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What Writers and Editors Read: October 2023

Get a glimpse into your favorite writers’ Pockets to discover their recent reads—and why you might enjoy them too.

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Every 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 stories.

September’s edition covered lost friendships, a profile of Martin Scorsese at 82, and how Deion Sanders remade the University of Colorado football team, among other stories. For October, stories explore shadowcasting for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a tech multimillionaire's quest for immortality, the practice of green burials, and more.

Image by master1305 / Getty Images

I Stole My Neighbors’ Tragedy To Write a Short Story

Rebecca Meacham
Electric Literature

Recommended by Jennie Young: “This piece shows how creative creative nonfiction can be. It addresses important issues related to who owns what stories, how other people’s access to them shifts that ownership, and how that tension serves to both elevate and complicate those stories in the public sphere.”

Read Jennie’s piece “Online Dating Was Hell. Then I Tried 1 Thing That Turned Out To Be A Total Game Changer,“ which was recommended in our August edition of what writers and editors are reading.

Weave Your Own Coffin

Sara Murphy
Ambrook Research

Recommended by Jaime Stathis: “I thought this was a fascinating piece about green burials in Ambrook Research, a smaller periodical that many people might not be aware of. I love this writer’s storytelling, how she weaves in data in an unobtrusive way, and how she points out that green burials are not only sustainable and environmentally friendly, but also that the process builds and strengthens community.”

Read Jaime’s article “How to (Ethically) Get Rid of Your Unwanted Stuff,” featured in Pocket’s great advice collection last year.

Timothée Chalamet Goes Electric

Daniel Riley

Recommended by Zach Baron: “I spend a lot of time writing profiles of people, and one question I think a lot about is: Do I actually know this person? The answer, almost invariably, is: No. Not really. But you do your best. The thing I love about this piece is that the writer, Daniel Riley, actually knows his subject, and so renders him in the deep, complex, novelistic way that can only come with real knowledge.”

Read Zach’s profiles of Martin Scorsese and Ryan Gosling, which featured in our September edition of what writers are reading, and in our top long reads of 2023 collection, respectively.

When Foster Parents Don’t Want to Give Back the Baby

Eli Hager
The New Yorker

Recommended by Gail Cornwall: “Eli Hager does a tremendous job of covering a complex issue of both child development and law in a narratively gripping fashion: Biological parents Alicia and Fred ‘weren’t just demonstrating their fitness to care for Carter—they were competing for him. His foster parents, hoping to adopt him, had just weeks earlier embraced an increasingly popular legal strategy, known as foster-parent intervening, that significantly improved their odds of winning the child.’ I especially loved the perspective shift midway through and the way Hager calls into question individuals, systems, and the massive impact individuals can have on systems.”

Read Gail’s piece “When Teens Send Nudes,” which featured in our June edition of what writers are reading.