Long Reads Of The Week – 3 August

5 great reads you may have missed from around the web

1 | As the world looks on in horror at the escalating violence in Gaza, New Republic's Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon recount the story of how last year, John Kerry built an Israel-Palestine Peace Plan – and how that fragile, ill-fated optimism crumbled.

2 | Vulture's Bill Wyman asks the question: 'How did Bob Dylan get so weird?', or to give it a less click-baiting title, how has the singer retained his mystique in an age of overexposure? This devoted retelling of Dylan's biography neatly sidesteps the clichés.

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3 | Chris Ballard, writing for Sports Illustrated, has the story of a first-time sky dive in 2009 that went very wrong. To say any more would be to spoil one of the most nail-biting and ultimately moving stories you'll read this week.

4 | It ruined Mel Gibson's career, exposed Tiger Woods' multiple affairs and – according to rumour – retains vault of unpublished material including a video of Justin Bieber telling a racist joke. But how did a blog become the most feared website in Hollywood? For BuzzFeed, Anne Helen Petersen tells the story of TMZ and founder Harvey Levin.

5 | The AV Club's A.A. Dowd looks at the recent history of the Batman film franchise, reminding those who bemoan Christopher Nolan's 'overly serious' efforts to recall Tim Burton and – in particular – Joel Schumacher's cartoonish attempts to portray the caped crusader in the 80s and 90s.