With 5 second snapchats, a rolling feed of Instagrams to scroll through, and 140-character tweets, our attention spans are decreasing at a rapid pace as bite-sized pieces of content become the norm. At times, jumping from articles to social media posts to Gchats for hours every day can be exhausting – even if we haven’t moved from our seats since we got to work. To bring some old-school literary consumption back into our lives, we’ve rounded up our favorite longform reads from the past year that have the power to educate and transport you to another realm.

murderslake

The Murders at the Lake (Texas Monthly)

A massive, massive longread, investigating a 1982 triple homicide in Waco, Texas that became one of the most confounding criminal cases in the history of the state, and one that still haunts those who tried to solve it.

x1As1GK

The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit (GQ)

“For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest.”

cancer140505_560

The Day I Started Lying to Ruth (New York Magazine)

A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer. While worthwhile and heart-wrenching, this is one of the hardest things to finish that I’ve ever read.

qcSQ0Q3

Before the Law (The New Yorker)

A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life.

QKHi9OU

Shame and Survival (Vanity Fair)

Written by Monica Lewinsky, she critiques the culture of humiliation that led to her being “put through the wringer.”

eZw6IVq

My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday’s Endless Appetizers (Gawker)

Literally what the title says.

t8uDj8I

The Poorest Rich Kids in the World (Rolling Stone)

“Why did the heirs to one of the largest fortunes in America grow up horribly neglected and abused?”

pU6EGZH

Smile, You’re Speaking Emoji (New York Magazine)

The rapid evolution of a wordless tongue.

5kQszqh

The Trip Treatment (The New Yorker)

Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.

Tqr6rCy

The New Face of Richard Norris (GQ)

Take a peek inside the world of face transplants – “What’s it like to live with a face that wasn’t yours—and that may never quite be?”