23 newsletter writers on their favorite newsletters

Photo-Illustration: By the cut; PhotoGetty pictures

Newsletters these days are a vast sea, and your inbox is just a small vessel. In the midst of the current boom, savvy recommendations are a blessing. Here are 23 prominent letter slingers with weird, beautiful, funny and jealousy-inspiring choices.

audacity, by Roxane Gay, is one of my favorites, and not just because she’s my friend and my pod partner. Roxane has transformed her newsletter into a platform, more collaborative than the newsletter genre. She spotlights new writers, champions transparency, and builds community. I also recommend The catch, by Sherrell Dorsey. This is a weekly feature with a very sharp analysis on technology by a black female tech pro with a racial justice lens. It’s data-driven, accessible, and smarter than 96% of all traditional tech reports. —Tressie McMillanCottom (to try)

“I would like to recommend David Davis, a newsletter that was originally only about people named David, but has since expanded to cover bad dads, fuck your friends, feel “valid” and David Hyde Pierce, a longtime personal interest. It’s charming but not precious, thoughtful, funny, often hot and cuts a lot of molasses. —Danny Lavery (The Chatner)

“I have a long list of my favorite newsletters on the Tabs page, but if I had to pick one that people probably don’t already know about, it would be Kyle Chayka and Daisy Alioto’s Dirt. It’s vaguely about streaming and social media, but just as often about suburban aesthetics or sims Architecture Alex Marraccini’s rabbit hole has collapsed during the pandemic. I like that it’s concise and experimental in both content and business model (they recently funded it by selling NFTs), and Kyle and Daisy have their eye on freelancers under -estimated. It’s like getting a note about something interesting from a smart friend every day (rather). —Rusty Foster (Today in Tabs)

“I am not in recovery, although as someone who has lived and is living with all that you have in terms of addictions, I find [A.J. Daulerio’s] The little bow to be an extraordinarily great resource that also happens to be beautifully written. A bit like reading in advance the syllabus for a test that I will have to take later in the semester. —Luke O’Neil (Welcome to the world of hell)

“I love Monica McLaughlin’s monthly antique jewelry newsletter, Very expensive. It’s filled with close-ups of weird and beautiful antique jewelry and trinkets, with historical gossip for context. Memento mori, pig-shaped evening clutches, coral tiaras?? It makes me weak. I almost hate him!” —Edith Zimmerman (Draw links)

“Jason Stewart doesn’t just DJ (as Them Jeans) and co-hosts a podcast (Since when) — he’s also a great food writer, and his newsletter, Let me have a bite, is smart and funny, whether grappling with the implications of Travis Scott’s Happy Meal or contemplating the paradoxes of Everything Bagel ice cream. He updates it when he feels like it, which is sporadic, so subscribe and enjoy the pleasant shock when a new one comes out. —Jonas Weiner (Blackbird spy plane)

“The Sasha Frere-Jones newsletter, S/FJ, does exactly what I love to do in newsletters, which is to provide a buffet of perfect obscurities and personal passions that I otherwise would never have discovered, like “a bunch of ‘transcendent drones’ at one man”. —Rachel Sevilla Tashjian (opulent tips)

“Imagine if Ad age mostly focused on Master P’s business acumen instead of Gary Vee. This is Trapital, by Dan Runcie: A newsletter about the business side of hip-hop that bypasses all the fluffs and bs and treats the industry with the respect it should have gotten decades now. —Ernest Wilkins (Working hours)

From Alicia Kennedy’s office. I love that one. I really think she’s so smart and interesting, and I always learn something new from her. It’s about food, but much more than that. —Jami Attenberg (Talk about craftsmanship)

“In sweet leaves, Kate Ray – who now works at a vegetarian restaurant as part of a career change – writes about being a line cook and includes recipes, providing ongoing, behind-the-scenes insight into the kitchen workers who are missing in the food media. —Alicia Kennedy (From Alicia Kennedy’s office)

“I’m a big fan of Chaoyang Trap, which focuses on “everyday life on the Chinese Internet”. The fun illustrations and wide range of topics keep things entertaining, and the casual conversations make the whole project personal and human. It’s like podcasts without the worst part of podcasts: hearing people talk at length without eloquence. —Joshua Minsoo Kim (Your Glow)

“All the time I spend obsessing over my skin—hours! days! weeks! — I don’t know much about the beauty industry, and I haven’t found any accessible profession for my ( lack of) industry knowledge Newsletter from Darian Harvin, IRL Beauty, is a must-read for me: The newsletter keeps tabs on beauty-industry partnerships, laws, trends, biases, brands. There are no product recommendations or reviews; it actually covers what’s happening in the beauty world as a rigorous rhythm. —Hunter Harris (Hanged)

“Recently I enjoyed Ed Zitron’s newsletter, Where is your Ed?. He’s a Vegas-based PR guy who does mainstream tech stuff, and his posts are mostly about media or tech or the intersection of the two. His analysis is sharp and witty, and every time a media event has made me want to bang my head against a wall lately, it seems like he’s already written about it. —Elizabeth Spire (My new group is)

“One of my recently discovered favorites is The unpublishable, by Jessica DeFino; DeFino critically examines the beauty industry’s tight grip on consumers and popular culture, from shifting beauty standards to deft marketing tactics used to sell more products to people. —Terry Nguyen (gen yeet)

« Chez Stacy-Marie Ismaël The main event is a longtime favorite of mine. It is always both concise and profound. Reading it on Sunday is my way of catching my breath and heading into a new week. —Anne Friedman (The Ann Friedman Weekly)

Air Gordon pt. 2, the newsletter of former Pitchfork and Outline staff member Jeremy Gordon, and the newsletter of business law and media writer Matthew Zeitlin. Both are great for the same reason: two writers who should always write more, having a place to riff on the stuff that’s too clever and too cunning and too varied for where it’s normally published, but if you’re lucky enough to find your way, you feel like you’re in for a spectacular set of secrets every time they do it in public. —Host family (FOSTERTALK)

money stuff, by Matt Levine. Levine’s daily column about the world of finance – where everything is securities fraud (except when it comes to floor plans) and losing a billion dollars can be good for your career – sounds like a serialized novel in which a rotating set of familiar concepts and characters weave their way through new and increasingly bizarre storylines. The frequency, the wit, the real insights into the minds of people and the markets they create are reminiscent of another great writer who was once a banker: PG Wodehouse, except he never had access to a Bloomberg terminal. or that he had to explain what the deal is with GameStop. —Matthew Zeitlin (Matthew Zeitlin Newsletter)

“My wife! It’s called Chosen by choice, and it is about becoming a Jew. It’s so positive and good, and I love it. —Bari Weiss (Common sense with Bari Weiss)

“I’m allergic to everything online right now, but A list of people I’m mad at, by Scaachi Koul, (that’s exactly what it sounds like) reminds me of the Olde Timey Internet of my youth: funny, skeptical, lively and extremely grumpy. Reading Koul’s words is like slipping into a bathtub full of bath gin: soothing yet energizing. I go from growling to laughing in seconds. —Heather Havrilesky (Ask Polly and Ask Molly)

“I love Embedded, which is an internet trends and culture newsletter by Kate Lindsay and Nick Catucci. It’s smart, concise, and has those Friday Q&As with extremely online people about their browsing habits that I’m extremely jealous of. —charlie warzel (Galactic Brain)

“Is Patreon a newsletter? I would say Sophie Lewis on Patreon (Reproutopia). I like complicated ideas, but sometimes I have a hard time understanding them. I still understand Sophie. Plus, she has a great accent. —Sarah Miller (The real Sarah Miller)

“Ryan Broderick garbage day offers an eclectic and often thunderous guide to today’s trending topics, viral food videos, forum dramas and bad tweets, with just enough politics sprinkled in to give it weight. One of the few cultural publications that portrays the Internet as an international phenomenon, rather than just an American one. —Casey Newton (Platform)

The break from to be is the letter that accompanies the beloved public radio program that for two decades has provided some of the most substantial, necessary and generous public conversations of our time – a contemplative space that extinguishes something elemental within us amidst of a culture that increasingly rewards distraction and reaction.” —Maria Popova (brain pickings)

Harry L. Blanchard