too. They rode the trains deep into Brooklyn, because they found that poorer passengers were more likely to hand over their change.

                    Aviv follows the lives of a group of homeless LGBT youth in New York City, chronicling the improvised families that are created on the streets and the ways they stitch together lives on the fringes of society. This story will break your heart.

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                    10. “Altered States,” Oliver Sacks (2012)

                    altered-states-sacks

                      Within a minute or so, my attention was drawn to a sort of commotion on the sleeve of my dressing gown, which hung on the door. I gazed intently at this, and as I did so it resolved itself into a miniature but microscopically detailed battle scene. I could see silken tents of different colors, the largest of which was flying a royal pennant. There were gaily caparisoned horses, soldiers on horseback, their armor glinting in the sun, and men with longbows. I saw pipers with long silver pipes, raising these to their mouths, and then, very faintly, I heard their piping, too. I saw hundreds, thousands of men — two armies, two nations — preparing to do battle. I lost all sense of this being a spot on the sleeve of my dressing gown, or the fact that I was lying in bed, that I was in London, that it was 1965.

                      Many of Sacks’ essays about patients and others he’s encountered as a famed neuroscientist were published in the New Yorker before they made it into books. In this bit of “Personal History” — New Yorker-ese for memoir — Sacks turns the tables and recounts exploring his own mind via assorted controlled substances.

                      11. “Going the Distance,” David Remnick (2014)

                      obama-remnick

                        “You have an economy,” Obama told me, “that is ruthlessly squeezing workers and imposing efficiencies that make our flat-screen TVs really cheap but also puts enormous downward pressure on wages and salaries. That’s making it more and more difficult not only for African-Americans or Latinos to get a foothold into the middle class but for everybody — large majorities of people — to get a foothold in the middle class or to feel secure there. You’ve got folks like Bob Putnam, who’s doing some really interesting studies indicating the degree to which some of those ‘pathologies’ that used to be attributed to the African-American community in particular — single-parent households, and drug abuse, and men dropping out of the labor force, and an underground economy — you’re now starting to see in larger numbers in white working-class communities as well, which would tend to vindicate what I think a lot of us always felt.”

                        The magazine’s editor in chief penned this extra-long, surprisingly candid profile of President Barack Obama. With a broad scope, the article gives a strong sense of a president finding his footing both in the present moment and in history.

                        12. “Here’s the Story,” David Gilbert (2014)

                        heres-the-story

                          In Elysian Park, a growing line of people held hands and weaved through the crowd as fast as they could, the leader the needle guiding the thread. Bobby was somewhere in the middle. It had been too tempting for him to let pass without joining, and he had handed his mother the three balloons and jumped onto the end, holding this position briefly until others grabbed on and the line grew longer, its stitching more intricate. Emma watched from a distance. Every now and then, Bobby swung into view and she smiled and waved, feeling glad to be here, the strangest of Sunday picnics.

                          This taut, nostalgic short story begins with a bit of evidence — “this is what we know” — and then takes you on a trip through intersecting suburban lives. You won’t believe where it winds up.

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                          Published on November 14, 2018

                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                          With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                          For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                          In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                          Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                          Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                          It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                          For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                          Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                          Symptoms of Fatigue

                          Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                          • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                          • mental blocks
                          • lack of motivation
                          • headache
                          • dizziness
                          • muscle weakness
                          • slowed reflexes and responses
                          • impaired decision-making and judgement
                          • moodiness, such as irritability
                          • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                          • reduced immune system function
                          • blurry vision
                          • short-term memory problems
                          • poor concentration
                          • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                          Causes of Fatigue

                          The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                          • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                          • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                          • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                          • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                          Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                          Medical Causes of Fatigue

                          If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                          Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                          Anemia

                          Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                          Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                          There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                          This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                          Diabetes

                          Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                          Sleep Apnea

                          Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                          Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                          Thyroid disease

                          An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                          Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                          • Lack of sleep
                          • Too much sleep 
                          • Alcohol and drugs 
                          • Sleep disturbances 
                          • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                          • Poor diet 

                          Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                          • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                          • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                          • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                          • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                          Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                          Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                          • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                          • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                          • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                          How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                          Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                          1. Tell The Truth

                          Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                          To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                          Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                          The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                          One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                          • How you feel
                          • What time of day it is
                          • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                          • How your mind and body reacts

                          This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                          2. Reduce Your Commitments

                          When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                          If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                          When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                          Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                          3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                          If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                          Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                          If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                          Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                          Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                          4. Express More Gratitude

                          Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                          It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                          Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                          5. Focus On Yourself

                          Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                          There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                          But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                          We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                          6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                          Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                          Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                          The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                          Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                          7. Take a Power Nap

                          When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                          Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                          This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                          8. Take More Exercise

                          The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                          Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                          The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                          You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                          9. Get More Quality Sleep

                          To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                          Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                          My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                          10. Improve Your Diet

                          Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                          Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                          On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                          To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                          Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                          Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                          11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                          Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                          When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                          Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                          My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                          12. Get Hydrated

                          Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                          Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                          If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                          The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                          The Bottom Line

                          These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                          If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                          [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                          [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                          [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                          [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                          [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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