I write a column for this website every Friday summarizing my favorite longreads of the week. I already did a lot of magazine-reading prior to starting the column, but doing it has definitely put that habit on blast for me and thus along the way I’ve found a lot of really kickass sites publishing quality, literary writing on the regular.
I’m skipping the obvious ones, like New York Magazine, Texas Monthly and The London Review of Books, and keeping some of my favorites close to my chest so you’ll keep reading my column. But check these out, you won’t regret it.
The Dissolve is a “playground for movie-lovers” from Pitchfork Media driven by “a shared passion, curiosity, and openness to a wide range of cinematic experiences” from all time periods, both high and low-brow. Its design conjures modern sophistication with a nod towards classic film aesthetics and the content wherein meets those lofty standards head-on. I especially love The Movie of the Week, where they dive into one film at a time from all angles,
In addition to bringing the world the wonder that is Dear Sugar, The Rumpus publishes reliably impressive personal essays from really great authors like Rick Moody, Steve Almond and Roxane Gay, plus a million new writers you haven’t heard of yet but really need to know. The fact that they can’t pay their writers but still publish such consistently excellent work speaks volumes for the site’s reputation.
You’d never guess it, but this site which aspires to be “a resource for people who love vintage and antiques” is churning out some really fresh writing about really old shit on the regular. Recent topics include Geeking Out On The Bloody Legacy of VHS, a family of late 19th century sisters famous for having 37-foot long hair, lesbian blues singers of 1920s Harlem, cat-people collectibles and “Trailing Angela Davis, from FBI Flyers to Radical Chic Art.”
Describing itself as “Local Stories, Beautifully Told,” each week narrative.ly debuts a new theme “issue,” featuring 4-5 feature length essays tackling the theme from a unique angle, accompanied by huge color photographs. A significant percentage of the content is written by New Yorkers about New Yorkers, but absolutely manages to dig into “the people in your neighborhood” form all angles in a way rarely done outside of print anthologies.
Much of Zócalo’s material is just a tad too short to be a longread, so I end up not sharing most of the cool pieces I read on Zocalo Public Square, a Los Angeles and Phoenix based joint project of the Center for Social Cohension at Arizona State University and the New America Foundation. Dedicated to humanities exchange, the site aims “to be a welcoming intellectual space where individuals and communities can tackle fundamental questions in an accessible, nonpartisan, and broad-minded spirit.”
Guernica‘s stated mission is to publish works that explore “the crossroads between art and politics.” Guernica was founded in 2004 and is a non-profit with a special focus on the personal elements of international affairs. I’ve never read anything on Guernica that wasn’t amazing, and its writers include Zadie Smith, Kiese Laymon, Jesmyn Ward and Hilton Als.
Founded in London in September 2012, Aeon is devoted to thematical long-form essays, usually about one every week day, on “nature, culture, ideas and experience.” Aeon aims to “ask the biggest questions and finds the freshest, most original answers, provided by world-leading authorities on science, philosophy and society.”
Inspired by the byline gender gap, Vela Magazine was founded in 2011 by a group of women writers to publish more work by women writers. The focus is travel writing, but they note that “our stories often emphasize place and involve inner or outer journeys, but our definition of travel is broad, encompassing a range of stories from backpacking across remote Peru to struggling with addiction on a back stoop in San Francisco.”
I’ve been reading this site, which describes itself as “an online magazine of essays, art, humor, and culture published weekdays since 1999,” forever — both for its essays and its perfect curation of the days “most interesting news items, articles, and oddities around the web.”
Grist covers “climate, energy, food, cities, politics, business, green living, and the occasional adorable baby animal” with an aim to inspire its readers to do something about the many problems currently faced by our weird planet.
The language can be dense, but it’s also so brilliant and new and intereseting. It defines itself as “a space for discussion that aspires to enrich cultural and public life by putting all available resources—both digital and material—toward the promotion and exploration of ideas.”