The Christmas longform reading list — Best of 2013

I’ve collected 35 longform pieces written in 2013 from sources like Grantland, Believer Mag, The New York Review of Books, WashPost, Buzzfeed (yes, Buzzfeed) to Esquire, GQ, and the Financial Times. The list consists of features, profiles, essays, and interviews.

When traveling I love to load up my Instapaper queue with lots of longform content. Today I’m flying back to Greece for the Christmas break and although I plan to do some reading on board, I mainly plan to catch up with the following humongous list at home1 during the break. I thought collecting all pieces in a single post might be interesting.

Listed in no particular order. Please scroll — there are gems here. Reading time provided by Instapaper. Happy reading.

  1. What’s the matter with the modern world: Jonathan Franzen (30 min)

    Chris Kraus’d lovers Fiona Duncan and Sarah Nicole Prickett were on Twitter, debating the latest instance of an old man yelling at iCloud — a 5,000-word screed against Apple, Amazon, Twitter, smartphones, self-promotion, Jennifer Weiner, poor people, young people, elderly German women, and “the ‘dehumanisation’ of a wedding”.

  2. Interview with Chris Kraus (20 min)

    “Politics is topical—it’s what’s happening now, and we can either respond in the present or avoid it.”

  3. The Financial Crisis: why have no high-level exexutives been prosecuted? (17 min)

    Five years have passed since the onset of what is sometimes called the Great Recession. While the economy has slowly improved, there are still millions of Americans leading lives of quiet desperation: without jobs, without resources, without hope.

  4. An oral history of Friday Night Lights (26 min)

    Possibly the best drama on television, ever. Texas forever!

  5. Peyton Manning on his neck surgeries rehab — and how he almost didn’t make it back (17 min))

    By almost every account the best quarterback ever to play the game. As of writing this very post, Peyton Manning, in his second year with the Broncos broke against the Houston Texans Tom Brady’s record of 50 touchdown passes in a season.

  6. Joe Biden (13 min)

    GQ’s profile on Joe Biden.

  7. Behind the scenes at the final days of 30 Rock (31 min)

    My first Buzzfeed longform piece.

  8. How Blackberry blew it (28 min)

    A tale of ignorance, hubris, and nemesis.

  9. Michael Jordan has not left the building (31 min)

    ESPN’s profile on, the now 50-year old, Michael Jordan.

  10. The poorest rich kids in the world (39 min)

    A thorough profile on the Inman twins, Doris Duke heirs.

  11. Allen Iverson struggles with life after basketball (13 min)

    Iverson stood during a divorce proceeding in Atlanta in 2012 and pulled out his pants pockets. “I don’t even have money for a cheeseburger,” he shouted toward his estranged wife, Tawanna, who then handed him $61.

  12. For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact (28 min)

    Siberian summers do not last long.

  13. 23 and You — Beautiful Stories (39 min)

    Does that commercial DNA test you just bought violate somebody else’s privacy?

  14. Can Silicon Valley embrace politics? (41 min)

    In Silicon Valley, government is considered slow, staffed by mediocrities, and ridden with obsolete rules and inefficiencies.

  15. What it’s like to fail (21 min)

    The personal story of David Raether, a former comedy writer for the sitcom Roseanne who later became homeless.

  16. If he hollers let him go (38 min)

    A profile on Dave Chapell and his comeback.

  17. Thanksgiving in Mongolia (16 min)

    A feature on the remote land of Mongolia.

  18. After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into lonely quiet (26 min)

    Washington Post examines the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.

  19. DNA through the eyes of an engineer (8 min)

    Everything looks exciting again.

  20. George Clooney interview (8 min)

    Esquire meets George Clooney to talk everything George Clooney.

  21. Lunch with Peter Thiel (10 min)

    The one and only Peter Thiel talks future, business, Silicon Valley, and more with the Financial Times.

  22. Let me read your mind (12 min)

    A thorough blogpost research on neuromarketing and its future from the friend of a friend of mine.

  23. Peyton Manning named Sportsman of the Year (29 min)

    Another Peyton Manning profile — this time from Sports Illustrated.

  24. Are we puppets in a wired world? (16 min)

    If anything, 2013 will be rememberd as the year in which privacy broke. Sue Halpern elaborates on it.

  25. Relational Economics (14 min)

    An essay on relational economics.

  26. Forensic Topology (11 min)

    How the urban and architectural environment affects crimes.

  27. Defending the 1% (N/A)

    A Harvard professor writes a paper/essay defending the 1%.

  28. Questions for Free-Market moralists (8 min)

    Amia Srinivasan ponders philosophically free-market’s moralism.

  29. The Red and the Black (32 min)

    “Profit is the motor of capitalism. What would it be under socialism?”, asks Seth Ackerman.

  30. Whole Earth Catalog, the book that changed the world (18 min)

    Steward Brand — the most influential person you’ve (probably) never heard of.

  31. What is Jack Dorsey’s next move? (31 min)

    “Constraint inspires creativity,” he says.

  32. In praise of idleness (9 min)

    Bertrand Russell. Nothing more to say.

  33. We like you so much and want to know you better (N/A)

    “My God, Mae thought. It’s heaven.”

  34. What Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Instagram, and Internet Porn are doing to American teenagers (27 min)

    ‘Sexting.’

  35. Christmas in Thessaloniki (20 min)

    Believer magazine profiles my hometown’s mayor, Yanni Boutaris. He’s done great work reinventing Thessaloniki. Timely title, as well.


  1. I’m sure some days will be full of holiday ennui — somewhat deserved after a demanding semester.