Dec 19, 2019 3 min read

#223: The Best Articles Of 2019

#223: The Best Articles Of 2019

Thank you, Loyal Readers , for another great year! Our community of thoughtful readers continues to strengthen, and I am very grateful that you trust me to bring you outstanding articles week after week. Here’s 2019 by the numbers. Thank you! 51 issues, 208 articles, ~67 hours of reading 542 subscri

Thank you, Loyal Readers, for another great year! Our community of thoughtful readers continues to strengthen, and I am very grateful that you trust me to bring you outstanding articles week after week. Here’s 2019 by the numbers. Thank you!

  • 51 issues, 208 articles, ~67 hours of reading
  • 542 subscribers, 21 VIPs, 13 coffee connoisseurs
  • 4 HHHs, 172 joyful attendees, 4 grand prizes
  • 3 Pop-Up Article Clubs, 1 new Article Club

And now, it’s time to reveal the best articles of the year. Can you feel the excitement? Do we need a fancy award ceremony?

Before I announce the winners, here’s a bit about the selection process. From the 200+ articles, I chose 27 quarterfinalists (which I scanned again), then 11 semifinalists (which I read again). Then I consulted your favorite 10 articles of the year (a great list), just to make sure I wasn’t way off base. Finally, by brute force and sheer will, I landed on my favorite four articles of the year. I think they’re outstanding. My hope is that you’ll read them and enjoy them.

See you in the new year! I’m taking next week off.

America Wasn’t a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One

In this brilliant essay, Nikole Hannah-Jones argues that 1619, not 1776, should mark the beginning of our nation’s history. Slavery, rather than the Declaration of Independence, more accurately explains the foundation of the United States. Despite their centuries-long subjugation, Black Americans have shaped our country’s experience, Ms. Hannah-Jones emphasizes. She writes, “Black Americans have been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy.” (34 min)

Samantha, White Nationalist

Before Samantha joined the alt-right and became a white nationalist, she grew up in New Jersey and Florida, worked at Chipotle, and volunteered for the Obama campaign. Then Samantha met Richie, who cooked and danced and played the guitar. She fell in love. At first it didn’t matter that Richie quoted 4chan and made anti-Semitic remarks. But when he began arguing for racial purification and announced, “I’m a fascist,” that was too much. Samantha left Richie — that is, until she decided to look into some of his beliefs, to find out where he had gone wrong. Five days later, after watching YouTube videos and reading articles online, Samantha changed her mind: She wanted to become an advocate for the white race, too. (35 min)

Floppy wishes you joy this holiday season.

Faith, Friendship, And Tragedy At A High School In Santa Fe, Texas

Ninth grader Jaelyn had straw-blond hair and turquoise eyes, believed in God, and was new to Santa Fe High School, located in a suburb of Houston. Long homeschooled, she had told her parents that God had “put it on her heart” to branch out and meet new people. Eleventh grader Sabika, who had black hair and mahogany eyes, believed in Allah, and also was new to Santa Fe. An exchange student from Pakistan, she had told her parents that she wanted be like Malala Yousafzai and have an impact on the world. This is the story of Jaelyn and Sabika’s friendship, the hope of young people, and the power of human connection across difference. You’ll cry at the end, no doubt, but please don’t let that deter you from reading this extraordinary article, so plainly and beautifully written. (44 min)

The Crane Wife

Ten days after calling off her wedding, author CJ Hauser travels to the gulf coast of Texas to study whooping cranes for an upcoming novel. On the trip, Ms. Hauser reflects on her failed relationship, realizes painful personal truths, and begins the healing process. Ms. Hauser writes, “It’s easy to say that I left my fiancé because he cheated on me. It’s harder to explain the truth.” This is a beautiful, raw, heart-wrenching essay. (16 min)

Were my favorite articles your favorite ones, too? Or would you like to stage a protest? Please vote using the thumbs below. Or hit reply and tell me your thoughts. Also, please welcome our reading community’s two new subscribers, including Rebecca. I hope that you find the newsletter a welcome addition to your email inbox.

If you like The Highlighter, please help it grow and get better. I appreciate your support. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Forward this issue to a friend and urge them to subscribe,
  • Show your gratitude by buying me a coffee (thanks to the two anonymous folks who did so last week),
  • Go big and become a VIP member (thank you, Dina!).

On the other hand, if you don’t find value in receiving this newsletter, please unsubscribe. See you in two weeks — on Thursday, January 9, at 9:10 am!

Join the conversation

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Big Reading.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.