Daily Distraction: Find something new to read with Longform's Best of 2021

The website collected some of the best features of the year in one handy location

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
An Uber Eats courier makes a delivery by bike.

If you're looking for something to do as we near the end of this holiday season (at least some of you must be utilizing those precious last vacation days), I'd recommend spending time with a few of the year's best features, a number of which have been collected here by Longreads.

Among the pieces featured are the harrowing "What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind," written by Jennifer Senior for The Atlantic, and "Revolt of the Delivery Workers" by Josh Dzieza for New York/The Verge.

Of the latter, Peter Rubin writes:

When the pandemic first hit, New York more than anywhere depended on its essential workers: the health care professionals who stood in the path of an epidemiological tsunami, but also the massive community of delivery cyclists who crisscrossed the boroughs to feed the folks privileged enough to shelter in place. The end of lockdown, however, meant a new era of troubles for Postmates and Seamless contractors. Bike thieves snatched away riders’ earning power; apps demanded ever-higher productivity for ever-lower reward; the very people tasked to protect the workers didn’t seem to care. ... Something had to break. Something did. Dzieza’s remarkable feature rides along with the riders as they fight for protection and autonomy — lobbying legislators, pestering the NYPD, even running vigilante repo missions for stolen bikes. This isn’t a portrait of sleek, unified collective action; it’s a look at how a workers’ struggle can succeed even when it’s as shaggy and frayed as a winter-ravaged fleece jacket.

Read more here.