Best Long Reads Of The Week - 3 November

5 great reads you missed from around the web

1 | The sad news of Lou Reed's death dominated the news this week. Of all the eulogies and tributes, Sasha Frere-Jones's New Yorker piece was our favourite, getting to the heart of what made the Velvet Underground singer one of the most cherished – and influential – of America's great rock icons.

2 | Why do so many people in Iceland still believe in elves? A new road development near Reykjavík has become the target of enviromental protestors who fear upsetting their invisible supernatural neighbours. Writing for The Atlantic, Ryan Jacobs explores a susperstition that is deeply rooted in the island's unique history.

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3 | In a stunningly presented piece for The Verge, Katie Drummmond exposes the devastating health consequences facing soliders serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who were exposed to 'burn pits' – the multi-acre, continual fires used to eradicate everything from everyday rubbish to human body parts, and the US government's reluctance to recognise the problem.

4 | Also in The New Yorker, Lauren Collins goes in search of the world's hottest chili – and meets the spicy sauce fantatics who heavily dispute each other's claims along the way.

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5 | Finally, in our own Esquire Weekly iPad edition: the inside story of Hurt, Johnny Cash's last great masterpiece, as told by producer Rick Rubin, video director Mark Romanek and author, music critic and longtime friend of Cash, Robert Hilburn. The extract from Hilburn's upcoming biography, Jonhy Cash: The Life is an Esquire exclusive. Download the Esquire App and then download issue 9 of Esquire Weekly here.