We asked Molly McArdle, writer, editor, reading machine, reviewer, and brains behind the excellent The Rumpus tumblr to pick ten favourites essays from 2013. This is what she chose:
How to be a Stuffed Animal by Frances Stonor Saunders - The fire that destroyed P. T. Barnum’s American Museum was the spectacle to end all spectacles…
Out in the Great Alone by Brian Phillips - The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race pushes participants to the brink on an unforgiving trek to the end of the world…
Girls in the Grass by Angela Sebastian - …it’s the word “sis” that sends me into giggles, because “sis” is me. This summer I will have a sister.
Here Comes Everybody by Miriam Markowitz - Women writers are far outnumbered by men in magazines and book reviews, but why?
Emancipation by Casey Cep - Each tree and farm, street and courthouse of my home county rests on shallow-buried stories of slavery and Civil War
The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia by Jean Friedman-Rudovsky - For a while, the residents of Manitoba Colony thought demons were raping the town’s women. There was no other explanation.
Teach Me How to Speak by Soleil Ho - Though it was just an errant eruption from some distant undergrad’s laptop, the music bounced off the facades of the buildings around me, gaining more and more volume with each leap.
A Tooth for a Tooth by Jess Stoner - Modern dentistry does wonders for a rotten molar or a cracked bicuspid—it’s modern dental insurance that falls short.
The Forgetting Tree by Rae Paris - Because on your day I ate fried scallops, drank wine, tucked your name under my greasy napkin, explained to my job how productive I was this year. This year, every day you were dead.
How to Slowly Kill Yourself in America by Kiese Laymon - I’m a walking regret, a truth-teller, a liar, a survivor, a frowning ellipsis, a witness, a dreamer, a teacher, a student, a joker, a writer whose eyes stay red, and I’m a child of this nation.
Invisible Child by Andrea Elliott - This child of New York is always running before she walks. She likes being first — the first to be born, the first to go to school, the first to make the honor roll…
Make sure you check out Molly’s site for stacks of great writing and reviews, or head to the The Rumpus tumblr for all kinds of literary goodness.
So happy excited to be on this list.