The Best of What I Read in 2016


Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

The Death of Adam, Gilead, and When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson

The World's Last Night, The Great Divorce, and The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

The Limits of Critique, by Rita Felski

Bad Religion, by Ross Douthat

Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis

The World Beyond Your Head, by Matthew B. Crawford

Great Lent, by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Articles & Essays

My four favorite essays of the year:

“Save Our Public Universities” by Marilynne Robinson in Harper's

Better Now?” by Adam Morris in The Point

Walking While Black” by Garnette Cadogan in LitHub (also published in Freeman’s and The Fire This Time)

Scientific Regress” by Will Wilson in First Things

The Fencing Master” by David Treuer in Granta

Dying Together” by Clare Coffey in The American Conservative

"Everyday Barbara Pym” by B.D. McClay in First Things

“The Greek Hero at the Gym” by Daniel Kunitz in the Wall Street Journal

Uncanny Valley” by Hannah Wiener in n+1

This thing about how Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve is #problematic, by Laura Saetvit Miles in Vox

The Smug Style in American Liberalism” by Emmet Rensin in Vox

Then, on the flipside: “Explaining It All to You” by Nathan J. Robinson in Current Affairs

For Six Weeks I Lived by Joe Manganiello's Insane Diet and Workout Plan” (mmhmm) by Nicole Cliffe in Elle

The Desert Fathers Play Pokemon Go” by Chris Casberg in Conciliar Press

Love in French” by Lauren Collins in The New Yorker

Fear and Trembling in Las Vegas” by Tara Isabella Burton in Hazlitt

The Seven Deadly Social Networks” by Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic

That ridiculous Matthew Walther piece about Lena Dunham and a bad high, by Matthew Walther in The Washington Free Beacon

(I'm certainly forgetting some others.)


The Clinic Bomber's Mother” by Shara Lessley

The Philanderer's Plant” by Sally Cook

Film Critics Who Killed It in 2016

Rather than try to pull together all the zillions of film articles I read this year, I want to highlight instead those critics who were consistently intelligent, provocative, and/or hilarious: Miriam Bale, Wesley Morris, Alissa Wilkinson, Nick Pinkerton, Violet Lucca, Peter Labuza, Victor Morton, Kent Jones, K. Austin Collins, Richard Brody. Next year I hope to seek out more to add to my list of regulars!