The Articles from 2014 That Made Me Think, Laugh, and Cry

Reading the New Yorker

By Steve Rhodes / Flickr Creative Commons

Few things give me as much joy as reading something that expands my mind or heart, and we live in a seems-too-good-to-be-true world where fantastic writing is available at our fingertips for free.

Here are some of the best articles I read this year. I’d love to hear what you have been reading in 2014 as well.

Articles that made me think:

The Case for ReparationsThe Atlantic – I will read anything by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and this essay was one of the most widely talked about long-form pieces this year.

Abundance Without AttachmentThe New York Times – What truly brings happiness? This was a recent piece that seems relevant to people from any or no religious tradition.

What if Whites Were the MinorityThe New York Times – Nicholas Kristof has written much about race this year. I found this to be one of his most thought-provoking pieces.

The Case for Open BordersVox – Immigration has clearly been in the news recently. Here is a more radical proposal with which you might disagree but that will surely get you thinking.

How to Be PoliteMedium – Though the title may sound like a BuzzFeed listicle, this was one of the most pleasantly surprising essays I read all year. Politeness – what’s not to like?

Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?The New York Times – Several of my married friends passed this around. It has a fascinating thesis.

Little Kid Reading

By Chris Cactus / Flickr CC

How I made sure all 12 of my kids could pay for college themselvesQuartz – Even if you aren’t planning on raising a football team+ of kids, this could be interesting to any parent.

Articles that broke my heart:

Before the LawThe New Yorker – I have read many articles about our criminal justice system this year. This was one of the most heartbreaking.

Man Arrested While Picking Up His Kids: ‘The Problem Is I’m Black’The Atlantic – The video that accompanies this is deeply disturbing but important for our national discussion on race and law enforcement.

Articles that simply fascinated me:

The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True HermitGQ – I could not stop reading this article about a man who lived in the woods of Maine for 30 years.

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious The Atlantic – In my so-biased-that-it-goes-without-saying opinion, Iowa has given the world many good things. The red delicious apple is not one of them. This story about its development, though, is fascinating.

The One-Day-a-Year Fitness PlanOutside – This article isn’t actually about a fitness plan but is much more about we can learn from testing our limits.

Articles that aren’t going to win a Pulitzer but that will surely make you smile:

This is Katie F—ing Ledecky: A Thesis About Kicking AssGrantland – I love Grantland and this is why. I couldn’t care less about swimming, and yet the fun writing style made this thoroughly enjoyable.

My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday’s Endless AppetizersGawker – This was both the most disgusting and the most hilarious article I read this year. Caity Weaver is one of a kind.

I Pumpkin Spiced My Life With Black-Market Starbucks SyrupGrub Street – Admittedly, this type of article whereby someone artificially gives himself a ridiculous, terrible-for-your-health type of challenge may have been done too many times now. Still, this is pretty hilarious.

Pumpkin Spice M&Ms

When will it ever stop? / By Mike Mozart / Flickr CC

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me – This piece largely falls under the same genre as the previous one, but it does reveal a lot about what happens when we give that little thumbs up. (By the way, you are welcome and encouraged to click ‘like’ for this article.)

Shamelessly self-promotional but fantastic stuff from The Jesuit Post:

Before You Know It: Learning to Love – Brendan Busse, SJ – Deciding which Brendan Busse essay to highlight was both extremely difficult and very easy. It’s impossible to say what was the best, but anything I chose was going to be good.

A Frat Boy’s Confession: An Open Letter to the Fraternity Men of America – Vinny Marchioni, SJ – Vinny Marchioni, a Greek himself, knocked it out of the park in discussing important issues in fraternities and America today.

On Love and Dignity and Dying – Jason Welle, SJ – This is one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful, and thoughtful pieces we’ve ever published. I’m grateful for it.

Hands in Prayer

By Marquette University / Flickr Creative Commons

Some Catholics – Joe Hoover, SJ – This article describes some Catholics. It sounds so simple, and yet I – and hundreds of others – find it so good.

Born in Love: On Advent and Adoption – Eric Immel, SJ – Eric is another blogger who has really developed his voice this year. This is great stuff.

Requiem for a Dog – Jayme Stayer, SJ – I wouldn’t call myself much of a pet person, but this was just beautiful. If you are a dog person, then you have to read this.

Expect Delays: The Inefficiency of Care – Keith Maczkiewicz, SJ – Relationship building is the most important work worth doing. I needed to hear this.

What are the best articles you have read this year? Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below.

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