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Zhu Jinshi

This year
I wrote about trying to get over my white feelings, being the "no" woman at work, the one foolproof trick to retaining female employees, and the ridiculous way business publications cover millennials. I noticed some similarities between Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton. I got over the term "strong women." I vowed to read more queens of nonfiction who don't show up in most reading lists. I suggested that we create a registry of angry white men. I interviewed a robot inventor, a congresswoman fighting online abuse, Huma Abedin, Erin Brockovich, a jetpack inventor, Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman, blind architect Chris Downey, fat activist Virgie Tovar, and Courtney Love. I considered Obama's feminist legacy and tried to figure out what comes next after the election.

I also sent 52 of these newsletters, recorded 50 podcasts (with the help of my CYG collaborators, of course), traveled to 9 places I'd never been before, managed to seriously injure my neck while watching Netflix (??!), reported for jury duty, took a few piano lessons, and climbed Half Dome. Plus a few personal-life milestones whose true significance, I'm sure, will only become clear in hindsight. 

Thanks for opening this newsletter and sticking with me through the year—which, for the record, I don't think was the worst ever. But there's definitely a lot of room for improvement. See you in 2017, friends. 

Superlatives 2016
A highly subjective, non-comprehensive list of good stuff I'd like to highlight and remember from this year.

Feature-length reporting I'm still thinking about: Nikole Hannah-Jones on segregated education, Ellen Barry on young Indian women chasing big-city dreams, Wil Hylton on Chuck Close, Rachel Monroe on rural Tinder, Shane Bauer on private prisons, Kyle Chayka on the airspace aesthetic.
Essays I'm still thinking about: My President Was Black by Ta-Nehisi Coates, A Time for Refusal by Teju Cole, How It Feels by Jenny Zhang, Making House by Rachel Cusk, Against Activism by Astra Taylor, What Bill Cosby Taught Me About Sexual Violence and Flying by Kiese Laymon, R.I.P. "Empowerment" by Jill Filipovic, The Weight of James Arthur Baldwin by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, The Choice We Face by Masha Gessen, and a letter to Brock Turner from the woman he assaulted.
Essential election coverage: Rebecca Traister (with a bonus shoutout for All the Single Ladies!)
Other writers I turned to this year to help me make sense of the world: Jamelle Bouie, Collier Meyerson, Jia Tolentino, Nitasha Tiku, Roxane Gay, Jorge Rivas, Dahlia LithwickJenna Wortham
Column I linked to most consistently: First Words in the NYT Magazine
Column I saved up to read on bad days: Heather Havrilesky's Ask Polly (Also available in convenient book form!)
Personal newsletters I always opened: Carrie Frye, Stacy-Marie IshmaelZan Romanoff, Helena Fitzgerald, Dodai Stewart
Best new newsletter for LA locals: Annie Loves LA
Best newsletter-turned-book: Prostitute Laundry by Charlotte Shane
Reissued book I can't believe I hadn't read before: Eve Babitz's Slow Days, Fast Company
Most stoner-friendly book of cartoons: Lisa Hanawalt's Hot Dog Taste Test
Most-recommended novel: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I can't stop telling people to read it. I have a whole ramble about why this book is so incredible in terms of structure and narrative, but it's also politically and historically important. And a really good read.
* Here's a link to a slightly longer list of selected books I read and enjoyed in 2016.

Best choral/modern dance performance I sobbed at: Song of Eurydice
Best art shows I saw by not-super-famous artists: Caitlin Keogh's Loose Ankles, Sarah Cain's Dark Matter, Ry Rocklen's L.A. Relics
Art show by a super famous artist that made me want to create things myself: Cindy Sherman retrospective at the Broad
Best retro stoner experience: "Dark Side of the Moon" at the LaseriumRunner up: ELO at the Hollywood Bowl.
Album that was so much more than an album: Beyoncé's Lemonade
Live show that was actually a religious experience: Beyoncé's Formation tour
Best moment my teen self would have diiiied for: Courtney Love complimenting my shirt. Runner up: Seeing Bill Callahan sing "Dress Sexy at My Funeral" in a cemetery.
Most jaw-dropping commemorative Prince puppet: May Day Parade in Minneapolis. Have you been to this day of springtime revelry? Have you heard an entire community singing "You Are My Sunshine" together? Have you seen a 15-foot Prince puppet? Do yourself a favor. Go.
Best pop-culture breakdown: Aminatou explaining the Kanye/Amber/Wiz Khalifa/Blac Chyna/Kardashian drama.
Most accurate representation of my dance-floor skills: Elmo dancing to "Work"

Best non-gimmicky get-your-money-right guide: The Index Card by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
Best feminist personal-finance idea: A fuck-off fund.
Number-one way I upped my travel game: Packing cubes.
Best overpriced ath-loungewear for leggy people: Outdoor Voices men's runningman style. 
Best new "me-time" product: Glossier's moisturizing moon mask.
App that actually got me to meditate: Meditation Studio. I know people love Headspace, but I hate things that are all "gameified" and about leveling up. I just want to pick a meditation that feels good for that particular day, and pick a different meditation the next. So I love this app.
Best digital lifestyle decision: Removing the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. After awhile I even stopped cheating by looking at them in the browser. Still addicted to Instagram, though.
Top personal snack trend: Making hummus at home. Runner up: Putting furikake on popcorn.

Pie chart
Become a paid subscriber, support my work, and get a bonus pie chart here each week. Not a bad proposition for 2017.

A quote to consider
"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice." -T.S. Eliot

GIF of the Year
Lift Each Other Up by Libby VanDerPloeg

I think we're gonna need this one in 2017, too.

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This newsletter doesn't make resolutions, it makes slow progress.
Forward it if you're improving slowly but surely.

Ann Friedman

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