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What Writers and Editors Read: August 2023

Take a peek inside your favorite writers’ Pockets to discover their recent reads—and why you might enjoy them too.

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Each month at Pocket, we ask our favorite writers and editors to share their good taste and discerning reading habits. They tell us the best pieces they read last month, and we share them with you. Think of it as a group chat with writers you love, swapping links to great writing.

July’s edition covered Lionel Messi, dining out while blind, and the harms of fitness influencers, among other stories. For August, stories explore why we glorify overwork, rediscovering play in adult friendships, the last survivors of an isolated Amazon tribe, and more.

Image by DBenitostock / Getty Images

Can You Name the (Great) Movie That Launched Brie Larson, LaKeith Stanfield, Rami Malek, and More?

Devin Gordon
Vanity Fair

Recommended by Anthony Breznican: “‘Short Term 12’ was one of those movies that deserved much more love than it got ten years ago. Karma paid off, however, as virtually all of its actors became superstars.”

Read another great Vanity Fair piece “True Crime, True Faith: The Serial Killer and the Texas Mom Who Stopped Him,” which is one of our top saved long reads so far this year.

Brazil Found the Last Survivors of an Amazon Tribe. Now What?

Jack NicasManuela Andreoni
The New York Times

Recommended by Lauren Larson: “This is an environmental story with the twists and complexities of a novel. Brazil has protected 1000 acres of land in the Amazon for two Indigenous men, the last isolated members of the Piripkura people. Much of the protected land is owned by the Penço family, who are unable to build or log on it and who have suggested the Piripkura men are “being used as a means to further an environmentalist agenda.” The land will only be protected as long as Piripkura people live on it, but now one of the men has disappeared into the forest, and he doesn’t want to be found.”

Read Lauren’s piece “Apocalypse Sow: Can Anything Stop the Feral Hog Invasion?,” which was recommended in our April writers’ round-up.

My Kendom for a Horse?

Lawrence Freedman
Comment is Freed

Recommended by Helen Lewis: “Most posts on Comment is Freed, a father and son Substack, are serious: Sam is a policy wonk and Lawrence is a war studies professor. But this is a gloriously silly analysis of the poor strategic decisions made by the Kens in the Barbie movie. Where was their secret police? Their network of informers? No wonder the counter-revolution was easy. Poor Beach Ken: ‘He is no Ken-in.’”

Read Helen’s piece “The Humiliation of Ron DeSantis,“ which was recommended in our July edition of what writers and editors are reading.

What Adults Forget About Friendship

Rhaina Cohen
The Atlantic

Recommended by the author: “Working on this piece has changed how I spend time with my friends, and I’ve heard from readers who’ve had a similar reaction. Before interviewing the woman whose story gave me the idea for this article, I hadn’t even realized what I’d been missing from my childhood friendships. But thanks to her and the experts I spoke to, that absence is so obvious that I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed it earlier. Now that it’s back-to-school time, I’m reminded of how adults expect kids to learn from us, but we have a lot to learn from them and from our younger selves.”

Read more from Rhaina on friendship in “What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life?” which featured in Pocket’s collection on the importance of friendship last year.

Is David Solomon Too Big a Jerk to Run Goldman Sachs?

Jen Wieczner
New York Magazine

Recommended by Gabriel Debenedetti: “There’s been no shortage of big thinking about big banks in the last decade-plus. Jen Wieczner’s latest, however, goes granular to answer a question I never would have anticipated: Can you survive as a Wall Street titan if no one likes you? The result is a surprisingly entertaining story about an unexpectedly layered character that reveals plenty about the state of Goldman Sachs — an institution that’s occupied a disproportionate part of the American psyche — and high finance more broadly.”

Read Gabriel’s piece “America Has Never Seen a Spectacle Like Messi,“ which was recommended in our July edition of what writers and editors are reading.