Michelle Legro, longtime Longreader, is an editor at Lapham’s Quarterly.


“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” by Paul Ford (The Morning News)

I doubt there are many people that will remember the December blizzard of 2010 better than Paul Ford, limping through the snow with his wife to their IVF procedure without any form of transportation and only a few hours on the clock to make a baby the new-fashioned way. 

“American Marvel,” by Edith Zimmerman (GQ)

We’ve all been there. Except usually, a movie star isn’t there with you. I had a friend tell me that a fellow writing teacher was using this piece as an example of how NOT to write a celebrity profile. When was the last time I remember reading any kind of celebrity profile? Oh yeah, this time.

“How Carrots Became the New Junk Food,” by Douglas McGray (Fast Company)

First we make the carrots small, then we make them cute, but how do we make them sexy? I love this attempt to make carrots, aka “3D Orange Laser Blasters” into an extreme snack celebrity. 

“Taming the Wild”, by Evan Ratliff (National Geographic)

Sometimes I weigh how much I like a piece with how much it affects my daily life. In this case, I spent a good month weighing the pros and cons of moving to a state where it was legal to own a domesticated fox imported from Siberia. Pros: Wildlife snuggles. Cons: Pretty much everything else. 

And finally, the very first best thing I read in 2011:

“The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist”, Rich Schapiro (Wired)

The most incredible, most true, most heisty read of the year. Haven’t read it? There is a bomb around your neck. I am going to force you to go read it right now.