home           about           blog           archives           domain           exits           ask

Required Reading: Favorite Essays of 2016

Much has already been said about the year 2016.  It had high highs, it had low lows. It signaled the beginning of things, it ushered in many endings.

I have not gotten around to writing about it just yet. Actually, I have not been able to do a lot of writing at all. Reading, too. (For leisure, that is.) But while I have not found the time for novels, I have, in fact, gotten into the habit of reading long-form articles instead. Looking at my Pocket app, I'm quite happy with the sheer number of essays that I've saved and have influenced me, in one way or another, this year.

So allow me to share with you the best essays, non-fiction, profiles, and articles that I've come across in the last twelve months:

"The Attorney Fighting Revenge Porn" by Margaret Talbot
The New Yorker

When people ask me what kind of lawyer I want to be, I still cannot come up with an exact answer. Same with the question about why I even wanted to be a lawyer in the first place. But stories like this make me remember this one truth: I just want to do some good in the world. Even - and especially - if that means knocking down some nasty, evil, misogynistic assholes along the way.

"The Magic of Moss and What It Teaches Us About the Art of Attentiveness to Life at All Scales" by Maria Popova

I never really paid much attention to moss, but it is precisely this kind of dismissal of the little things that makes this piece so poignant and beautiful. It's a reflection on nature and how timing plays a significant factor in even the most organic, natural of things.

"Heirlooms" by Naseem Jamnia
The Rumpus

This is the kind of piece I want to write about my family one day.

"Nora Ephron's Final Act" by Jacob Bernstein
The New York Times

Okay, so this piece wasn't written in 2016, but in 2013, when Nora Ephron died. But I came across this last May, and it made me cry buckets. I have a special place in my heart for Nora Ephron's writing: both her essays and screenplays. Getting a glimpse of her personal life through articles like these - pure joy.

"The Digital Dirt" by Nicholas Schmidle
The New Yorker

I'm guilty of loving the entire machinery of the entertainment business. I'm fascinated by how much effort is placed into making the entire mythology of "celebrity" afloat and intact. This is an interesting look at one of the strongest, most influential gossip blogs in the world, run by - (un)ironically - a lawyer.

"In Defense of Facts" by William Deresiewicz
The Atlantic

Relevant, especially considering the culture of memes and fake news that erupted in 2016, both locally and internationally.

"Kim Kardashian West on Kanye and Taylor Swift, What's in O.J.'s Bag, and Understanding Caitlyn" by Caity Weaver

Mock me all you want, but I love/hate/love the Kardashians. They're such engrossing, manipulative, riveting people - I just cannot look away. This is a great profile on Kim that acknowledges their influence, but doesn't mock her for her mistakes. (For the record: I'm completely #TeamKim on this, sorry Taylor. LOL)

"How Blac Chyna Beat the Kardashians At Their Own Game" by Sylvia Obell

Same goes for this fantastic article on Blac Chyna. God, I love/hate that family. :))

"My First Son, A Pure Memory" by David Hlavsa
Modern Love, The New York Times

Modern Love has made me cry twice this year: this essay being the first -

"The Internet Still Thinks I'm Pregnant" by Amy Pittman
Modern Love, The New York Times

- and this essay being the second. This is what good writing is all about.


Here's to finding more stories to read - and write - this 2017.