A couple notes:
1. Longreads is now on Tumblr. Follow away.
2. The wonderful Michelle Legro of Lapham’s Quarterly (see below) has helped kick off a list-filled December. Post your own Top 5 Longreads of 2010, and we’ll reblog them.
Michelle Legro is an editor for Lapham’s Quarterly (who you should be following on Tumblr!)
If you aren’t one of the more than 10,000 people who follow @longreads on Twitter, or get the Longreads Instapaper feed on your iPhone or iPad, then do so immediately. Every day there are perfectly curated features of long-form journalism, new and old, to discover and send along to others.
1. Garry Kasparov, “The Chess Master and the Computer” (NYRB) + Clive Thompson, “What is IBM’s Watson?” (NYT Magazine)
Did you know that 2010 is the year grandmaster Garry Kasparov declared man’s battle for chess supremacy over machines at an end? Instead, the machine must take on a new game, and the subtle questions of Jeopardy are the next ambitious goal for IBM programmers.
2. Veronica Mittnacht, “An Advice Columnist Asks for Advice” (The Rumpus)
Of the many, many essays about navigating life after college, this one really takes to heart the essential contradiction of youth: “How did we become so ambitious and afraid?”
3. Ed Dante, “The Shadow Scholar” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Speaking of fear, be afraid. Not of the skills of this professional paper writer—who can charm a twenty-five page essay about any topic you like from mid-air. Be afraid of everyone out there who has ever used him. Doctors, nurses, businessmen, teachers, seminary students, everyone.
4. Zadie Smith, “Generation Why?” (NYRB) + Jose Antonio Vargas, “The Face of Facebook Opens Up” (The New Yorker)
It’s really worth getting to the dark heart of the Zuckerberg in this NYer profile before reading Smith’s screed about Facebook and the Social Network, if just to get some perspective.
5. And the best Longread of 2010 is, without a doubt, the very insightful, funny, and of course frustrating look into the Senate by George Packer, “The Empty Chamber” (The New Yorker) Please, just give him all the National Magazine Awards right now.
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