Image for post
Image for post
Clockwise from top left: Hervé Guibert, seasonal Associate by Heike Gessler, Frank B. Wilderson III, Drifts by Kate Zambreno, Yūko Tsushima, Luster by Raven Leilani

My list is in Z-to-A order because I’m a Z-supremacist

I felt weird about the idea of ranking the books I read this year. Some of them are old. Some are new. Some I chose to read. Others I had to for classes. Some I read for the first time. Some I was re-reading or ended up reading twice this year. There are only a couple books here that I don’t recommend, so I didn’t want to be mean. (I guess I’m somewhat easy to please?)

This list does not include the many books I only read one or two chapters, stories, essays, or poems from. It doesn’t include the…


Image for post
Image for post

We went to Vegas to find out how the world’s most successful boy band became a group of men

Five glowing boxes slowly descend from the rafters to the sound of screams. Inside each is a present designed in the 1990s to please women around the world. The contents have aged more than 20 years since their shiny debut, but thousands of fans have gathered to see the Backstreet Boys at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas this spring — reliving their Y2K youth, or perhaps reimagining it.

“I was supposed to go to their show, and Hurricane Georges ruined it all,” a Florida native tells me in line at the merch counter. That was in 1998 when she…


Image for post
Image for post

Clone-a-Willy turned dick molds into a fad. But post-breakup etiquette — to toss? Or to save? — is still very much TBD.

Joe Hanson, CEO of EmpireLabs — maker of the Clone-a-Willy, a $49.95 kit that turns your dick into a colorful, vibrating silicone sex toy — hadn’t fully considered the question of what his customers should do with their penis replica post-break up until he was confronted with the situation firsthand.

While making small talk on an internet date in Portland last year, his new lady friend “totally freaked out” when he told her about his profession — not because she was weirded out to find herself at dinner with a successful sex toy entrepreneur, but because she thought of herself…


Image for post
Image for post
Image via YouTube

His looks in ‘La La Land’ are a reminder that dressy clothes can be better at showing off your body than no clothes at all

The last time Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were matched up in a rom-com relationship was Crazy Stupid Love, when Stone memorably asked him, “Please, will you take off your shirt?” The moment he did was Gosling’s ascendence into Body Goals Hall of Fame—his six-pack taut and hairless, floating inside a perfectly appointed modernist home.

This was 2011 and Gosling was in his douchiest role, playing a guy who lived his life according to fitness guides from men’s magazines. But the douchiness passed because the body was that good. …


Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Sibel Ergener

Grateful for pot this Thanksgiving? We asked a weed-loving chef how to artfully infuse Thanksgiving favorites with cannabis

As Americans head home this week to awkwardly catch up with their extended families over traditional autumnal dishes, it can be tempting to just get stoned out of your mind to disengage from the drama, the inevitable arguments about politics and the boredom.

But why not include your family in the fun—by turning traditional favorites like sweet potato pie into some kind of sweet potato high? Perhaps the blissful effects of edibles will smooth out your dinner guests’ rough edges, inspire random acts of love and kindness and move conversation in trippy new directions.

To find out the best…


Image for post
Image for post

Will flooding my veins with pee-colored vitamin solution relieve my stress?

“Do you feel anything yet?” asks the nurse practitioner at a “med spa” somewhere in Southern California after popping into the clinic’s “vitamin room” to check on my IV.

I’ve been sitting in the leather reclining chair for maybe 30 minutes now, with my left arm extended as straight as possible to facilitate the mineral-rich solution entering my veins. Some patients can “taste” the vitamins as the saline medium enters the blood, she tells me. Others describe a feeling of semi-euphoria as they sit there watching the med spa’s flat-screen TV.

I personally feel nothing so far, but maybe that’s…


Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Carly Jean Andrews

Decoding the ditzy appeal of the 63-year-old New Mexican

As the election morphs from being this thing that people have spent way too much time talking about into this thing looming less than six weeks away, Hillary Clinton’s apparatus for turning out the vote is kicking into high gear, and her campaign is beginning to fret even more over a question that’s dogged them all this campaign season and longer: What’s up with the youth?

A recent Bloomberg Politics poll confirms that Clinton leads Trump by 10 percent among millennial voters (those aged 18 to 35). But when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are…


Image for post
Image for post

A place to be men together versus a space to be a man, alone.

When Kristen Barber’s father, a stunt pilot born in 1925, needed to look good, he’d turn to products marketed at his wife to get the job done, including hair dye and moisturizer. But by 2003, when Barber’s youngest brother was a tween, the landscape of products available to men had evolved so much that her brother could fill a medicine cabinet with his different colognes — and feel no shame about what that said.

How American men’s relationship with beauty products changed so much over the 20th century became a fascination for Barber, who ended up researching the men’s grooming…


Image for post
Image for post

A real thing real people are worried about

Apparently the highly competitive game of parenting has turned into a literal dick-measuring contest. The New York Times’s health blog, “Well,” published an article about the newest fear to rattle helicopter (or should we say heli-cock-ter?) parents: that their sons’ penises aren’t big enough:

Questions about penis size have become more common over the past decade, as my colleagues and I have all seen more overweight children coming in for physical exams. And these worries reflect cultural preoccupations and anxieties, which can make the conversation highly fraught for all concerned.

“I see dissatisfaction with the phallus very regularly,” pediatric urologist…


Image for post
Image for post
Photography by Jared Ryder

The Hello Kitty rapper stopped by MEL’s photo studio

He’s as buff as Arnold (almost), as agro as Riff Raff, as hairless as a pre-pubescent Hello Kitty fan (and coated in even more Hello Kitty temporary tattoos)… Introducing Candy Ken, the Berlin-based Austrian rapper, internet sensation and fashion inspiration to Diesel’s artistic director Nichola Formichetti (and a growing number of acolytes).

Zak Stone

writer in NYC

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store