Things I Read and Recommend from 2016

Every December writers on the information superhighway (what’s up Clive) write posts with links to the best stuff they read during the year. Those posts are great because they sometimes turn you on to stuff you missed, but also because they remind about how much you enjoyed something you read.

I decided to keep track of good things I read in 2016 and post it in December and that was fine until I asked myself why not post it around the midpoint of the year and then post an update in December. That way stuff from the first half of the year wouldn’t get lost.

This list is not exhaustive of all the great stuff that’s out there. Much of it, most of it, resonates with me personally, which means if you have a similar world view to me then you’ve probably read most of this and will like some of the stuff you missed.

Originally I was going to limit myself to one link per writer but there are some writers, like Laurie Penny, who are so versatile that I discarded my arbitrary limit. Others like Helena Fitzgerald and Matt Zoller Seitz write directly to my soul. Looking through this list now I see that writers like Mo Ryan, Emily Nussbaum and everyone at Vox (especially Caroline, Dylan and Todd) are underrepresented or not represented at all.  I also notice that I have nothing from Annie Lowrey or Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine, which I regret. I’m going to stop now because the list of people I’ve overlooked could go on forever. I endeavor to do better.

I still have a lot of stuff from the first half of the year that I’d plan to read so things will be added. I welcome any suggestions.

The final thing I want to add is that there are countless more great things out there to consume but two things I especially enjoy are Helena Fitzgerald‘s TinyLetter (straight to my soul) and Jonah Keri‘s podcast. I will try to get my TinyLetter off the ground later this year. (Watch this space.)


Matt Zoller Seitz wrote in memory of his (difficult) friend, Scott Schuldt. (January 2)

Sonia Saraiya wrote about The Force Awakens and how Star Wars feels like coming home. (January 4)

Prachi Gupta wrote about the NYC Police Commissioner suggesting women “buddy-up” to prevent sexual assault. (January 7)

Fatiha Róisín wrote about the brown girl’s paradox, of being both invisible and sexualized. (June 12)

Caitlin White wrote about sexual assault by Heathcliff Berru (January 19)

Paulette Perch wrote about the Fuck Off Fund. (January 20)

Ben Yakas wrote a fantastic review of a Springsteen concert at MSG. (January 28)

Lili Loofbourow wrote about the current state of gynecology. (February 1)

David Simon had a great anecdote about filming Show Me A Hero. (February 1)

Soraya Roberts wrote about the career of Winona Ryder. (February 1)

Emily Nussbaum wrote a brilliant review of The People vs OJ Simpson. (February 8)

Alexander Chee wrote about how to write an autobiographical novel. (February 8.)

Laurie Penny wrote a great piece for Valentine’s Day about staying single. (February 14, of course)

Max Fisher wrote an essential piece about the Iraq War. (February 16)

Rebecca Traister wrote a great piece about Marcia Clark. (February 17)

Roberto A Ferdman wrote about why tipping is so awful. (February 18)

Lorrie Moore wrote about Making a Murderer. (February 25)

Molly Lambert wrote about her experience with SSRIs and Kanye West. (February 18)

Hanna Brooks Olsen on why women smile when men sexually harass them. (February 23)

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah wrote about visiting James Baldwin’s home in France. (February 29)

Esther Wang wrote about why she likes watching and reading about white people having sex. (March 4)

Helena Fitzgerald wrote about a year in a bad relationship. (March 4.)

David Roberts wrote about white working-class nostalgia. (March 8.)

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote about President Obama’s foreign policy strategy. (March 9)

Anne Helen Petersen wrote about the case for guns in an Idaho school. (March 10)

Jamelle Bouie wrote about the racist backlash against Obama. (March 13)

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about Nina Simone and the realities of blackness. (March 15)

Sarah Marshall writes about the “scandalous” women of the 90s and what it means for us now. (April 19)

Matt Zoller Seitz wrote about the ten years since his wife passed away. This helped get me through a dark time. (April 25)

Kevin Nguyen wrote about how wrestling taught him how (not) to be a man. (May 12)

Clive Thompson wrote about the world of newsletters. (May 13)

Isaac Fitzgerald wrote about being a former fat kid. (May 13)

Alana Massey wrote about what happened when she finally made money. (May 13)

Rachel Syme wrote about Lin-Manuel Miranda. (May 16)

Nicole Chung and Noah Cho had this back and forth about race which is amazing. (May 17)

Helena Fitzgerald wrote about loneliness. (May 18)

Josef Adalian and Maria Elena Fernandez wrote about the business of too much TV. (May 18)

Robert Epstein wrote about your brain not being a computer and what that implies. (May 18)

Taffy Brodesser-Akner wrote about getting her very jewish mother high. (May 23)

Rebecca Traister wrote about Hillary Clinton’s campaign being harder than it need to be. (May 30)

David Frum wrote about the seven broken guard rails of democracy. (May 31)

Alan Sepinwall wrote about twenty years of covering TV. (June 2)

Katie J M Baker posted the letter that the woman who was raped at Stanford wrote for the trial. (June 3)

Mo Ryan kept up her important work on the lack of diversity among TV show runners. (June 8)

Laurie Penny wrote about whether marriage is worth it. (June 9)

Lyman Stone wrote this piece about Westeros that is fascinating for probably a really small group of people. (June 9)

Sonia Saraiya wrote about media coverage of the Orlando tragedy. (June 12)

Levinson wrote about “daddy”. (June 14)

D T Max wrote about the woman behind UnREAL. (June 20)

Scaachi Koul wrote about how rape culture is surveillance culture. (June 23)

Laurie Penny wrote about the UK voting to leave the EU. (June 24)

Isaac Butler and Dan Kois put together this oral history of Angels in America. (June 28)

Helena Fitzgerald wrote about the families we choose. (June 28)

Lincoln Michel wrote about everything you wanted to know about book sales. (June 30)

Emily Badger wrote about the double standard of the side hustle. (July 7)

Catherine Rampell wrote about America being led by sore losers. (July 7)

Rembert Browne wrote about how while America thinks of black America. (July 8)

Helena Fitzgerald wrote about her first best friend. (July 27)

Sam Escobar wrote about coming out as neither a man nor a woman. Good for them. (August 5)

Heather Havrilesky wrote about Winona Ryder, forever. (August 8)

Bilge Ebiri wrote about the enduring appeal of Jeff Bridges. (August 9)

Maureen Ryan wrote about Amy Schumer and feminism. (August 18)

Anne Helen Petersen wrote about Nate Parker and Hollywood damage control. (August 18)

Alexander Chee wrote about how he dressed when he was young, and how that helped him become who he wanted to be. (August 19)

Morgan Jerkins wrote about the Nate Parker controversy. (August 21)

Kristi Coulter wrote about giving up alcohol, and what that made her realize about how women live. (August 21)

Alana Levinson wrote about how hard Snapchat is for the brokenhearted. (August 23)

Virginia Eubanks wrote about climate slums. (August 29)

Adam Serwer wrote about Colin Kaepernick. (August 30)

Taffy Brodesser-Akner profiled Christian Slater. (August 31)

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about how Breitbart conquered the media. (September 12)

Emma Lindsay wrote about what drives men to rape. Not sure she’s correct but its plausible. (September 13)

Ira Madison III wrote about “Atlanta” and the black sitcom. (September 13)

Michelle Ofiwe wrote about being a submissive black woman in bed. (September 15)

Rachel Syme wrote about the (now) HBO series “High Maintenance.” (September 23)

Wendy Molyneux wrote about the four Donald Trumps you meet in Earth. (September 25)

Michael Chabon wrote about his son’s interest in fashion. (September 27)

Rebecca Traister had one of the best reviews of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography. (September 28)

Jess Row wondered about white writers writing about other cultures. (September 30)

Laura Miller wrote about the great Tana French. (October 3)

Emily Badger, in her Upshot debut, wrote about implicit bias. (October 5)

Angelica Jade Bastién wrote about women of color as comic book fans. (October 5)

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