The Top 5 Longreads of the Week [3]

| Fri Feb. 18, 2011 7:04 PM EST

Mother Jones guest blogger Mark Armstrong is the founder of Longreads, a site devoted to uncovering the best long-form nonfiction articles available online. And what better time to curl up with a great read than over the weekend? Below, a hand-picked bouquet of five interesting stories, including word count and approximate reading time. (Readers can also subscribe to The Top 5 Longreads of the Week by clicking here.)

1. The Hard Luck and Beautiful Life of Liam Neeson | Tom Chiarella | Esquire | Feb. 15, 2011 | 21 minutes (5,192 words)

Standout celebrity profile. Neeson speaks for the first time about the 2009 death of his wife, Natasha Richardson—while wondering when, if ever, is the right time to open up to a reporter about a personal tragedy. He still has reservations about walking Richardson's dog in public, for fear of the "drama" and sadness that paparazzi photos could create.

"Liam Neeson and I last spoke a week before I wrote this sentence. At that time, I asked him what he remembered about the interview I'd done with him at a restaurant in New York almost three weeks before that. He said, 'I remember you told me that story about your accident, and that was pretty hard for you. I remember that you made me draw that picture of my house, and I remember that we talked about Natasha. I started to worry: Why would I tell him that? Why did I speak about the hospital? And then I thought, No, he's a man. This is not some newspaper story. So I wasn't sorry. Except about your accident. That was bloody awful.'

"Then Liam Neeson asked me what I remembered about the interview. I echoed him: 'You told me about your accident. You told me about your wife's accident. That was hard for you. You were upset. You got very quiet. So I traded stories. I told you something bad that happened to me. I have the picture of your house right here. I remember that your hand was shaking.'

"'You have to be careful,' he told me, 'in how you describe it.' I told him that was my job, to be careful with descriptions."

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