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Top Authors Share Their Must Reads of 2022

The writers behind Pocket’s Best of 2022 stories share the stories they couldn’t stop thinking about.

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One of the best parts of working on Pocket’s Best of the Year collections is alerting the featured authors that their stories were some of the internet’s most loved, saved, and read. So each year, we like to give those writers a chance to spread the good cheer—and the spotlight—by asking them to nominate their favorite (and sometimes jealousy-inducing) reads from the past 12 months.

Fruit Stickers Are the Scourge of the Compost Pile

Sarah Jeong
The Verge

Caity Weaver: “I deeply related to this quote from an interviewee: ‘It seems like they can get away with just not putting stickers on the fruit, and we would be OK, says Simpson. But I’m just some guy who eats fruit… so there might be something I don’t know.’ That’s how I feel about everything: like I’m just some guy who eats fruit... so there might be something I don’t know. I’m still that guy after reading this, but I know a lot more about fruit stickers, specifically. It feels good!”

See Caity Weaver’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Long Reads.

That’s It. You’re Dead to Me.

Kaitlyn Tiffany
The Atlantic

Allie Volpe: “My favorite stories are the ones that take a fairly common event or situation—in this case, the fairly recent rise of ‘toxicity’ as a social descriptor and the swift elimination of said people from one’s life—and provide analysis and context. Kaitlyn Tiffany has such a keen eye for of-the-moment social tendencies and I love reading her reporting on these trends, the way she weaves anecdotes with expert insight with ease.”

See Allie Volpe’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Most Read.

Super-Prime Mover: Britain’s Most Successful Estate Agent

Sophie Elmhirst
The Guardian

Sean Williams: “Sophie Elmhirst has written some of the most interesting features of the past couple of years, and they’re all told in a strong, comic voice. They also tell us something deeply important about modern society—and this profile, of a rapacious, Gordon Gekko-esque real estate guy in London, is about so much more than his punchy sales technique.

“Elmhirst published this piece in January. It feels like a generation ago. Britain has rattled through three prime ministers, two monarchs and countless scandals, and it’s staring at an unprecedented recession. Walking around London, where I recently moved from almost a decade in Germany, this story seems to echo off every street corner. A cautionary tale but, somehow, a deeply funny one too.”

See Sean Williams’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Sports & Gaming.

Stephen Sondheim’s Lesson for Every Artist

D. T. Max
The New Yorker

Ted Gioia: “I’ve enjoyed D.T. Max’s writing ever since I discovered his biography of David Foster Wallace. In the final days of Stephen Sondheim’s life, Max spent time with the great Broadway composer, and shared this moving and wise account of their encounters. This is a fitting final testimony from an iconic figure in American music.”

See Ted Gioia’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Culture & Entertainment.

‘Thank the Lord, I Have Been Relieved’: The Truth About the History of Abortion in America

Tamara Dean
The Guardian

Karima Moyer: “Gripping and engaging without resorting to manipulative language or fact bending. The journalist has a raw narrative style while maintaining a clinical historian’s stance. Her masterly control over pacing and emotional flow, necessary for this topic, invites not just the converted, who want to know more about what they already believe, but welcomes the curious and undecided who need to know more. And this article shows, as worthy journalistic pieces should, that we don’t even know half of what we thought we knew. Although it is about a current topic, it’s a historical perspective, and history ages well. This is a timeless piece. You cannot step away unmoved to the core.”

See Karima Moyer’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Food.

Dreamers in Broad Daylight: Ten Conversations

Leslie Jamison

Faith Hill: “This one is just my kind of story: a graceful weaving of psychology, history, present-day reporting, and personal reflection. The piece is about daydreams, and Jamison’s writing feels dreamlike itself—languid and meandering and evocative. But by the end, I still felt like she’d captured daydreaming—the shame, the beauty, the delicious indulgence—with precision. I saw my own wandering mind mirrored back, and I felt a little less alone.”

See Faith Hill’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Long Reads.

Shane Gillis’s Fall and Rise

Kelefa Sanneh
The New Yorker

Chris Gayomali: “You might remember Shane Gillis as the controversial comic who was set to become a cast member on Saturday Night Live only for the offer to be rescinded when an old, racist video was unearthed on Twitter. Career: imploded. In years since, however, Gillis has accomplished something even more improbable, quietly transforming himself into one of the funniest and most-respected standups working today. Kelefa Sanneh singularly charts that oddball trajectory, and it’s also profile writing at its finest: a counterintuitive, unflinching, yet gracious portrait of a male comedian (‘He is, even now, the kind of straight guy who sometimes uses “gay” as a mild pejorative,’ writes Sanneh) who, through sheer stubbornness, refuses to be bad at his craft. Like all great writing, the piece seems to operate on multiple frequencies at once; take this textbook-perfect secondary from Jerrod Carmichael, a huge Gillis fan and someone who, as far as comics go, has had a hotter year than anyone: ‘”His material still feels dangerous,” Carmichael told me. “It’s because it’s truthful, right?”’ Which is... exactly why this piece is such a thrill. It feels dangerous.”

See Chris Gayomali’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Science.

Island Time

Rafil Kroll-Zaidi
Harper’s Magazine

Benjamin Cassidy: “Mischief isn’t the most common pretext for journalism, but Rafil Kroll-Zaidi’s lark—enlisting locals of Islesboro, Maine, to descend on John Travolta’s house ‘out of season’—kindles a clever meditation on a reclusive community. Kroll-Zaidi’s piercing travel diary spares no one, author included, as it interrogates everything from class dynamics to teenage angst on an island known for second (or third, or fourth) homes.”

See Benjamin Cassidy’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Technology.

Eulogy for Racehorses

Raven Leilani

Yuxi Lin: “This piece haunts me not just because it captures so perfectly the complex love one feels toward one’s parents but also because of its craft. The poem is compact in form, yet it traverses the vast territories of anger, grief, and longing, delivering the promise of its last line, that it ‘will never be finished with me.’”

See Yuxi Lin’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Long Reads.

Half the World Has a Clitoris. Why Don’t Doctors Study It?

Rachel E. Gross
The New York Times

Hope Reese: “It was shocking to me to read about how little the medical field knows about the clitoris—the epicenter of female sexual pleasure, with at least 10,000 nerve endings (more than twice as many as the penis). It is not simply misrepresentation and misunderstanding, but, as Gross illustrates, a real avoidance of the subject. The attention paid to this sexual organ, beyond a pleasure or health issue, is a reflection of the value we put on women’s well-being.”

See Hope Reese’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Most Read.

Everything Is Silicon Valley Now

David Roth

Daniel Moore: “David Roth is among the most incisive writers working today, and in this essay he captures precisely what’s so beguiling and ridiculous but also sort of depressing about the strange moment in history that has been the back half of 2022—and he does so with his usual acrobatic style that is itself as interesting and as funny as it is spot-on. Every time I read Roth I’m filled with jealousy and admiration. This essay exemplifies why.”

See Daniel Moore’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Sports & Gaming.

It’s Time to Embrace Slow Productivity

Cal Newport
The New Yorker

Melody Wilding: “In an age where everything needs to be done better and faster, slowing down and taking control of your time can seem like a radical act. Cal Newport’s suggestion to switch from a large volume of mindless tasks to fewer tasks with greater meaning is one I have implemented this past year.”

See Melody Wilding’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Great Advice.

Stress Sells

Jessica DeFino

Rebecca Seal: “I could have chosen any one of Jessica DeFino’s newsletter articles, because every one of them teaches me something new about the insidious way the beauty industry makes us feel that whatever we look like, it’s wrong and should be improved by spending money it; she is also excellent at unpicking the way white supremacy and the beauty industry quietly and pervasively intersect.”

See Rebecca Seal’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Great Advice.

I’m Living With Incurable Cancer, Like Olivia Newton-John. This Is My Reality

Lisa Wise
The Independent

Jaime Stathis: “Lisa J. Wise comes from a cancer-cluster family and has been living with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, an incurable yet treatable lymphoma, for twelve years. She volunteers for a cancer warmline, but her greatest gift is the writing she does about living—really living—with cancer. I love this piece she wrote about how Olivia Newton-John inspired her to ‘choose hope and positivity over despair.’”

See Jaime Stathis’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Great Advice.

We, The Citizens

We, The Citizens

Nicole Chang: “So this isn’t a specific story recommendation, but I wanted to highlight a newsletter written by Kirsten Han, a journalist and activist who I think is doing really great reporting out of Singapore. Her newsletter We, The Citizens provides comprehensive and insightful coverage on rights-based issues on Singapore and the region, and I’d really recommend it to anyone interested in the country.”

See Nicole Chang’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Science.

Do Not Bring Your Whole Self to Work

The Economist

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki: “I love this story because of the strong opinions that it evokes. In my opinion, we should not, and cannot, bring our ‘whole selves’ ANYWHERE! Many of us grapple with the concepts of transparency, authenticity, and balancing the professional-vs.-personal identity quagmire.”

See Dr. Andrea Wojnicki’s winning story in Pocket’s Best of 2022: Most Read.

Pocket’s Top Articles of 2022


Explore the stories that defined the year, and the ones we’ll still be talking about in 2023. Plus, discover the best long reads, smart advice, and entertaining culture writing that Pocket readers loved this year.