An abbreviated list for the last Sunday of the year, when there's not much being written besides best-of lists.
Because I have only pulled a weapon on another human being once in my life — on an Indian bus — I'm starting with Nilanjana Roy's "For Anonymous." Via Lydia Polgreen.
From Kim Barker at ProPublica, an essential story for understanding how American elections get bought and sold: "In Montana, Dark Money Helped Democrats Hold a Key Senate Seat."
A blog post from Linda Greenhouse at The New York Times, on the National Rifle Association's influence over judicial confirmations.
From Elizabeth Bachner at Bookslut, on being a blond tourist in Nepal, and being a reader who travels: "You can start to feel like you've already been someplace you've never been. You can also start to feel, dangerously, like you're a person you've never been." (N.B. for any of you who are also looking for a living equivalent of Alexandra David-Neel: Dervla Murphy. You're welcome.)
Also at Bookslut, an appreciation of Ursula LeGuin's literary legacy and a convincing argument for reading her not as a genre writer but as a profoundly influential American novelist. By Julie Phillips.
At The New Inquiry, Atossa Abrahamian on the libertarian appeal of the Paleo diet.
Via Longreads, Abigail Tucker at Smithsonian Magazine with, "Are Babies Born Good?" Possibly more interesting for the profiles of researchers in the field than for the conclusions drawn so far, but worth reading either way.
At the Smithsonian Magazine's blog, Karen Abbott presents a haunting unsolved mystery from West Virginian: "The Children Who Went Up In Smoke."
The Michael Pollan title made me laugh so hard I cried. Mallory Ortberg with "Predictions For The 2013 Bestseller List" at The Gloss.