For some, the end of the year means that pile of unread magazines looming larger than ever. But as schedules lighten and plane trips loom, there's no better time to do some reading. Knowing that you'll finally have some time to relax, and as we continue The Atlantic Wire's Year in Review, we've compiled some of our favorite pieces of long-form non-fiction journalism from 2012. Because it's been a good year for long reads. From old standards to new favorites and the continued rise of Longform.org, Byliner, and the Atavist, there's been no shortage of fresh, breathtaking material. Though it's by no means a comprehensive list, what follows, in chronological order of publication date, are much lauded pieces you may have missed (and you don't want to miss Pamela Colloff's stunning, two-part tale of exoneration in Texas Monthly) and some others we think slipped under the radar. They are, simply, great stories: alternately gripping, beautiful, thrilling, or just fun. So print them out, load them onto Instapaper or Pocket or whatever, and start reading.
"The Story of a Suicide" by Ian Parker in The New Yorker
The suicide of Tyler Clementi was already widely covered by the time Parker's story was published, but Parker's detailed take became the definitive account of two college roommates and a sour relationship with dire consequences.
"Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth's Hazing Abuses" by Janet Reitman in Rolling Stone
Reitman's gross-out details about Dartmouth's fraternity scene were well-publicized, but her piece turned a keen eye on the topic of hazing. So of course it was controversial, but who would expect any less when you're writing about the Ivy League behaving badly?