Claire Howorth is the arts editor at The Daily (pictured with colleagues Rich Juzwiak, Zach Baron and David Walters).


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.

• “Trial of the Will” (Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair)


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.

• “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” (Lori Gottlieb, The Atlantic)

• “The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright” (Noreen Malone, New York magazine)

(But when did that spelling of “alright” become all right?)


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!

• “True Grits” (Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker, sub. req.)


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 Next Front in the Abortion Wars: Birth Control” (Irin Carmon, Salon)


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.”)

• “Occasional Dispatches from the Republic of Anhedonia” (Colson Whitehead, Grantland)

• “Who, What and Where is Bon Iver?” (Jon Caramanica, New York Times Magazine)

• “Blow-Up: An Oral History of Michael Bay” (Sean Fennessey, GQ) 

“The Movie Star” (Bill Simmons, Grantland)


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.

• “The Neckbones” (Lisa Howorth, Oxford American)


Share your own Top 5 Longreads of 2011, all through December. Just tag it #longreads on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook.