Harper's Recommendations
July 15, 2014 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I was recently gifted a subscription to Harper's, and just discovered that I have access to their online archive - can any longtime subscribers or those familiar with Harper's recommend top articles/essays/stories throughout Harper's history?
posted by stinkfoot to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
The two most memorable (and frankly wowing) for me have been David Foster Wallace's "Shipping Out" (a.k.a. "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"), January 1996, and "Fortune’s Smile: Betting Big at the World Series of Poker" (which later became the book "Positively Fifth Street") by James McManus, December 2000.
posted by argonauta at 9:19 AM on July 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When I first got access to this archive, I did some aimless browsing. One thing I remember finding was an 1978 article by Ron Rosenbaum about the nuclear bomb. It was revelatory for me at the time.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:37 AM on July 15, 2014

I don't remember the name of the article, but there was a long one (by the editor?) in maybe the late 90s about drug and alcohol policy, growing opium poppies, and personal adventures that was really great.

When I google I find a Michael Pollan article, which I'm sure is great and might be the one I'm thinking of.
posted by ldthomps at 9:56 AM on July 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Previously

My faves that I also highlighted before:

The boy who loved transit: How the system failed an obsession by Jeff Tietz - great article about the failure of the court system

Welcome to cancerland: A mammogram leads to a cult of pink kitsch - by Barbara Ehrenreich, about the gendered industry surrounding cancer that she confronted during her battle with breast cancer
posted by susanvance at 9:58 AM on July 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Mark Twain published a lot of Harper's Magazine articles.
posted by Flexagon at 10:18 AM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Michael Pollan poppy article. It's the one I came in to recommend.

Also, don't miss "The King of The Ferret-Leggers" by Don Katz.
posted by OrangeDisk at 10:22 AM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bill Volllman's 2013 article about being a unabomber suspect "Life as a Terrorist" was typically memorable. Also the one about the tunnels in Mexico.

Tom Bissell's essay concerning the Aaral sea disaster "Eternal Winter"

I'd also recommend David Foster Wallace's "A Ticket to the Fair."
posted by rdnnyc at 11:42 AM on July 15, 2014

I also liked DFW's Tense Present (April 2001) which is about dictionaries.
posted by aubilenon at 11:48 AM on July 15, 2014

Best answer: Literature:
Twenty-Two Stories, Paul Theroux
Highway Run, Jake Silverstein (touring Mexico in a death-race revival)
Mutations of Immortality, Christian Bok (The Xenotext Experiment)
Right off the end of Forever, Spalding Gray
Why I write, Barry Hannah

Parade's End, Drawings from New Orleans by Bruce Davenport, Jr.

Nothing better than getting lost in a Harper's on a plane.
posted by priested at 2:28 PM on July 15, 2014

One more - I found George Michelsen Foy's article "Burning Olivier" to be harrowing and unforgettable. Took me a bit to find it again without remembering the title or the author.
posted by rdnnyc at 2:29 PM on July 15, 2014

"The man who saves you from yourself" is a really great article about a cult deprogrammer.
posted by jbickers at 5:59 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's been a decade since I subscribed but as others have said anything by DFW, though some DFW articles are availabel via other sources if you have a limit on the articles you can read.

There was one article I remember in particular about the relationship between humans and dogs where a person who had a dog and a teenager and who was also a trainer that described an interaction between she and her dog when the adolescent teen yelled from away in the house - as they do - and the unspoken communication that followed. The gist was that the two, I almost said people, the dog and the human looked at each other and basically said, "yeah, that's a teenager being dramatic". I would be much relieved if someone could find that article. My search failed.

I hated the fiction but I'm an idiot with regards to fiction. Harpers is my favorite magazine ever. You are in for some great reading.
posted by vapidave at 10:10 PM on July 15, 2014

Eudora Welty also had short fiction published in Harpers.
posted by smoke at 3:41 AM on July 16, 2014

There was a Wendell Berry essay that mentioned his wife did all his typing, which brought out hostile letters, and his retort was very memorable to me. (The letters and his response were printed together I think. Or was it that he excerpted them in his own essay?) I guess it was around 2001, but I'm not sure.
posted by mahorn at 1:45 PM on July 16, 2014

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