December 27, 2013

Best Things of 2013

A year-end extravaganza!

Best Things I Wrote About in 2013*:

Rat clits. LinkedIn. Celebrity rehab. Air-drumming at a bar in Osaka. Ladies and gentlemen. Rape and social media. Drunk college dudes. Lady-stoners. A bisexual, marathon-running congresswoman. Height and dating. The pull-out generation. The abortion pill. Why women hated dating apps, until Tinder. Quitting New York. The courageous Wendy Davis. The badass Martha Stewart. The unfairly hated Anne Hathaway. The culture wars are over, except within your family. A personal connection to the Boston marathon bombing. Enjoying sexist music. The new domesticity. Impostor syndrome and how to ask for more money. Being a boss in a world without mentors. The art of the interview. Why now is the best moment to be working in journalism. How to build a media empire. Courting my friends, because I don’t shine if you don’t shine.

*I wrote about 95 articles this year. A more complete archive is here.

Best Things I Charted in 2013:

The Disapproval Matrix, aka how to identify haters. What I have in common with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Kanye West, and Michelle Obama. Marriage vs. spinsterhood. The strip malls, wish lists, singles, haters, neighborhoods, and secrets of Los Angeles. What I’m Netflixing, packing, hoarding, and rejecting. Deep thoughts on leaning in, being a lady, being a bro, being late, getting old, saying thanks, gateway drugs, Obamacare, pregnant friends, late periods, walking home alone, and TLC. Plus selfies, shark attacks, bruises, and Friday night.

Best Things I Read in 2013*:

Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things. Leslie Jamison on prisons and Appalachia. Ariel Levy on her miscarriage. Rebecca Solnit on Google buses. Lester Bangs on the death of Elvis and popular culture. Andrea Elliott on an invisible child. Mac McClelland on mental health and murder. Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman. Wells Tower on Burning Man. Jennifer Senior’s interview with Antonin Scalia. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah on Dave Chappelle. Daniel Bergner’s What Do Women Want? Nick Cave on the secret life of the love song. And many, many more things I know I’m forgetting. I’ll be better about recording favorites next year.

*This list was SO HARD for me to make. I tried to list the things that I found myself not just tweeting or listing here, but personally recommending to multiple friends. While much of this stuff was published in 2013, not all of it is new.


I love New Year’s. Very important secular holiday of reckoning and bonding.

My Best Things of 2013:

- Best Thing I Transported in a Suitcase This Year: 10 lbs of frozen halibut

- Best Thing I Transported in the Back Seat of My Car This Year: 1 large tumbleweed

- Best Thing a Classic Sci-fi Actor Called Me This Year: “Ann Freedom”

- Best Thing I Overheard at a Wedding This Year: "He's got moves no grandpa should have.”

- Best Thing That Licked Me This Year: Japanese wild deer

- Best Thing I Removed from My Leg This Year: Cylindropuntia fulgida

- Best Thing an Editor at a Women's Magazine Said to Me This Year: “Just, like, forget the nuance.” (Kidding! That was the worst.)

- Best Illogical Thing I Did This Year: Traveled 5,437 miles for a second date

- Best Thing I Capsized in This Year: A kayak

- Best Thing I Didn’t Tweet This Year Because It Seemed Too Mean: “Gladwell is the period underwear of journalism: Full of holes and a little gross, but comfortable and impossible to throw away.”

- Best Thing I Ate for Dinner on Multiple Nights This Year: Cheese dip

Your Best Things of 2013:

- Best Thing I Let My Dog Run Wild on This Year: Neko Case's tour bus [Joseph Hughes]

- Best Thing I Was Asked by a Student This Year: What were the gas giants like when you flew by them this summer? [my sister Carolyn, a fifth-grade teacher who went to space camp this summer—in Houston, not on Jupiter.]

- Best Sewage Monster I Stopped Contributing To This Year: Unflushable Flushable Wipes Ball [Beth Pickens]

- Best Thing I Cross-Stitched This Year: RuPaul's face [Brooke Hatfield]

- Best Thing I Delivered at the Smithsonian Postal Museum This Year: Presentation on the future of zip codes [Emily Goodmann]

- Best Thing I Got for Free While Exercising This Year: A beer from dudes giving out Miller High Life to bike commuters at the Manhattan Bridge, July 30 [Rebecca Rindler]

- Best Thing I Had Removed From my 5’3” body this year: A fibroid the size of a cantaloupe [Mimi Kessler]

- Best Mummified Thing I Saw This Year: The Holy Right Hand of St Stephen [Mimi Kessler, you're on a roll!]

- Best Thing I Consumed While Drunk at a House Party This Year: Bagel hero, a three foot hero in the shape of a bagel with bagel bread. God bless Long Island. [Emily Bogle]


Best Thing I Subscribed to This Year: Ann Friedman’s newsletter [dozens of you!!]

You guys are the best. I created this newsletter in March and have skipped only two Fridays since then. Now it has 3,650 subscribers, and about 65% of you open it every week. This makes me super happy. If you have suggestions about how I could do things better, I’d love to hear from you. I read every single email. Thanks so much for subscribing and sharing this thing with your friends.

This newsletter is going to be even better in 2014

Forward it to everyone who’s got big plans.

----->> Subscribe here. <<-----  ||  twitter  ||  facebook  ||  email