It would be impossible to thoroughly curate the hundreds of millions of articles published online in any given year, so what we’ve done instead is pull out a few that stood out to us as being representative of the biggest events, trends and zeitgeists of 2016. Here, 9 of the most compelling reads of the year, covering everything from Prince to politics.
"We’re in the middle of a decade of post-dignity design, whose dogma is cuteness. One explanation would be geopolitical: when the perception of instability is elevated, we seek the safety of naptime aesthetics... Adulthood stretches pointlessly out ahead of us, the planet is melting off its axis, you will never have a retirement account. Here’s a hamster." This compelling read deep dives into the reasons why our apps speak (and market) to us as though we were children.
"The Babysitters Club" from Real Life
"We have a thing called Caribou Coffee in Minnesota, which is like Starbucks. He'd go over there, and he didn't have any pockets. He didn't have a wallet or any credit cards. He just had cash he'd carry in his hand—like, a $100 bill. And whoever took his order, they'd have a good day, 'cause he'd buy his coffee drink and then just leave the whole hundred. He doesn't wait for any change because he doesn't have anywhere to put it." These personal stories of the legendary musician are everything.
"Prince's Closest Friends Share Their Best Prince Stories" from GQ
"Still, democracy is far from perfect—'the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time,' as Churchill famously said. So, if we value its power to make good decisions, why not try a system that’s a little less fair but makes good decisions even more often?" The New Yorker writer Caleb Cain tackles the issue of uniformed voting, questioning current American democracy in the process.
"The Case Against Democracy" from The New Yorker
When this article posted last week, we immediately labeled Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine a hero. Up to 25% of clinically-recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, so it's a topic that needs discussing, and brave souls—like Leandra—who are up to the challenge of doing so.
"The Baby I Lost, The Person I’m Finding" from Man Repeller
"After all the freakiness and excess, the recalibration and exile, the experimentation and returning to his roots, he took the time to remind us: Pursue joy and make room for contemplation, do the work and appreciate the pleasure, never stop unless you want to, the changes are everything, hang on to yourself." This is one woman's ode to Bowie, and what he meant to her then and now.
"Reflections of a Bowie Girl" from NPR
Even if you love Trump, you might crack just the teensiest of smiles when reading this list from Jezebel. We will admit, however, that it was funnier before he won the presidency.
"All The Names We've Called Trump" from Jezebel
"Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist Leonard Cohen (b. September 21, 1934) is among the most exhilarating creative spirits of the past century. " Brain Pickings founder Maria Popova describes why Leonard's Cohen's non-jackpot mentality created his enduring success. How retro (and lovely).
"Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting" by Brain Pickings
"After being robbed at gunpoint in a Parisian hotel, the Instagram-loving, paparazzi-friendly star faced a grim reality: her glamorous life was all too easy to track. But there are other reasons Kardashian was such an easy target—and the thieves so elusive." Blergh! Even if we know we shouldn't want to read this, Vanity Fair always manages to rope us in. Kim K's robbery was arguably the second most shocking and horrifying event of 2016, and it proves that this year was truly terrible for everyone.
"The Inside Story Of The Kim Kardashian Paris Hotel Heist" by Vanity Fair
Okay, so this one isn't a read, per se, but we couldn't help but include this eye candy for the soul in our roundup. Click through immediately for an uplifted mood and a surprising onslaught of optimism.
"Hopeful Images from 2016" from The Atlantic