Writer Jessica Lussenhop: My Top 5 Longreads of 2011

Jessica Lussenhop is a staff writer for the Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages. See her stories on her Longreads page or find her on Twitter. 

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The ones I couldn’t stop thinking about.

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• Jon Ronson , “Robots Say the Damndest Things,” GQ, March 2011

Besides the fact that Ronson is such a consistently fascinating writer, now when people ask me what kind of journalist I’d like to be, ultimately, I can now say, “You know that piece where Jon Ronson gets to fly all over the world and meet all the robots? That kind.”

• Joe Eskenazi, “The Art of the Steal,” San Francisco Weekly, March 2011

 A fascinating portrait of a very uncool and very successful art thief. Also, orchid club crasher. Definitely one of the most memorable characters of 2011.

• Benoit Denizet-Lewis, “My Ex-Gay Friend,” New York Times Magazine, June 2011

Really haunting, and in large part because of this turn: “I told Michael about a recent conversation I had with our former boss … who surprised me by wondering aloud if Michael was ever truly gay.”

• Tim Dickinson, “How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory,” Rolling Stone, May 2011

Masterful storytelling and as someone who never really knew a world without Fox News, this one just really took me to school.

• Jeanne Marie Laskas, “The People V. Football,” GQ, March 2011

MVP Longread: This year was the year of chronic traumatic encephalopathy stories (rounded out by the amazing New York Times series on hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard), but Laskas’s skill elevates former Viking Fred McNeill and his struggle with early onset Alzheimer’s far beyond poster-child-dom. I ran around recommending this to just about everyone I know after reading it.

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