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The New Yorker's 2020 in Review

Our collection of the year's best movies, books, music, and more.

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The New Yorker's 2020 in Review

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    The Top Twenty-five New Yorker Stories of 2020

    The Top Twenty-five New Yorker Stories of 2020

    On the evening of Tuesday, March 10th, as the threat of the novel coronavirus became increasingly plain in New York City, the staff of The New Yorker went home and never returned to our offices in One World Trade Center. The final editing, fact-checking, and other work on the following week’s …

    The Best Books We Read in 2020

    The Best Books We Read in 2020

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    The New Yorker

    The fiction and nonfiction, old and new, that kept us going. “Cleanness,” by Garth Greenwell The casual grandeur of Garth Greenwell’s prose, unfurling in page-long paragraphs and elegantly garrulous sentences, tempts the vulnerable reader into danger zones: traumatic memories, extreme sexual …

    The Best Movies of 2020

    The Best Movies of 2020

    Since March, the year in cinema has been defined by a near-total absence of significant theatrical releases—first, because theatres across the country were shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic and, subsequently, because even after they reopened people largely stayed away. The new 007 …

    The Best TV Shows of 2020

    The Best TV Shows of 2020

    In early spring, there were plenty of prognostications about the role that art would serve during the period in which we would all be stuck at home. The nature of television—produced months in advance, enjoyed from the safety of one’s couch, and, thanks to streaming services, infinitely …

    The Best Podcasts of 2020

    The Best Podcasts of 2020

    2020 in Review New Yorker writers reflect on the year’s highs and lows. The podcasts that stood out to me most this year, not surprisingly, were those that transported me—especially when they made me laugh. I also appreciated shows that gave me useful information in a form I could stand. In March, …

    My Thirty Favorite Albums of 2020

    My Thirty Favorite Albums of 2020

    The artists who helped me navigate a lost plague year. A lot of music released this year never had the opportunity to breathe—to fill a packed space, to trickle through a nearly empty one, to add texture to the symphony of everyday life. Songs that might have fuelled a festival crowd or spilled out …

    The Best Cookbooks of 2020

    The Best Cookbooks of 2020

    Despite everything, it’s been a hell of a year for cookbooks. Here are ten of the best. The African elephant holds the earthly record for the longest gestation period, a whopping six hundred and forty-five days of pregnancy, or just a few months shy of two years. This happens also to be the …

    Instagram’s Favorite New Yorker Cartoons of 2020

    Ah, what a joy to be at the end of the year, and to reflect on 2020! It’s true that it’s been a pretty uneventful twelve months, but, as they say, sometimes no news is good news. I for one am very glad to be without a care, and to have exactly zero very bad things gnawing at my mind and soul. When …

    Notable Performances and Recordings of 2020

    Notable Performances and Recordings of 2020

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    The New Yorker - Alex Ross

    At the close of a catastrophic year in the performing arts, the annual ritual of cobbling together a list of highlights takes on a woeful cast. To begin with, I saw only three in-person events after mid-March. Although I watched dozens of performances online, sitting at my desk day after day lent …

    The Best Jokes of 2020

    The Best Jokes of 2020

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    The New Yorker - Ian Crouch

    The past year breaks down into a few eras—none of them, let’s be honest, especially funny. There was the period before the coronavirus pandemic, marked roughly for me from the start of the year to the moment, in March, when, sitting in a coffee shop and reading terrifying things online, I took a …

    Ten Great Performances of 2020

    Ten Great Performances of 2020

    Performance was an old concept made new in 2020. Stuck in our homes, month after punishing month, so many of us lived vicariously through the people on our screens. Television, already a dominant cultural force, became a lifeline, a way to travel to far-flung places or to rub up against bodies in a …

    My Year of Making Lists

    My Year of Making Lists

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    The New Yorker - Hua Hsu

    This February, I began obsessively making lists. Songs with cellos. Every book I read or every documentary I watched this year. Different things that you can eat with ginger-scallion sauce. Stories involving balloons. I don’t usually make lists, although I will generally risk malware or worse to …

    The Best Music of 2020

    The Best Music of 2020

    It seems safe to assume that 2020 is a year that not many of us are eager to linger over. At the start of the pandemic, there were vague hopes of an artistic flourishing—that hoary and ultimately specious “Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear’ in quarantine!” trope—but for me, at least, it was difficult to …

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