Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 4 seconds. (Average 20-30 min for each story)

These 12 stories are the pinnacle of writing. All the credit for finding this list goes to Bill Carey (@wcarey22), a good friend, proud member of Rhino Nation, and a Producer at Sports Illustrated. Bill has been named twice by some blogs as the greatest reader of the 21st century, and sends out a monthly list of longform articles to friends and colleagues. These are our picks for the top 12 articles he's highlighted in the last year (most are from 2013, some are wildcards). As an introduction to this year's top articles, we asked Bill to write a short piece on the beauty of longform nonfiction.

Gay Talese, widely considered one of the best nonfiction writers, wrote that the stories that interested him when he was starting his career “would not often be considered worthy of news coverage. (But) I thought those people had a sense of what was going on. I believed if we could bring them into the larger consciousness, they could help us understand the trends happening around us.”

His thoughts help show the value of the stories Kurt has listed below. These stories don’t all have an obvious “news hook,” but they help us understand what’s happening – or should be happening – in our world. They help us see events from different perspectives. Take Eli Saslow’s series on food stamps, which may win this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. Each piece in the series, including the one listed below, presents the impact of food stamp reform through the stories of real people. For me, this type of reporting brings precision that numbers or statements from politicians can’t.

- Bill Carey

Beautiful words Bill. Happy reading. 

Fascinating and Unique

In 38 years, only one person has guessed the exact value of the Showcase Showdown on the Price is Right. How he did it is still a matter of dispute. 

The incredible effort to make us like all the unhealthy food we eat. Moss won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his investigation of the meat industry. 

The Flight From Dallas by Chris Jones
The assassination of John F. Kennedy and its immediate aftermath, as experienced on Air Force One. The reporting here is just ridiculous.


Profile of LeBron, the best player of his generation, who has been otherworldly the past year and a half. This is also a clinic on profile writing. So good. 

Federer as Religious Experience by David Foster Wallace
A look at Roger Federer at his peak. Widely considered the best article ever written about tennis.

A portion of Bill's reporting and research in east London - was published by SI before the Sochi Games started. Well worth a read. As we've said before, #nextchrisjones.

Want more stories? Here is our 2012 list
Investigative Journalism

The Prophet by Luke Dittrich
Dr. Eben Alexander was in a coma when he experienced "proof of heaven" - he was a man of science who experienced the afterlife. But this investigation showed that there's more to the neurosurgeon than he led people to believe.

A judge made his decision - a father's negligence had caused his son's death. Now he wonders what the consequences might be. Pulitzer Prize winner.

Tonight on Dateline This Man Will Die by Luke Dittrich
"NBC's "To Catch a Predator" arrived in Murphy, Texas, to conduct a sting operation. The only honest thing that followed was the gunshot."

The Innocent Man by Pam Colloff - Part 1 & Part 2
National Magazine Award winner last year. An extremely long (two-part) story on Michael Morton, who "came home from work to discover that his wife had been brutally murdered in their bed. His nightmare had only begun." This is his journey to death row and his fight to get free. 


Too Much of Too Little by Eli Saslow
"A diet fueled by food stamps is making South Texans obese but leaving them hungry." Saslow just won a prestigious Polk Award for his food-stamp series. Bill think he's going to win a Pulitzer Prize, too.

Taken by Sarah Stillman
"Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?"

A fallen soldier's last trip home, told from end to beginning. A National Magazine Award winner and one of my all-time favorites.

Thanks for reading! Finished all of these and still can't get enough longform nonfiction? Check out last year's list for the top 10 articles of 2012. 
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