December 13, 2011

Monthly Wire

Top Reads of 2011

By Monthly Wire

During 2011 the Monthly added a free daily service – the Shortlist Daily – a compact email providing a curated selection of the best reads from around the world. What follows is a selection of ten pieces that appeared in the Shortlist Daily – surely amongst the boldest, wittiest and wisest reading this year.

 

How we were all misled "It is easy to mislead people about money, and easy to lead members of the public astray, because when it comes to money, most of us, most of the time, don't know what we're doing. The corollary is also clear: the whole Western world misled itself over debt, and the road back from where we are goes only uphill."

– New York Review of Books

Zadie Smith on race, religion and diversity post-9/11 "Here on earth, poverty and privilege cross the religious and the cultural divide. Look a little closer at the CCTV footage, in London: we riot together, and together we clean the streets."

– New Yorker

Booze Territory: The crisis of alcoholism "At 2 pm the shutters will open, the tavern will close and the drinking will shift to the dry riverbed of the Todd River. It is rush hour for Alice Springs taxi drivers. 'No car, no drive-through' is the new rule for these bottlos (unless you're white), and taxis are hailed for the 10 metre trip."

– The Monthly

Putin's Rasputin "Surkov is the real genius of the Putin era. Understand him and you understand not only contemporary Russia but a new type of power politics, a breed of authoritarianism far subtler than the 20th-century strains."

– London Review of Books

The Tweaker: Malcolm Gladwell on the genius of Steve Jobs "Jobs gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then denies that the child is his. He screams at subordinates. He cries like a small child when he does not get his way... Our natural expectation is that Jobs will emerge wiser and gentler from his tumultuous journey. He never does."

– New Yorker

James Gleick: How Google dominates us "The Google corporate motto is 'Don't be evil.' Who, then, judges what is evil? 'Evil is what Sergey (Brin) says is evil,' explained Eric Schmidt, the chief executive officer."

– New York Review of Books

Finish that homework!: On the Tiger Mother phenomenon "There's scarcely a subject more fraught with reproach and scrutiny, more fertile for theories, than parenting, and motherhood in particular. Why has this book excited such extreme reactions?"

– New York Review of Books

All the single ladies: On marriage and the modern woman "What my mother could envision was a future in which I made my own choices. I don't think either of us could have predicted what happens when you multiply that sense of agency by an entire generation."

– The Atlantic

A woman's opinion is the mini-skirt of the internet "You come to expect it, as a woman writer, particularly if you're political. You come to expect the vitriol, the insults, the death threats. After a while, the emails and tweets and comments containing graphic fantasies cease to be shocking."

– The Independent

And finally

On the movie set of Ilya Khrzhanovsky "The rumors started seeping out of Ukraine about three years ago: A young Russian film director has holed up on the outskirts of Kharkov, making... something. If the gossip was to be believed, this was the most expansive, complicated, all-consuming film project ever attempted."

– GQ

 

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