Best New Yorker articles of the last 2 years?
January 22, 2014 3:44 AM   Subscribe

I have a digital subscription to the New Yorker. I love it dearly when I make time to read it. I haven't made the time in... about two years... and I would like to read the best articles I've missed in that time. So: which articles published in the New Yorker in 2012 and 2013 are absolute must-reads?
posted by third word on a random page to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 110 users marked this as a favorite

I loved this description of the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt
posted by Mchelly at 4:30 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: John McPhee's "Structure" is a compact masterclass in how he has managed to arrange so much material ("...characters, description, dialogue, narrative, set pieces, humor, history, science, and so forth...") in his various works. Fascinating, technical, and beautiful in its way. (Jan. 14, 2013)
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:25 AM on January 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: curates the best long-form articles from lots of magazines - here's what they picked from the New Yorker:
posted by UncleBoomee at 5:35 AM on January 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

A Very Rare Book
posted by griphus at 5:49 AM on January 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think it's this one, but fair warning, it's devastating.

Ariel Levy, Thanksgiving in Mongolia.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:51 AM on January 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

Taken, on civil forfeiture.
posted by Phlogiston at 6:31 AM on January 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

UncleBoomee's link reminded me of this gem, about egg poachers: Operation Easter

edit: people who poach wild eggs, not the cooking apparatus.
posted by Mchelly at 7:25 AM on January 22, 2014

Best answer: Transfiguration, about a face transplant. Some of the medical content may be a bit upsetting, but overall it's fascinating if you like the medical articles.
posted by matildaben at 7:40 AM on January 22, 2014

Best answer: Adam Gopnik's Bread and Women.
posted by jweed at 8:23 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

In addition to the longreads, I recommend Emily Nussbaum's TV column. She's the rare combination of unapologetic enthusiast and deeply insightful critic. Plus she's a fun read. If you're lucky you'll find some shows to catch up on as well.
posted by whuppy at 9:23 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Phlogiston and Griphus listed two of my favorites.
posted by brianogilvie at 11:07 AM on January 22, 2014

Rachel Aviv's Netherland.
posted by Bleusman at 3:10 PM on January 22, 2014

Best answer: Michael Specter's "The Lyme Wars" was quite good (July 1, 2013): "The Lyme-disease infection rate is growing. So is the battle over how to treat it."

Are you counting fiction under the heading of articles? I ask because Junot Díaz's “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” ran in The New Yorker on July 23, 2012. I had never read him, and this story just knocked me out.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:13 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Janet Malcolm's "Nobody’s Looking at You: Eileen Fisher and the art of understatement" (September 23, 2013) is an interesting read even if you don't care about women's clothing.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:53 PM on January 22, 2014

Just a note that if you belong to a public library or educational institution, chances are good you have right to access (even remotely, using your library card) databases offering full text of New Yorker articles (and other magazine articles). Such resources usually lag by a few months, and the layout/design isn't as nice as the New Yorker's, but it's free and it's open text (so you can search, cut/paste, etc).

That all said, New Yorker could desperately use your subscription money. But if you just want to read an article or two once in a while, this is a good workaround. That "University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt" article was hidden behind a New Yorker paywall, but I picked it up via Infotrac after an easy search (if I did this more than a handful of times per years, I'd definitely buy a subscription).
posted by Quisp Lover at 5:16 PM on January 22, 2014

One more thing: archives pretty much all his New Yorker articles, fwiw.
posted by Quisp Lover at 5:20 PM on January 22, 2014

Best answer: The Apostate, Lawrence Wright's examination of Paul Haggis' break with the Church of Scientology, which quickly sprawls out into a free-for-all examination of the "Church" itself. Wright found a subject that he really clicked with, and it became the genesis for his book Going Clear.
posted by sidi hamet at 8:15 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much, everyone! This is an excellent list, sure to keep me busy for weeks.
posted by third word on a random page at 12:40 PM on January 23, 2014

Two late additions, both from last December:

The Interview, about the role of interrogation techniques in yielding confessions, truthful or not.

The Big Sleep, about the development of a new (and improved?) medication for sleep.
posted by Mr Yak at 9:19 AM on February 15, 2014

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