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We asked Phil Christman, who teaches English at the University of Michigan and attends St. Clare's Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, Mich., to offer the top five essays he enjoyed most in 2017. Here’s his list:

  1. "I Was Told There Would Be More" by B.D. McClay. A much-needed smackdown of a terrible book, but more importantly, a glimpse at what a Christian (or merely truthful) account of adulthood might actually mean.
  2. "Surface Tension: The Portraiture of Barkley L. Hendricks" by Ezekiel Kweku. A masterpiece of sensitive art criticism by a brilliant writer who was one of 2017's many victims of News Website Does a "Pivot To Video" That Nobody Asked For Syndrome.
  3. "A Woman Reads Greek in the Woods of Maine" by Mary Townsend. A fascinating book review that meditates on one of my favorite ideas: that intellectual and cultural life are too important to be left to the professionals.
  4. "Woman Problems" by Claire Jarvis. This is one of the most honest things I've ever read about new motherhood, from a writer who describes every sensation with terrible exactness and analytical rigor.
  5. "No Time For Despair" by Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor. What can I say? This essay helped me keep going.

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