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Good morning. We’re looking back on the stories that drew the most readers this year.
What were the most-read stories in The New York Times this year? You may 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’s a selection of those stories, plus some other subjects that drew big reader interest.
The election: More than half of the top 30 most-read pieces in The Times in 2020 were about the election, with the presidential results page at No. 1. A few spots behind: the ever-popular, if somewhat dreaded, election night needle at No. 4.
The pandemic: The second and third most-read articles were our coronavirus trackers, one for the U.S. and one for the world. People also wanted to know how the virus got out (No. 48) and where they were in the line to get a vaccine (No. 53). Also of note: this article about a man who stockpiled hand sanitizer hoping to sell it for a profit, which came in at No. 13.
A Reconstruction: No cameras captured the last minutes of Breonna Taylor’s life. The Times built a 3-D model of the scene, piecing together sequences of events to show how poor planning and shoddy police work led to a fatal outcome.
From Opinion: Some big tech companies are leaving California, fleeing wildfires and higher taxes. But Silicon Valley’s obituary has been written prematurely before, Prof. Margaret O’Mara of the University of Washington argues.
Lives Lived: Reginald Foster was a former plumber’s apprentice from Wisconsin who swore like a sailor. That made him an unusual presence at the Vatican, where he served as the Catholic Church’s foremost expert in Latin. He died at 81.
Jon Huber, a pro wrestler known as Luke Harper and Brodie Lee, had a soft-spoken intensity in the ring. He battled other wrestling stars, using “aggressive offense and demented mind games,” World Wrestling Entertainment said. He died at 41.
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A crash course in culture
If you are looking for recommendations this week, several Times critics and editors have ideas on culture to check out before the end of 2020.
“Earth Teach Me Quiet,” a slowly surging choral piece by Eriks Esenvalds, is a perfect showcase for the purity — but also the passion — of the Crossing, an amazing 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, along with the determination to know as much about ballet as their brains and bodies can hold. It’s a rush. — Gia Kourlas, dance critic
The show “I Hate Suzie” feels like a dysfunctional sibling to “Fleabag.” It lets its main character, a pop star played by Billie Piper, be messy and flawed in a way female characters aren’t always allowed to be. The shifts between ironic comedy and sincere drama make every episode a surprise. — Maya Phillips, arts critic
The journalist Barton Gellman’s recent book, “Dark Mirror,” is thrilling and wryly funny — ably transporting you for a moment from a cruel year that is finally coming to an end. But he also opens up crucial questions about government power and the surveillance state for anyone ready to look ahead. — Jennifer Szalai, book critic
I like to give poetry collections as gifts around this time, and this year, I’m wrapping up copies of Danez Smith’s “Homie.” Smith is one of the most interesting poets writing today, and this book — a paean to friendship, “that first & cleanest love”— is full of new forms and explosive, dismantling joy. Who couldn’t use a little of that? — Parul Sehgal, book critic