Few things give me as much joy as reading something that expands my mind or heart, and we live in a seems-too-good-to-be-true world where fantastic writing is available at our fingertips for free.
Here are some of the best articles I read this year. I’d love to hear what you have been reading in 2014 as well.
Articles that made me think:
The Case for Reparations – The Atlantic - I will read anything by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and this essay was one of the most widely talked about long-form pieces this year.
Abundance Without Attachment – The New York Times – What truly brings happiness? This was a recent piece that seems relevant to people from any or no religious tradition.
What if Whites Were the Minority – The New York Times – Nicholas Kristof has written much about race this year. I found this to be one of his most thought-provoking pieces.
The Case for Open Borders – Vox – Immigration has clearly been in the news recently. Here is a more radical proposal with which you might disagree but that will surely get you thinking.
How to Be Polite – Medium - Though the title may sound like a BuzzFeed listicle, this was one of the most pleasantly surprising essays I read all year. Politeness – what’s not to like?
Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? – The New York Times - Several of my married friends passed this around. It has a fascinating thesis.
How I made sure all 12 of my kids could pay for college themselves – Quartz – Even if you aren’t planning on raising a football team+ of kids, this could be interesting to any parent.
Articles that broke my heart:
Before the Law – The New Yorker - I have read many articles about our criminal justice system this year. This was one of the most heartbreaking.
Man Arrested While Picking Up His Kids: ‘The Problem Is I’m Black’ – The Atlantic - The video that accompanies this is deeply disturbing but important for our national discussion on race and law enforcement.
Articles that simply fascinated me:
The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit – GQ – I could not stop reading this article about a man who lived in the woods of Maine for 30 years.
The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious - The Atlantic - In my so-biased-that-it-goes-without-saying opinion, Iowa has given the world many good things. The red delicious apple is not one of them. This story about its development, though, is fascinating.
The One-Day-a-Year Fitness Plan – Outside – This article isn’t actually about a fitness plan but is much more about we can learn from testing our limits.
Articles that aren’t going to win a Pulitzer but that will surely make you smile:
This is Katie F—ing Ledecky: A Thesis About Kicking Ass – Grantland - I love Grantland and this is why. I couldn’t care less about swimming, and yet the fun writing style made this thoroughly enjoyable.
My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday’s Endless Appetizers – Gawker - This was both the most disgusting and the most hilarious article I read this year. Caity Weaver is one of a kind.
I Pumpkin Spiced My Life With Black-Market Starbucks Syrup – Grub Street - Admittedly, this type of article whereby someone artificially gives himself a ridiculous, terrible-for-your-health type of challenge may have been done too many times now. Still, this is pretty hilarious.
I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me – This piece largely falls under the same genre as the previous one, but it does reveal a lot about what happens when we give that little thumbs up. (By the way, you are welcome and encouraged to click ‘like’ for this article.)
Shamelessly self-promotional but fantastic stuff from The Jesuit Post:
Before You Know It: Learning to Love – Brendan Busse, SJ – Deciding which Brendan Busse essay to highlight was both extremely difficult and very easy. It’s impossible to say what was the best, but anything I chose was going to be good.
A Frat Boy’s Confession: An Open Letter to the Fraternity Men of America – Vinny Marchioni, SJ – Vinny Marchioni, a Greek himself, knocked it out of the park in discussing important issues in fraternities and America today.
On Love and Dignity and Dying – Jason Welle, SJ – This is one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful, and thoughtful pieces we’ve ever published. I’m grateful for it.
Some Catholics – Joe Hoover, SJ – This article describes some Catholics. It sounds so simple, and yet I – and hundreds of others – find it so good.
Born in Love: On Advent and Adoption – Eric Immel, SJ – Eric is another blogger who has really developed his voice this year. This is great stuff.
Requiem for a Dog - Jayme Stayer, SJ – I wouldn’t call myself much of a pet person, but this was just beautiful. If you are a dog person, then you have to read this.
Expect Delays: The Inefficiency of Care – Keith Maczkiewicz, SJ – Relationship building is the most important work worth doing. I needed to hear this.
What are the best articles you have read this year? Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below.