Businessweek's Sheelah Kolhatkar: My Top 5 Longreads of 2011

Sheelah Kolhatkar is features editor at Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Some of my favorite non-Businessweek features that were published this year:

“Lost at Sea,” Jon Ronson, The Guardian

This piece combines a genre I love—the gritty crime story—with the utter weirdness of the cruise ship industry. Apparently people disappear from cruise ships all the time, but you usually don’t hear about it because the cruise lines keep it quiet. Ronson goes deep into the bizarre cruise culture as he tries to figure out what happened to Rebecca Coriam, who vanished from the Disney Wonder last March.

“All The Angry People,” George Packer, The New Yorker

This story accomplished what seemed almost impossible, at least from an editor’s perspective: it made a compelling narrative out of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in lower Manhattan. Even though OWS was being covered to death, this story—along with Bloomberg Businessweek’s own fine contribution, Drake Bennett’s profile of David Graeber—found a new angle on it and made it fresh and compelling.

“The Girl from Trails End,” Kathy Dobie, GQ

This devastating story just really stayed with me.

“California and Bust,” Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair

His piece about Iceland (“Wall Street on the Tundra”) is my favorite one he’s done about the global financial crisis, but Michael Lewis’s breakdown of the fiscal disaster that is California was his best in 2011. It really makes you think about the scary place we might be headed as a country, and the scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger is priceless.

“Lady, Where’s My Magazine**?” Ann Friedman

This is a parody, and it isn’t terribly long, so I’m not sure that it qualifies. But it is hilarious, and perfectly illustrates much of what is wrong with the publishing business.

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