Good Reads: 2012

Here is a goal I always have in mind: to read more. People who give advice on goal setting would say it’s not a good goal in that it’s vague and unquantifiable. Read more what? And at which point is “more” enough? Then there’s the issue with quantity vs quality, and so on. But my intention, I just realized, isn’t so much to read more as simply to always be reading.

There were days, weeks, months, over this past year when I read almost continuously from the time I woke up until I closed my eyes again for sleep. Words consumed for both work and pleasure. The year also saw days when I read little more than traffic signs and billboard ads but all in all, “always reading” would be a fairly accurate way to describe my disposition in 2012. Much of that had to do with my acquiring an iPhone. It was (is) rare for me not to have it in hand, or at least within reach (yes, I’m one of those). With the gadget stuck to my palm, I found myself reading everywhere, all the time: waiting for the water to heat up, riding the elevator, in line for coffee. Between the extremes of always having an eye on a screen and not reading at all, I read travel stories, books on design and psychology and cartography, science journalism, poetry, and personal essays galore. I read fiction again (novels!), a genre I had all but neglected for a couple of years, and rediscovered the joy in spending a Sunday morning lost in a story. During that time I also joined the best editorial family on the internet—The Morning News—and consequently read the internet more than ever before. Below are some (far from all) of my favorite pieces from the year, from the internet.

Grace in Broken Arrow, Kiera Feldman
Serial sex abuse at a Christian school in Tulsa and the mechanisms through which church and school leaders repeatedly avoided reporting incidents.

The Siesta, Jackie Kruszewski
Unique glimpse of restaurant culture and the writer’s so-called waitressing addiction.

Writing in the Dark, Kathryn Schulz
Explaining what I like to call ‘nighttiming’—can’t be empathetic enough when I tell others how much I relate to this piece.

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, Kiese Laymon
Revisiting Jackson, Mississippi, to explore guns and race in America.

The Soul of a City, Matt Goulding
Beautiful, beautiful ode to Palermo. I have never been there nor even thought of the city before reading this piece, but having lived in more than a few less-glamorous, not-so-grand cities myself, I appreciate how Goulding finds the charm therein.

Nobody Says I Love You Anymore, Sarah Hepola
Well-loved TMN piece on the reality of moving back to one’s hometown.

(2011 edition)

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