*and magazine-style stories! These are the pieces I re-read all the time. I love them deeply, think about them a lot, and reference them so often when I'm stuck while editing or writing. Also they're just great, great reads. I'm sure I forgot dozens. (Add yours!)
  1. Secrets of the Magus (Mark Singer, The New Yorker, 1993)
    http://nyr.kr/1JpdKe1 This is my single favorite piece of magazine writing of all time. It's an exhaustive, beautifully written, tremendously intimate profile of a fascinating person — sleight-of-hand magician and scholar Ricky Jay — at an essential, tragic moment in his life.
  2. The Man Behind Abercrombie & Fitch (Benoit Denizet-Louis, Salon, 2006)
    http://bit.ly/1LzdfyJ The (now-former) CEO of A&F is such a weirdo, such a deep, deep weirdo. It's especially fun to read this thinking about how J. Crew now fills this space. (Jenna Lyons is way less creepy.)
  3. After the Gold Rush (Marie Brenner, Vanity Fair, 1990)
    http://vnty.fr/1Um3ZQG This has been in the news lately! It's a weird, hilarious, scathing, intensely well-sourced account of the last days of Donald and Ivana Trump's marriage, and their approach to their (then-new) lives apart.
  4. The Itch (Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, 2008)
    http://nyr.kr/1i5K8cF An exploration of the medical mysteries surrounding itching, but also a story with moments of shudder-inducing straightforward descriptions of what happens to a person when her itch just won't go away. I've never felt so physically disturbed by a story. It's amazing.
  5. You Blow My Mind, Hey Mickey! (John Jeremiah Sullivan, NYTimes Mag, 2011)
    http://nyti.ms/1NPYwSB John Jeremiah Sullivan, the king of the hashtag-longform-essay renaissance, on the deeper resonance of visiting Disney World as a parent. A very stoned parent. Shades of DFW.
  6. Difficult Women (Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, 2013)
    http://nyr.kr/1NQi0Gv Okay so maybe I was on the panel for an award @emilynussbaum won in 2014 and maybe we were all just immediately like, "Look, yes, this revisiting of the legacy of Sex and the City is the most wonderful and most insightful and most brilliant piece of criticism this year, possibly ever," and then we maybe just spent the rest of our meeting debating the runners-up
  7. James Is a Girl (Jennifer Egan, NYTimes Mag, 1996)
    http://nyti.ms/1Umu8z5 Jennifer Egan profiles teen model James King (now famous actress/TSwift friend Jamie King!) who was navigating the hyper-adult world of high fashion with minimal (& questionable) supervision. Later it came out that she was in the middle of a full-blown heroin addiction during the period this article covers, which isn't addressed directly but is painful and brutal when you realize what you're reading.
  8. Deep Intellect (Sy Montgomery, Orion, 2011)
    http://bit.ly/1NQjkJG An incredibly moving account of the intelligence and mystery of the octopus. A great example of an article where the writer's presence doesn't just add interest to the reporting, but also gravity and depth.
  9. The Old Man at Burning Man (Wells Tower, GQ, 2013)
    http://bit.ly/1hN20sV Wells Tower, one of the most acutely analytical essayists, takes his father to Burning Man. I cried reading this, which was weird, and beautiful.
  10. Not So Fast (Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 2010)
    http://nyr.kr/1hN2mjo It's a book review, but like most New Yorker book reviews the book isn't the point. It's about the history of management consulting but it's SO FASCINATING and Jill Lepore is the master of calm-yet-thrilled authority.
  11. Federer as Religious Experience (David Foster Wallace, NYTimes Play, 2007)
    http://nyti.ms/1hN2NKB most of the DFW love goes to Consider the Lobster and Shipping Out, but I think this is most vivid, most illuminating, and possibly (though helll, I didn't know the guy) most personally present piece. And I don't even care much about tennis.
  12. Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? (Edward Jay Epstein, The Atlantic, 1982)
    http://theatln.tc/1LDYhrf Riveting, gasp-inducing, how is it possible the diamond industry even continued to exist after this story was published?
  13. Can You Say ... Hero? (Tom Junod, Esquire, 1998)
    http://bit.ly/1JquWxu it's a profile of Mr. Rogers by the amazing Tom Junod, what else do you need to know?
  14. Welcome to Sealand, Now Bugger Off (Simson Garfinkel, Wired, 2000)
    http://wrd.cm/1Eruxyb Any story about Sealand, the weird, questionably legal independent territory on an abandoned oil platform off the coast of Britain, is catnip for me. This one is the best of them.
  15. Either/Or: Sports, Sex, and the Case of Caster Semenya (Ariel Levy, The New Yorker, 2009)
    http://nyr.kr/1LDZnU5 This is just heartbreaking. A survey of the full spectrum of human integrity.
  16. The Case for Reparations (The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coats)
    This article is a must read and unbelievably well researched. It's both analytical and deeply personal. Read it. http://theatln.tc/1UgDT73
    Suggested by @donnie
  17. My Gucci Addiction (GQ, Buzz Bissinger, 2013)
    This article will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about gender and age in fashion, addiction, and the kind of guy who'd write Friday Night Lights. http://www.gq.com/story/buzz-bissinger-shopaholic-gucci-addiction
    Suggested by @candice