Editor’s Note: Well be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy!

The problem with S&M literature is that it is too often written by the sadists. Hence the success of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Guardian | 5 min (1,276 words)

As Europe teeters, Asian intellectuals and politicians have turned to so-called “Asian Values.” They should be careful what they wish for. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek | 5 min (1,161 words)

Why does the world exist? Jim Holt doesn’t claim to know, which is why his search for answers is particularly illuminating.

NYMag | 10 min (2,539 words) 

What will happen to Afghanistan when America departs? An in-depth account of the country’s democrats and minorities provides some tragic answers.

The New Yorker | 39 min (9,764 words)