Reading

Here are a few longer non-fiction pieces that I like. If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear from you. Send them to pb@peterbarrett.com.au

Frank Sinatra has a cold
By Gay Talese
Esquire, April 1966
In many ways this is the blueprint for New Journalism, a fascinating read that uses all the elements of good storytelling – dialogue, scenes, description, point of view shifting and just some really, really good journalism. Read the story here.

The long fall of one-eleven heavy
By Michael Paterniti
Esquire, June 1, 2009
A writer friend drew my attention to this story after news of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. I read it and my reaction can best be summed up as simply, ‘wow.’ Beautifully-written, it’s a painfully affecting account that draws on several points of view to humanise a tragic aviation disaster that resulted in the loss of 229 souls. Read the story here.

Up and then down
By Nick Paumgarten
The New Yorker, April 2008
This is a great piece about a man who was trapped in a Manhatten lift for 41 hours. Great narrative with excellent segues into the history, mechanics and intrigue behind a piece of everyday machinery that most of us take for granted. Read the story here.

The American male aged 10
By Susan Orlean
First published in Esquire, 1992
An interesting piece of creative non-fiction, Orlean spent time with a ten-year-old boy over a few weeks, gradually getting to know him and gaining his trust. The result is an interesting snapshot of a child and alludes to where the country and culture was/is headed. Read the story here.

Insane Clown Posse: And God created controversy
By Jon Ronson
The Guardian, October 2010
An amusing piece about a US hip hop group who reveal that despite their obscene lyrics and scary makeup they are, in fact, Christians. Read the story here.

My summer on the content farm
By Jesanne Collins
The Awl, November 2010
Also funny, but here we have a first-person perspective on what it is really like to try to earn money as a copy editor/content editor online. Read the story here.