December Reading List: The Search for September-November’s Reading List

So I’ve been slacking. Yes, I’ve still been reading… just not nearly so much. My goal of 366 stories in 366 days is… possibly not going to happen. I write this with 21 days remaining and 26 stories left to read. But hey, I was one of Pocket’s top 1% this year, so that’s got to be good for something, right?


Anyway, as I’ve also slacked on posting these, I’m skipping most of the commentary and just including links. I am worthless during football season. Forgive me.

If you’ve missed any previous reading, here’s January’s reads, February’s reads, March reads, April reads, May reads, June reads, July reads, and August reads, along with a best of the first half of 2020 list and a best of all time list. Best reads get a .

247.) The Lesson Americans Never Learn by Annie Lowery in The Atlantic

248.) On and off the field, Marvin Wilson leaving a lasting impact at Florida State by Andrea Adelson for ESPN

249.) Can ‘Athletic Intelligence’ Be Measured? by Devin Gordon for The New York Times

250.) The Scramble to Pluck 24 Billion Cherries in Eight Weeks by Brooke Jarvis in The New York Times

251.) On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by a Pandemic by Jesmyn Ward in Vanity Fair

252.) The 5G lie: The network of the future is still slow by Geoffrey A. Fowler in The Washington Post

253.) Going Postal: A psychoanalytic reading of social media and the death drive by Max Read in BookForum

254.) The Falling Man by Tom Junoud in Esquire
I read this one every September 11, and it always feels new and haunting.

255.) Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence on BLM, listening and learning: ‘I’m on the journey of discovering’ by Hallie Grossman for ESPN

256.) The U.S. shows all the signs of a country spiraling toward political violence by Rachel Kleinfeld in The Washington Post

257.) Deshaun Watson is ready to be heard by Tim Keown for ESPN

258.) The Fight Against Words That Sound Like, but Are Not, Slurs by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic

259.) The Limitless Potential of Zion Williamson by JA Adande in Men’s Heath

260.) A neighbor asked for a tomato. This is where the story gets weird. by Gene Weingarten in The Washington Post

261.) What Happened Inside Ed Buck’s Apartment? by Jesse Barron in the New York Times Magazine

262.) The star college football recruit, his parents’ unusual decision and a cross-country move to play by Mark Schlabach for ESPN

263.) The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke . . . Is Now Officially Broke by Steven Bertoni for Forbes

264.) Buying Myself Back: When does a model own her own image? By Emily Ratajkowski for The Cut

265.) The Many Faces of Ethan Hawke by John Lahr in The New Yorker

266.) How Bruce Springsteen confronted death, saw Clarence in his dreams, and knocked out a raw and rocking new album with the world’s greatest bar band by Brian Hiatt for Rolling Stone

267.) How the journalism industry’s elitism locks out folks from underrepresented backgrounds by Omar Rashad for Poynter

268.) The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite by Renee DiResta in The Atlantic

269.) The End of the University by Astra Taylor in New Republic

270.) A pandemic, a motel without power and a potentially terrifying glimpse of Orlando’s future by Greg Jaffe in The Washington Post

271.) An Ohio county had the second-highest infant mortality rate in the nation. Then they started listening to Black moms. by Sarah Stankorb in The Lilly

272.) Prospect of life on Venus propels interest in robotic missions by Joel Achenbach in The Washington Post

273.) Just How Far Will Trump Go? by Ronald Brownstein in The Atlantic

274.) What the heroin industry can teach us about solar power by Justin Rowlatt for BBC News

275.) Now What? by Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic

276.) Think Of How Easy It Would’ve Been For Donald Trump To Not Catch The Coronavirus by David Roth in Defector

277.) The Quantum Internet Will Blow Your Mind. Here’s What It Will Look Like by Dan Hurley in Discover Magazine

278.) Researchers gave thousands of dollars to homeless people. The results defied stereotypes. by Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman for CNN

279.) How Hatred Came To Dominate American Politics by Lee Drutman for FiveThirtyEight

280.) The Republican and Democratic Parties Are Heading for Collapse by Lee Drutman for Foreign Policy

281.) Texas, Oklahoma and sights and sounds from a Red River Showdown unlike any other by David Wilson for ESPN

282.) The Island That Humans Can’t Conquer by Sarah Gilman in Hakai Magazine

283.) The United State of Dolly Parton by Lauren Michelle Jackson for the New Yorker

284.) The most millennial city council in America can’t get along by Michael Graff in Charlotte Agenda

285.) ‘That energy is still here’: How D.J. Looney continues to inspire Louisiana football by Harry Lyles for ESPN

286.) Medieval Europeans didn’t understand how the plague spread. Their response wasn’t so different from ours now. by Chico Harlan in the Washington Post

287.) Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal by David Streitfeld in The New York Times

288.) The Elusive Peril of Space Junk by Raffi Khatchadourian in The New Yorker

289.) David Byrne, Spike Lee, and Some Wisdom For Right Now by Kevin Sintumuang in Esquire

290.) Win or Lose, It’s Donald Trump’s Republican Party by Elaina Plott in the New York Times

291.) How the Awful Stuff Won by Tom Scocca in New York Review of Books

292.) The company that has a monopoly on ice cream truck music by Michael Waters in The Hustle

293.) Has Peak TV Already Peaked? by Sonia Saraiya for Vanity Fear

294.) After COVID-19 diagnosis, Stephen F. Austin coach Colby Carthel calls on Dad to ditch farm for football field by Ryan McGee for ESPN

295.) An Arrest in Canada Casts a Shadow on a New York Times Star, and The Times by Ben Smith for The New York Times

296.) Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose by Jane Mayer for The New Yorker

297.) The Kid with the Golden Arm by Adam Kramer for Bleacher Report

298.) In Search of Healing by Gene Weingarten for the Washington Post

299.) ‘We’re truly blood brothers’: Stanford coach David Shaw and his recent fight to save his brother, Eric by Andrea Adelson for ESPN

300.) How Senate Republicans averted catastrophe by Burgess Everett and James Arkin for Politico

301.) Goodbye, Donald Trump Jr. by Ashley Feinberg for Slate

302.) America’s Next Authoritarian Will Be Much More Competent by Zeynep Tufekci for The Atlantic

303.) Beers, brand and Big New Saturday: How Homefield Apparel came to life by Stephen J. Nesbitt and Sean Gentille for The Athletic

304.) A Brief History of the Codpiece, the Personal Protection for Renaissance Equipment by Dan Piepenbring for The New Yorker
Not a single mention of “A Clockwork Orange,” which is, in my humble opinion, the most impactful use of the codpiece in modern times.

305.) Theo Epstein’s Cubs heyday: Late nights, tennis showdowns and hijinks by Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma for The Athletic

306.) The Polls Underestimated Trump — Again. Nobody Agrees on Why. by Giovanni Russonello for The New York Times

307.) Dwight Schrute Was a Warning by Megan Garber for The Atlantic

308.) A former right-wing media creator on how a ‘different reality’ became so prominent. by Adam Satariano in The New York Times

309.) Sex, Lies, And Regret: Giancarlo Granda Reels From Eight Years With The Falwells by Josh Kovensky in Talking Points Memo

310.) An Oral History of the Funniest Simpsons Scene Ever Recorded by Brian Van Hooker for Mel Magazine

311.) Pulling Our Politics Back from the Brink by Evan Osnos for The New Yorker

312.) A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack by Nicholas Thompson for Wired

313.) Re-Evaluating Jimmy Carter by Gabriel Schoenfeld for American Purpose

314.) My Priceless Summer on a Maine Lobster Boat by Luna Soley for Outside Magazine

315.) Once the Disease of Gluttonous Aristocrats, Gout Is Now Tormenting the Masses by Ligaya Mishan for The New York Times

316.) The Curse of the Buried Treasure by Rebecca Mead for The New Yorker

317.) Ligaya Mishan Is a Different Kind of Food Critic by Mitchell Kuga in Vice

318.) The Promise That Tested My Parents Until the End by Christopher Soloman for GQ

319.) Dave Grohl, 10-Year-Old Nandi Bushell and One Very Epic Drum Battle by Jeremy Gordon in The New York Times

320.) How to protect our democracy from a future Donald Trump by Brian Klaas in The Washington Post

321.) How Prosperity Transformed the Falklands by Larissa MacFarquhar for The New Yorker

322.) George Clooney When We Need Him Most by Zach Baron for GQ

323.) Philly’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping dishes the dirt on the news conference heard ’round the world: ‘It was nothing we anticipated’ by Oona Goodin-Smith for the Philadelphia Inquirer

324.) The Post-Presidency of a Con Man by Michelle Goldberg for The New York Times

325.) Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit? (Don’t Blame Cars.) by Jonathan English for CityLab

326.) Trump and His Supporters Want What They Can’t Have by Charlie Warzel in The New York Times

327.) Ray Davies on 50 Years of ‘Lola’ by Jim Farber for The New York Times

328.) ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ has changed during the pandemic, but Lee Corso remains beloved by Chuck Culpepper for The Washington Post

329.) A Theory About Conspiracy Theories by Benedict Carey in The New York Times

330.) 30 Years Later: The Great Milli Vanilli Hoax by Kenneth Partridge for Mental Floss

331.) Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial by Peter Baker in The New York Times
“Trump was angry at the White House said sources” has been the ongoing story of the year. It’s never insightful, and I usually wonder if it’s even accurate.

332.) Ohio Hubby Offered Hitman $20,000 to Execute Wife He Said ‘Disrespected’ Him by Kate Briquelet for The Daily Beast

333.) Tony Hsieh’s American Tragedy: The Self-Destructive Last Months Of The Zappos Visionary by Angel Au-Yeung for Forbes

334.) We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time by David Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine

335.) The Inside Story of Michigan’s Fake Voter Fraud Scandal by Tim Alberta for Politico

336.) Inside the Secret Math Society Known Simply as Nicolas Bourbaki by Kevin Hartnett for Quanta Magazine

337.) What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life? by Rhaian Cohen for The Atlantic

338.) Newly Re-Edited, “The Godfather: Part III” Is the Masterpiece It Already Was by Richard Brody for the New Yorker

339.) The Art of Building the Impossible by Burkhard Bilger for The New Yorker
As wonderfully written a story as I’ve read this year. Often, if you notice the words being used, it’s because the subject hasn’t been reported well enough — flowery language hiding a thin story, not unlike some of the construction work described here. But this is an exception. It’s just perfect.

340.) ‘This is how we treat each other? This is who we are?’ by Eli Saslow for The Washington Post

341.) Xmas or Bust: The Untold Story of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” by Rob LeDonne for Rolling Stone

342.) Dianne Feinstein’s Missteps Raise a Painful Age Question Among Senate Democrats by Jane Mayer for The New Yorker
COVID-19 has exposed a lot of ageism issues in our society, but here’s an area where we actually need to get away from bowing to the whims (and egos) of the older generation — particularly on the left.

343.) Long Live the Greatest-Hits Album by Amanda Petrusich for The New Yorker

344.) The Ballad of Ron and Dorinda by David Garvey-Herbert for Esquire

345.) The Last Children of Down Syndrome by Sarah Zhang in The AtlanticMan this story really got to me. I think being a parent has certainly changed how I view things, but this piece asks so many big questions about parenthood, women’s rights, social pressures, and what it means to be “normal.” More than anything I think it asks a big question about life: How much do we really *want* to know?

346.) The Tyranny of Florida Democrats Must End by Paul Blest in Discourse Blog.

Meh. We get it. The liberal wing of the Democratic party is tired of being subdued by moderates. This story got a lot of play, and I just don’t see the value. Biden’s win, as much as anything, shows that the country WANTS moderates. Now, I would concur that the establishment powers-that-be (particularly in the Democratic party) should start moving on and letting a new generation of power brokers take the lead.

347.) I asked my students to turn in their cell phones and write about living without them by Ron Srigley in MIT Technology Review.

348.) A Black Student’s Mother Complained About ‘Fences.’ He Was Expelled. by Marie Fazio for The New York Times.

This story reminded me a lot of one I worked on earlier this year about an Alabama gymnast who left the school after feeling she was not supported by their diversity and inclusion department. I also read the follow-up letter from this school’s principal that certainly didn’t offer any credible evidence that the student should’ve been expelled. There’s an obvious problem here about how we call communicate on sensitive issues, but I wonder if there’s a bigger problem, too, in that “inclusion” faculty at schools are really there as a token gesture and are predisposed to side with the school in all cases.

349.) The Race to Redesign Sugar by Nicola Twilley for The New Yorker.

350.) Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage by Ranjan Roy in The Margins.

351.) How Offshore Oddsmakers Made a Killing off Gullible Trump Supporters by Alex Kirchner for Slate.

I’m not normally a fan of point-and-laugh stories but hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

352.) What Happens When Two Strangers Trust the Rides of Their Lives to the Magic of the Universe by Kim Cross for

This felt a bit overwritten and yet left me with lots of ongoing questions that I felt went unanswered. It’s gotten a lot of love from critics though, so, who am I to argue?

353.) The ‘Red Slime’ Lawsuit That Could Sink Right-Wing Media by Ben Smith in The New York Times

354.) She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One by Azam Ahmed in The New York Times

The genocidal impact of kidnappings and mass murder happening in Mexico is perhaps the most under-reported story in the world right now.

355.) After 60 years in showbiz, Glynn Turman has seen it all. And he’s not done yet by Greg Braxton for the Los Angeles Times

⭐356.) An Atlas of the Cosmos by Shannon Stirone in Longreads

⭐357.) The Full(est Possible) Story of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping Press Conference by Olivia Nuzzi in New York Magazine

358.) It Took a Pandemic to See the Distorted State of College Sports by Michael Rosenberg in Sports Illustrated

359.) In 2021, will sports be fun again? by Rick Maese in The Washington Post

360.) Danger sign: How will Ohio State account for Clemson’s signal-stealing reputation? by Pete Thamel in Yahoo!

⭐361.) This terrible year taught me something about hope by Monica Hesse in The Washington Post

362.) The Army is changing: Current female cadets will enter the Army with more career options than ever by Brandon O’Connor for

⭐363.) A brother’s grief, a father’s joy and learning to live with both at Christmas by Stephen J. Nesbitt in The Athletic

⭐364.) What the Hole Is Going On? The very real, totally bizarre bucatini shortage of 2020. by Rachel Handler for GrubStreet

365.) Monsters of 2020: The People Who Gutted Minor League Baseball by Tim Murphy for Mother Jones

366.) Walk, run or wheelbarrow: We moved our bodies forward during the pandemic by Allison Glock for ESPN

367.) The Unbearable Weakness of Trump’s Minions by Peter Wehner in The Atlantic

⭐368.) The Plague Year by Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker

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