What is The New Yorker? I know it’s a great magazine and that it’s a tremendous source of pleasure in my life. But what exactly is it? This blog’s premise is that The New Yorker is a work of art, as worthy of comment and analysis as, say, Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Each week I review one or more aspects of the magazine’s latest issue. I suppose it’s possible to describe and analyze an entire issue, but I prefer to keep my reviews brief, and so I usually focus on just one or two pieces, to explore in each the signature style of its author. A piece by Matthew Trammell is not like a piece by James Wood, and neither is like a piece by Peter Schjeldahl. One could not mistake Finnegan for Frazier, or Lepore for Paumgarten, or Goodyear for Khatchadourian. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mid-Year Top Ten (2012)

Midpoint in the year – as good a time as any to pause, sift through the many reading pleasures The New Yorker has afforded me, and pick my ten favorite pieces. Here’s my Mid-Year Top Ten (2012):

1.  Raffi Khatchadourian, “Transfiguration” (February 13 & 20, 2012)
2.  Ian Frazier, “Out of the Bronx” (February 6, 2012)
3.  Robert A. Caro, “The Transition” (April 2, 2012)
4.  Nick Paumgarten, “The Ring and the Bar” (January 30, 2012)
5.  Burkhard Bilger, “Beware of the Dogs” (February 27, 2012)
6.  Jill Lepore, “Battleground America” (April 23, 2012)
7.   Peter Hessler, “Identity Parade” (May 21, 2012)
8.  Dahlia Lithwick, “Extreme Makeover” (March 12, 2012)
9.  Colson Whitehead, “A Psychotronic Childhood” (June 4 & 11, 2012)
10.  Jeremy Denk, “Flight of the Concord” (February 6, 2012)

Credit: The above artwork is by Bendik Kaltenborn; it appears in The New Yorker (June 25, 2012), as an “Above and Beyond” illustration for the event “Coney Island Mermaid Parade.”

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