These 10 stories are some of the most valuable, meaningful, and entertaining things that we here at Hug the Rhino have ever read.  They are a showcase of truly exemplary  writing and journalism, offering deep levels of insight and entertainment on a variety of topics. All of the stories are long-form nonfiction, essentially a news/novel hybrid that tells stories in a layered, complex, and riveting fashion. 

How did we find these absolutely stellar articles? It's all thanks to a man named Bill Carey (@wcarey22). 

Bill has been named by some blogs as the greatest reader of the 21st century. To be fair, he's also going to be famous Chris Jones-esque writer someday, but for now we're focusing on his brilliant selection of long-form nonfiction articles. We've picked the best 10 from 2012 (spilling into 2013 a bit). These articles are at very least transformative. Read all 10 and you'll be a better, more insightful person.


Fascinating and Unique

Animals by Chris Jones
You might have heard about the escaped exotic animals in Ohio. Here's the real story: "It was dark and wet and dangerous in Zanesville, Ohio. Terry Thompson had let his scores of big animals out of their hard, grim cages, then shot himself in the head. The tigers and bears were loose. Night was falling. Everything was out of control."

Pearls Before Breakfast by Gene Weingarten
One of the world's greatest musicians dressed up as a homeless man and played by the Washington D.C. subway during the morning commute -- how did people react? 

The Chameleon by David Grann
Frederic Bourdin is a con man. But now he wonders: Am I the one being conned? 



Sports

"You may have heard about the Michigan high schooler who made a game-winning basket and then died. Here's the rest of the story: a violent car crash, a bone-shaking tackle, a near-perfect season, a reluctant substitute and a search for the will to carry on."

Shadow of a Nation by Gary Smith
"The Crows, once proud warriors, now seek glory—but often find tragedy—in basketball.

In 2009, a rugby player became the first male pro athlete to come out as gay while still playing.

Current Events
WARNING: This is a pretty upsetting story. It's incredible and won a Pulitzer, but definitely don't feel obligated to read it.

Santiago's Brain by Jeff Tietz
What happens to a kid too smart for school?

The Fruits of Family Trees by Jonathan Safran Foer
A story of food, heritage, family, and choices. The only non-Bill story in the bunch. 

So ridiculously powerful. Be warned: It is incredibly sad. I'd recommend not reading it in public.

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Kurt Berning

Hug the Rhino
For a better life