A few years ago, Instapaper introduced the concept of personal profiles of everything that you liked via the read-it-later service. Which is great, seeing as it’s a public list of reads that I, well, “liked”, but less good is that there’s no context around why I like a particular piece.
Last year, I started a thing where I posted a dozen or so of my favourites out of all the stuff I liked in Instapaper from last year. At the time, I thought it was a good idea to tell you about Instapaper’s profiles — a feature you basically never hear about elsewhere — but this time around, I think it’s a good idea to occasionally share links to thoughtful, insightful pieces that you might not necessarily get from other places. So without too much more preamble, I present to you: The Liked List for 2018. In somewhat reverse chronological order of when I liked it, and excluding extremely popular stuff you’ve probably seen elsewhere, or stuff that I don’t think is noteworthy enough to write about…
Away Childish Things
In late 2018, one of my sources for some of the internet’s more popular content linked to a Harry Potter fanfic. I started reading, and before you know it, I was caught up in a (mostly) post-canon story that seemed believable enough, which is exactly the kind of fanfic I’m into. Not only that, but the story itself was so engrossing that by the time it finished up, I was satisfied, but disappointed, and went looking for more…
Time Turned Back
Which led me to Time Turned Back, the other Harry Potter fanfic I found after a bunch of filtering and sorting of Archive of our Own works. I’m not sure I can stomach some of the more explicit fanfics, or stories from alternate universes that don’t line up with the canon, but this one about time travel is believable enough, and is a pretty good story to boot. If it wasn’t for its slight deviations from the canon at the end, it would slot nicely somewhere in-between the fifth and sixth books.
Sometimes I read things that inspire me to be a better writer, and this one on the etiquette of the work bathroom is one of those pieces. It’s very well written, even if I’m slightly too daft to understand the implication at the end.
I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.
When I first read this piece about Stanich’s, a Portland burger joint, Thrillist didn’t have a disclaimer at the start of the article detailing the extraneous circumstances that might have gone partway to explaining exactly what happened when a relatively unknown burger shop was catapulted into the spotlight as the best burger place in America, out of 330 burgers spanning 30 cities. Disclaimer aside, it’s a sobering reminder of how fame can change, of how it can change you, how it can change me, and not necessarily for the better.
Want Healthy Relationships? Ditch Loyalty
Every other day, Medium sends me emails about the best reads on the platform. Sometimes, I click on ones that interest me, and for whatever reason, a lot of them have been about relationships. This one in particular stood out for presenting a challenging perspective, where loyalty demands everything and offers little in return.
Secret Life of an Autistic Stripper
A fascinating read from a time and place I’ve never really considered before.
On going on and on and on
Everyone says life’s too short (yours truly included), but few people realise that there’s a problem with immortality, too. Perhaps a a finite life isn’t the problem, but ageing itself.
Rick and Morty and the Rise of the I’m a Piece of Shit Defense
I really like Rick and Morty as a TV show form of entertainment, and try not to think too hard about the underlying themes. That said, there’s some really interesting commentary surrounding the character of Rick, particularly how it enables some adults to act like jerks and blame it own their own failings or misfortunate. See also: the adorkable misogyny of The Big Bang Theory.
The two mental shifts highly successful people make
It’s no secret that I struggle with decisions, as I’ve written about before. But acknowledging that choices need to be made for certain outcomes is the first step towards gearing your own mindset for success. Step two is realising that you can’t do it alone, and you need to make the right kinds of connections with other people, while staying focused on your goal of becoming a better… whatever you aspire to become.
Regarding the Em Dash
Nothing like a little bit of grammar nerdery every now and again.
This one’s from 2014, but it still stands the test of time. Anyone can agree that stress and insanity are both bad things, and programming has both of them in spades. Programmers are a special kind of crazy.
The Age of Abundance
The internet has made choice all the more harder when things like streaming video and music services exist. When you can watch and listen to practically anything ever created, more than anyone could ever watch or listen to in a lifetime, how do you decide what’s worth watching or listening to? See also: the five years that changed dating. When potential partners are just a swipe away, when there are plenty more and readily-accessible fish in the sea, how do you decide who’s worth spending time on?
Minecraft will forever hold a special place in my gaming heart, and this story of how one entrepreneur took over the entire economy of a Minecraft server via some good, old-fashioned social engineering incredible. Easily my favourite read of the year.