Our Most-Read Longreads Originals of 2021

The original reporting and personal essays that were our most-read stories of the year.

It’s that time of year again! Our annual year-end series has evolved over the past decade, but our aim remains the same: to collect and share the very best in longform nonfiction storytelling across the web. Today, we’re thrilled to kick off our Best of 2021 collection with this list of the 10 most-read stories and essays on our site.

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1. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Lost Album, Human Highway

David Gambacorta | Longreads | March 2021 | 15 minutes (4,190 words)

How CSNY fumbled a chance to record their best album.

2. Shelved: Dr. Dre’s Detox

Tom Maxwell | Longreads | March, 2021 | 6 minutes (1,743 words)

Killer beats, huge hype, and failure to follow through.

3. Mormonism’s Sci-Fi Swan Song

Andrew Kay | Longreads | July 2021 | 35 minutes (9,917) words)

Faith and cosplay at the Hill Cumorah Pageant.

4. My Seat at the Table

Bernice L. McFadden | Longreads | August 2021 | 15 minutes (4,049 words)

A tale of racism.

5. Repetitive Stress

Devin Kelly | Longreads | February, 2021 | 24 minutes (6,376 words)

On injury, compensation, and living with pain.

6. Queens of Infamy: Boudicca

Anne Thériault | Longreads | May 2021 | 18 minutes (4,866 words)

If you underestimate a woman determined to avenge violence against her daughters, prepare yourself to get sacked. On repeat.

7. But Who Tells Them What To Sing?

Adrian Daub | Longreads | September 2021 | 21 minutes (5,894 words)

“And thus another Hollywood tradition was born: film choruses belting out perfectly nonsensical prose with utter conviction.”

8. I Miss it All

Devin Kelly | Longreads | July, 2021 | 17 minutes (4,874 words)

Against the commodification of community.

9. Out There I Have to Smile

Heather Lanier | Longreads | March 2021 | 16 minutes (4,473 words)

Heather Lanier explores the pressure to perform happiness.

10. The Professor

Irina Dumitrescu | Longreads | November 2021 | 3,065 words (17 minutes)

“Maybe the most powerful person is the one who dares to refuse the gift.”

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Read all the categories in our Best of 2021 year-end collection.