“I’ve always found reading, writing, and thinking to be so tightly interwoven that, when done correctly, they become indistinguishable from one another… In that way, longform is like the most intense of friendships, where the time dedication and the active choice to show up far eclipse the noncommittal acquaintanceship of soundbite culture.” — Maria Popova
I shortened 1,053 bit.ly links and archived 136 Instapaper articles in 2011 (with a week to spare). Here were my favorites:
1. How a book is born: The making of The Art of Fielding
Graydon Carter and Keith Gesses
September 5, 2011
An e-book (or really long article you’ll have to purchase from Amazon) illuminates the world of book publishing and inspired me to go read Harbach’s genius novel (that everyone’s now putting on their “Best of 2011″ reading lists.) In my opinion, it’s more fun to read about the struggling novelist in Brooklyn and the changing world of books before you crack open his novel. Totally worth $1.99.
2. How Doctors Die
Zocalo Public Square
“It’s not like the rest of us, but it should be.” Fascinating take on the medical industry and its relationship with death.
3. David Carr
If you aren’t persuaded by the two names listed above, know that Sorkin interviews Carr on writing, the New York Times, and their shared past addiction to cocaine. The interview piqued my interest in Carr as a writer and encouraged me to go read his excellent memoir, The Night of the Gun.
4. Skagway’s borderline mythical egg toss
I’m in Alaska, Trick
July 9, 2011
All I can say is that this blog post by friend and fellow writer Mark Abadi on an Fourth of July egg toss in Alaska made me squeal with such glee upon reading it that fellow bus passengers thought I was in distress. Abadi’s prose is a joy. The only tragedy is that his blog ended when he left Alaska.
5. The Spam factory’s dirty secret
June 27, 2011
I have never eaten spam. I never will. Imagery from this article sticks clear in my memory six months after reading it. A dynamic, engaging, (and incredibly gross), piece on American food policy and worker safety.
6. A Woman’s Place
The New Yorker
July 11, 2011
Sheryl Sandberg makes me excited to be a woman, if only because it means I could aspire to be as awesome as she is. Auletta explores what it means to be female in Silicon Valley and how Sandberg has risen to the top. (Follow up by reading her address to the Barnard graduating class of 2011.)
7. Crush Point
The New Yorker
February 7, 2011
The psychology of crowds. Or, An Example of Why I Subscribe to The New Yorker.
8. Where We All Will Be Recieved
April 8, 2011
The author writes about his love for Paul Simon’s landmark album, Graceland, and how it changed the music landscape as we know it. I grew up listening to Graceland and consider it my favorite album, but I never fully appreciated the historical context behind Simon’s work.
9. My Dog Days Are Over
The New York Times
March 23, 2011
My family put two dogs to sleep and purchased a puppy this year, so I read a lot of dog literature, and this was my favorite (after Emmett and Me, but that was published in 2009.) It definitely made me cry, but you might be a stronger person than I am.
10. Leap of Faith: The making of a Republican frontrunner
The New Yorker
August 15, 2011
Nothing anyone writes will ever explore all that is Michelle Bachmann. But Lizza comes close. Interesting look at Bachmann’s rise through politics.