Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Mario!

The Rise of Nintendo: A Story in 8 Bits
by Blake J. Harris, Grantland

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Nintendo has had a tough go of it lately, and now there's a book that chronicles the battle between the company and Sega for top billing in the living rooms of the US. If you haven't splurged for Blake J. Harris' Console Wars just yet, there's a lengthy excerpt from the work over at Grantland. "By 1990, Nintendo of America had sold nearly 30 million consoles, resulting in an NES in one out of every three homes," Harris writes. Sure, there's certainly more to be gleaned of the history from the full-length publication, but there's more than enough to whet your appetite until you can purchase a hard copy or e-book.

A New Story Told at Ground Zero
by Leslye Davis, Alicia Desantis, Graham Roberts and Matt Ruby, The New York Times

A collection of thousands of artifacts from the tragic events of 2001 is now on display at New York City's September 11 Memorial Museum. And thanks to The New York Times, you can take a brief interactive tour of the site from the comforts of home. "The resulting museum is the product of years of conversation among architects, designers, curators, September 11 families, psychologists and historians. Every detail has been considered, from the placement of a 58-ton steel column to the display of a woman's shoes," the intro reads.

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Can Apple and Beats Fix the Economics of Streaming Music?
by Kevin Roose, New York Magazine

By now you've likely heard some portion of the reported purchase of Beats Electronics by Apple. While views on the reason for the acquisition vary wildly, one question could prove to matter a great deal: Can the combined powers figure out a way to make money from music streaming? Kevin Roose writes, "if Apple used its heft and music-industry relationships to turn Beats Music into a sustainable streaming service that could make money while paying artists, it would be a nice side effect of the deal."

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Google and Facebook's Fight for the Future of Tech
by Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek

It's no secret that both Google and Facebook have been on quite the spending spree as of late. While not all of the purchases may be as flashy as Nest or Oculus, drone companies and more are being nabbed up for the next wave of innovation. But the moves are not without calculation. "Zuckerberg and Page have a powerful example of what it means to not move with speed and aggression to try to lock up new technologies," Bloomberg Businessweek's Brad Stone notes.

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Steve Ballmer on Life, Golf, Basketball -- and Microsoft
by Shira Ovide, Wall Street Journal

As many newly retired folks do, Steve Ballmer has spent some time playing golf after his departure from Microsoft. He's also toying with the idea of buying the Los Angeles Clippers, a professional basketball franchise. Shira Ovide of the Wall Street Journal sat down with Ballmer to chat about all of those things. And, yeah, they talk about Microsoft, too.

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[Image credit: rapapu/Flickr]

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Recommended Reading: 'Console Wars' and inside the 9/11 museum