ICYMI: Earlier this week, we had an open thread here on this newsletter to share our small wins of 2020, and your responses were so wholesome and wonderful! It truly made my day reading all of them. In a year that has been hard in a lot of ways, it was so nice to hear everyone’s small joys, from learning to knit to mastering recipes to growing herbs to buying homes and having babies and lots of other things, big and small. Thank you all for participating and sharing your wins — it was so nice to learn more about all of you! I’m looking forward to doing more open threads in the future.
Over the next few weeks in this newsletter, I’m going to be doing some end-of-2020 roundups. This week’s is a roundup of the best articles I read in 2020; hope you’ve got some free time to dig into them, because there were so many good ones. In the next two weeks, I’ll also have roundups of some of my favorite books I read this year and my favorite things I cooked.
Enjoy, and please share your favorite reads of the year in the comments if you’ve got other favorites that I missed!
The best articles I read in 2020
On the coronavirus, and how it’s changing our lives
How the pandemic defeated America, The Atlantic. Ed Yong basically became America’s premier writer on the coronavirus this year. Everything he writes is worth reading, but especially this one. (See also: America is trapped in a pandemic spiral)
Millennials don’t stand a chance, The Atlantic. For millennials, this is the second recession of our working lives. We’re fucked.
There are two Americas now, the sick and the bored, Gen/Medium.
Insane after coronavirus?, London Review of Books. Patricia Lockwood on her six-week bout of coronavirus is hilarious.
The public-shaming pandemic, The New Yorker. How social media shaming has played a unique role in this pandemic.
Your surge capacity is depleted — it’s why you feel awful, Elemental/Medium. If you, like me, have been randomly feeling down 6 months into this pandemic even though the first couple months felt manageable, this really helped to explain why.
Prepare for the ultimate gaslighting, Forge/Medium. I loved this piece on re-thinking our lives and our priorities after the pandemic. (Also good is the followup piece, Plan who you’ll be after this.)
What was fun?, Vox.
In the Covid-19 economy, you can have a kid or a job. You can’t have both, New York Times. An op-ed by Deb Perelman, of Smitten Kitchen fame.
New York City in the coronavirus pandemic, The New Yorker. “We will remember the sound of seven o’clock.”
The New York you once knew is gone. The one you loved remains, Gen/Medium. On staying behind in New York during a crisis.
On work and careers
The end of the girlboss is here, Gen/Medium.
The “grateful to be here” generation has some apologizing to do, Refinery29. If you’re an older millennial like me who hit the workforce around the time of the 2008 recession, this will really resonate.
Where did my ambition go?, Gen/Medium.
How work became an inescapable hellhole, Wired. An excerpt from Anne Helen Petersen’s new book, Can’t Even. The description of her morning routine is the most relatable routine I’ve ever read.
“Success addicts” choose being special over being happy, The Atlantic.
Why high-achieving women pretend their lives are in shambles, Forge/Medium. The insidious popularity of “hot mess” syndrome, aka having your shit together but acting like your life is a mess to seem more ~ relatable ~.
On food, cooking, restaurants
My appetites, New York Magazine. This is a terrific essay by critic Jerry Saltz on the origins of his peculiar eating habits, coping mechanisms, and dealing with personal demons.
Stewed awakening: Alison Roman, Bon Appetit, and the global pantry problem, Eater. Who gets to present global recipes divorced from context, and make them seem less ethnic, and build their success off of these global ingredients?
Our lives happen in restaurants, New York Times.
Reclaiming Indian food from the white gaze, Eater. I loved this essay so much.
How a cheese goes extinct, The New Yorker. This was fascinating!
The diet industrial complex got me, and it will never let me go, New York Times.
On social media’s impact on our lives
My Instagram, N+1. One of the best things I’ve read on our relentless collective addiction to Instagram.
Going postal, Bookforum. A very good read on how social media has become an increasingly toxic place during the pandemic.
On race in America
What is owed, New York Times Magazine.
American Plague, Rolling Stone.
Stumbling towards wokeness, Washington Post.
And just other really good reads that don’t fit into a category…
The eco-yogi slumlords of Brooklyn, The Cut. Who doesn’t love a grifter story!
Surviving it all, The Cut. Just an incredible read about the life of Marga Griesbach, who survived the Holocaust and is now facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Was Jeanne Calment the oldest person that ever lived — or a fraud? The New Yorker. What! a! story!
Are we morally obligated to meditate?, Vox. One of the best things I’ve ever read on meditation — clarified so much for me.
“When can we really rest?”, California Sunday. A fascinating, harrowing feature following migrants traveling the Darien Gap - one of the most dangerous trails in the world - in order to come to America.
The true cost of dollar stores, The New Yorker.
The wrong way to fight the opioid crisis, The New Yorker.
What I’m reading (that’s new this week)
America’s most hated garment, The Atlantic. Sweatpants forever!!
The Olive Garden is open, but Marilyn Hagerty isn’t eating there, NYT. Remember Marilyn Hagerty, the North Dakotan food critic who went viral for her review of a new Olive Garden opening in her town in 2012? Pete Wells checked in to see how she’s faring in 2020.
Stealing to survive: more Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out in the pandemic, Washington Post. Heartbreaking, and it was all preventable.
Is it okay to let my dog sleep in the bed?, The Atlantic. So funny and sweet; a must-read for dog lovers
The business consultant home takeover, WSJ. While I have definitely been known to bring spreadsheets and other work-organization tactics into my home life, this still sounds like a nightmare.
Nothing made sense in 2020, unless you were on the internet, Vulture. On quarantine brain and how we found relief on the internet.
Small rooms, Griefbacon. On how our worlds have shrunk this year.
Just how white is the book industry?, NYT. 95% white, it turns out!!
What I’m cooking
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