Most of these have been around for a while, but good longreads hold up. Yes, I should probably have sorted these by category, but frankly, too many of these can fit into more than one category, and too many would be easy to dismiss that way (the Katie Baker piece would surely have been categorized as either "sex" or "sports," when it's so much more, for example).
Anyway, for all that 2016 was a trashfire in so many ways (Trump getting elected by his racist cohort, everyone we love dying, etc), there was some fine writing. You should enjoy fine writing while you can.
Over at Buzzfeed, Isaac Fitzgerald (who I'd already heard speak to the topic on the late but awesome Intersection podcast) writes the Confessions of a Former Fat Kid. As a former fat kid (and current fat adult), this one sparks a LOT of thoughts for me (especially as someone who had a mother who both had her own struggles with weight, and continues to shame me over mine). Obviously, this is all about body image and weight, so take that into account if those are things you'd rather not read about.
I'm not even sure how to categorize this excellent piece (and book except) from David Reid over at Longreads, other than to let the title -- Postwar New York: The Supreme Metropolis of the Present and its even better tagline -- "Forty labor strikes on one day, French existentialists on the loose, and a 50-foot G.I. blowing enormous puffs of REAL smoke" -- speak for themselves.
I've raved about Film Crit Hulk plenty of times before, and this piece -- THE REVENANT, MAD MAX, And The Nexus Of Cinematic Language -- is superb. Some folks understandably find FCH columns tough because of the all-caps writing, but I find I get used to it after about a paragraph.
Back in the last century, there was an awful company called Tiger Oil that was run by a horrible man named Edward Davis who was pretty much every "asshole CEO" cliche you could imagine. These are his memos, which are funny as long as you can forget that real people suffered through this shit. For folks who prefer not to read image files, the transcripts of all the memos are at the bottom of the page.
Maddy Myers always writes incredible pieces, but her Professional Fake Nerd Girl piece on "booth babes" and cosplayers from last month is one of my favorites.
And to end by REALLY going down the rabbit hole, Pew Research has a huge piece (sadly broken up over multiple pages, but there's a link to the complete PDF on the side) called
Long-Form Reading Shows Signs of Life in Our Mobile News World.
In the New York Post, Dana Schuster and Georgett Roberts write about The Crazy Crash of NYC’s Hottest Vegan, a tale of celebrities, chefs, and larceny that feels like the NYC version of a Hiaasen story (except it's true). Any piece that includes the quote “she’s the vegan Bernie Madoff" is generally one I want to read.
In New York Magazine, Max Read asks, Did I Kill Gawker? His answer is a touch self-serving, but it's still worth the read. As is the Ad Age piece by Simon Dumenco arguing Never Mind Peter Thiel. Gawker Killed Itself, which makes an entirely different argument (which you can probably surmise).
Yeah, oral histories are overdone on the internet these days. But I still love The Go-Go's Recall the Debauched Days of Their Hit 'We Got the Beat' 35 Years Later: 'We Were a Five-Headed Monster', put together by Rob Tannenbaum over at Billboard.
Anyone following the stories about Caster Semenya probably should read The Life and Murder of Stella Walsh, Intersex Olympics Champion, also by Tannenbaum, this time at Longreads.
At The Atlantic, Ed Yong writes about How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology. The headline's a little misleadingly Buzzfeedy in its anti-academia implications (since the Guy From Montana is also a PhD), but the piece is fascinating.
In Men's Journal, Damon Tabor writes Lost in the Jungle: The Search for Cody Dial, reads like a mix of true crime and outdoor adventure, and is riveting (if heartbreaking).
At The Federalist (seriously), Marc Fitch's piece Inside Our National Zombie Nightmare Lurks The Politics Of Horror Fiction is a great overview of the field.
It's from a while back, but over at Deadspin, Katie Baker's The Confessions of a Former Adolescent Puck Tease is, in spite of the salaciousness (and hockey-centricity) of the title, actually a great reminiscence on the internet of the '90s.
Speaking of sports stories that are fascinating even if you don't care about sports, Welcome to the Big Time, in ESPN's Outside the Lines, is a fascinating deep dive into the rise and fall of FanDuel and DraftKings, two internet startups that did the sort of stupid and unethical things that make people long for the late '90s and the first internet bubble. Bonus feature: In this, we learn that DraftKings has its origins in Watertown to some degree. When the cops aren't illegally shutting down our entire town in a manhunt, we're a hotbed of shitheel ethics!
Complex's list of The Best Rapper Alive Every Year Since 1979 is awesome and makes a great case each time (noting the runners up).
I Kickstarted my first novel, sold 1,319 books, and made $4,369.14 (so far) — and so can you (maybe) (under fairly specific circumstances) is one of the best and deepest looks at what it means to kickstart a novel (and why it really won't work for most people), brought to you by the guy who writes The Comics Curmudgeon.
Over at Vox, Laura Saetveit Miles writes about how Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve racked up prizes — and completely misled you about the Middle Ages. Given how hyped this book was, it's amazing I didn't see more about this article when it broke.
As I've mentioned before, my all-time favorite computer game was Dungeon Master for the Atari ST, which is a genuinely groundbreaking game that is still a blast to play. Here's a great two-parter, with one section on the history of Dungeon Master (and FTL, the company behind it), and one on the game itself.
Outside Magazine has produced some amazing reporting (and podcasts) over the last year or so. This piece on what happened to Eastern Airlines Flight 980 (lost decades ago) had me hooked.
Related to that, Lauren Larson has a great piece at GQ about Robert Jensen, the Man Who Cleans up After Plane Crashes.
And finally, the 24-year-old Coca-Cola Virgin is a first person essay about someone who managed to never taste the soda as a kid attempting to ensure that her fist experience is perfect.