Picking five favorite longreads of the year is tough—an Oscar-esque problem of autumnal riches and a fussy year-long memory—so there are actually nine (or ten or eleven*) here. Maybe I’m just a long-lister, which seems appropriate for a Longreader.
I sent in my choices last Thursday afternoon, unaware of impending coincidence, and this article was at the top of the list, where it remains. No need to contextualize it.
Noreen Malone’s consideration of her millennial generation’s warped Weltanschauung partly blames the grownups. Lori Gottlieb’s piece in The Atlantic, published months earlier, serves as a perfect grownup riposte.
(But when did that spelling of “alright” become all right?)
THE PALATE PLEASER
Burkhard Bilger’s take on neo-old Southern cuisine, featuring wildman chef Sean Brock, is deeply satisfying food writing. Also: crazy, tiny, mohawked lowcountry boars!
THE WOMEN’S WOMAN
Throughout October and early November, I was deeply concerned that a majority of my home state would do something shamefully stupid and pass Initiative 26. Irin Carmon’s thorough reporting is basic, fundamental journalism—informing the people!—at its very best.
THE BOYS OF SUMMER
My love for these pieces is still strong, after the season of their publication is gone. I’m cheaply lumping them under a gender rubric mainly because they’re by men, on men. And Don Henley was stuck in my head. Sean Fennessey on Michael Bay (explosions!), Bill Simmons on male movie stars (ephemera!), Jon Caramanica on Bon Iver (Emma! Eau Claire!), and Colson Whitehead on poker (everything else!). (*I’m prohibited by affiliation to mention one of this year’s most spectacular opuses, Zach Baron’s “Fear and Self-Loathing in Las Vegas.”)
Lisa Howorth—a.k.a. “Mom”—wrote a lovely, lyrical piece in the Oxford American’s music issue. She may squirm at this shameless shout-out, but that’s kind of how I felt reading the third graf.
Share your own Top 5 Longreads of 2011, all through December. Just tag it #longreads on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook.