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Hello. We take a look back at the stories that attracted the most readers this year.
What were the most read stories in the New York Times this year? You might not be surprised to learn that two topics – the election and the pandemic – dominate the list, accounting for 90 of the top 100 entries. Here is a selection of these stories, as well as other topics that have caught the interest of readers.
The election: More than half of the 30 most read articles in The Times in 2020 were about the election, with the presidential results page at No.1. A few places behind: Election night needle still popular, albeit somewhat dreaded Number 4.
The pandemic: The second and third most read articles were our coronavirus trackers, one for the United States and one for the world. People also wanted to know how the virus got out (# 48) and where they were in the queue to get vaccinated (# 53). Also worth noting: this article about a man storing hand sanitizer in hopes of selling it for profit, who came in at # 13.
Black lives matter: Another theme of this year’s Top 100 was the racial justice protest movement, sparked by the police murders of Breonna Taylor (# 26) and George Floyd (# 51).
A reconstruction: No camera has captured the last minutes of Breonna Taylor’s life. The Times built a 3D model of the scene, putting together footage of events to show how poor planning and shoddy policing led to a fatal outcome.
From the review: Some big tech companies are leaving California, fleeing wildfires and rising taxes. But the Silicon Valley obituary has already been written prematurely, says Professor Margaret O’Mara of the University of Washington.
Lives lived: Reginald Foster was a former Wisconsin plumber apprentice who swore like a sailor. This made him an unusual presence in the Vatican, where he was the Catholic Church’s foremost expert in Latin. He died at 81.
Jon Huber, a professional wrestler known as Luke Harper and Brodie Lee, had a soft-spoken intensity in the ring. He battled other wrestling stars, using “aggressive attack and insane mind games,” World Wrestling Entertainment said. He died at age 41.
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An intensive culture course
If you’re looking for recommendations this week, several Times critics and editors have ideas on the culture to check out before the end of 2020.
“Earth Teach Me Quiet”, a slowly edited choral piece by Eriks Esenvalds, is a perfect showcase for the purity – but also the passion – of Crossing, an incredible contemporary music choir. – Zachary Woolfe, classical music editor
“On Pointe”, a documentary about the School of American Ballet, is about dance, but it’s bigger than that. Through these young people, we see courage and artistry, as well as the determination to know as much about ballet as their brain and body can contain. It’s a rush. – Gia Kourlas, dance critic
The show “I Hate Suzie” sounds like a dysfunctional brother of “Fleabag”. He lets his main character, a pop star played by Billie Piper, be messy and flawed in a way that female characters aren’t always allowed to be. The shifts between ironic comedy and heartfelt drama make each episode a surprise. – Maya Phillips, art critic
Journalist Barton Gellman’s recent book, “Dark Mirror,” is gripping and ironically funny – skillfully transporting you through a moment of a cruel year that is finally drawing to a close. But it also opens up crucial questions about government power and the state of oversight for anyone willing to look ahead. – Jennifer Szalai, book reviewer
I like to give poetry books as gifts around this time, and this year I’m finishing copies of Danez Smith’s “Homie”. Smith is one of the most interesting poets writing today, and this book – a hymn to friendship, “that first and purest love” – is full of new forms and explosive, overwhelming joy. Who couldn’t use a little? – Parul Sehgal, book reviewer
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
This is not your ordinary mac and cheese. It’s rich, silky, and perfect for special occasions – or when you need comfort food.
How to paint
Artist Jeff Koons has hired as an instructor for the MasterClass video platform. Listening to Times art critic.