Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism, curated by Conor Friedersdorf, an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about politics and national affairs. Divided by category, these must-reads are his personal picks for the best nonfiction of 2010. This list is perfect for Instapaper and is a great way to explore subjects you love and discover new areas of interest.
Here are some of my favorites by category:
The Art Of Storytelling
THE NEW YORKER
The Mark Of A Masterpiece by David Grann
A painting done by a famous artist can be worth many millions of dollars. An imitation is basically worthless. Art historians used their expertise to differentiate between the two - until recently, when Peter Paul Biro began using fingerprints on canvases to authenticate works scientifically.
The Case Of The Vanishing Blonde by Mark Bowden
Private investigator Ken Brennan was given a mystery: who raped, beat and left for dead a 21-year-old blonde woman? She couldn’t remember her attacker. The police gave up on the case. This is the story of the man who broke it open, and the steps that led him to a perpetrator no one else suspected.
Crime & Punishment
Art Of The Steal by Joshua Bearman
Gerard Blanchard has been compared to a criminal Rain Man. His story is like every larger than life heist film you’ve ever seen - but this scourge of the world’s bank managers is a real person.
The Ballad Of Colton Harris-Moore by Bob Friel
“In the Northwest’s San Juan Islands, best known for killer whales and Microsoft retirees, a teen fugitive has made a mockery of local authorities, allegedly stealing cars, taking planes for joy rides, and breaking into vacation homes. His ability to elude the police and survive in the woods has earned him folk-hero status. But some wonder if the 18-year-old will make it out of the hunt alive.”
Sports & Leisure
THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
What Is I.B.M.’s Watson? by Clive Thompson
A generation ago, an I.B.M. computer beat Garry Kasparov at chess. Now the company has made a machine that plays Jeopardy. Can it win?
Video Games: The Addiction by Tom Bissell
What hobby took over Tom Bissell’s world even more than his cocaine habit? Playing Grand Theft Auto.
Science, Religion & Human Nature
Invasion by Tom Junod
The subject is ants: “If you think the numbers sound like abstractions, if you wonder what deranged census-taker came to the conclusion that in the shadow of each and every human being there lives a hidden host of 1.6 million, well, that only means you haven’t attempted the experiment of peacefully coexisting with them.”
The Genesis 2.0 Project by Kurt Anderson
The Large Haldron Collider “exists in a near-magical realm, a $9 billion cathedral of science that is apparently, in any practical sense, useless.” A look at the secrets physicists hope it will unlock.
On Birth, Death, & The Afterlife
THE TIMES OF LONDON
The British POW Who Broke Into Auschwitz - And Survived by Jake Wallis Simons
A 91-year-old veteran of World War II reflects on one of the most audacious acts of that conflict - and why he risked his life to bear witness to history.
Are You Sure You Want To Quit The World? by Nadya Labi
On an Internet message board, an anonymous figure was befriending people contemplating suicide - and pushing them to go through with it.
TV’s Crowning Moment Of Awesome by Chris Jones
(If you enjoy the piece, also listen to Act Four in this episode of This American Life.)
Terry Kniess performed better than anyone in the long history of The Price Is Right - so well that producers freaked out backstage as he racked up winnings. Was it luck? Skill? Or did he cheat?
THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
Generation Why by Zadie Smith
A review of The Social Network. And a meditation on the ways that technology can shape and change how we think and behave toward one another.
The Innovative & Creative
Kanye West Has A Goblet by Jonah Weiner
Rather than tell us how the celebrity profile might evolve in the age of Twitter, the author shows us - and gives Gay Talese a run for his money.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Anosognosic’s Dilemma (Parts 1 through 5) by Errol Morris
On the intractable problem of not knowing what you don’t know.
Inside The Secret World Of Trader Joes by Beth Kowitt
Everything you ever wanted to know about the innovative grocery store chain and its uncanny ability to deliver tasty, original fare at bargain prices.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The 36-Hour Dinner Party by Michael Pollan
Friends. Food. And the ultimate backyard cookout.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE
The James Franco Project by Sam Anderson
That most rare of magazine features - a celebrity profile with an unfamiliar narrative.
Roger Ebert: The Essential Man by Chris Jones
The defining portrait of America’s most famous movie critic, the cancer that cost him his jaw, and the unexpected turn his career has taken after all these years.
This Is A Business
All Those Numbers: Logistics, Territory and Walmart by Jesse Lecavelier
What the discount retailer - the largest private employer in the United States - can teach us about design and efficiency.
Beware Of Greeks Bearing Bonds by Michael Lewis
“How on earth do monks wind up as Greece’s best shot at a Harvard Business School case study?” Michael Lewis descends on the country to find out, and discovers a peculiar brand of fiscal madness.