The finalists for the 2013 National Magazine Awards were announced Monday, which means we all have some catching up to do. While there were some familiar pieces honored—Frank Rich's New York columns, The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates's "Fear of a Black President," Sarah Stillman's remarkable "The Throwaways" from The New Yorker—there were also some great pieces of long-form journalism you might not have discovered, or completed, or renewed your subscription in time to have enjoyed when these nominees first hit newsstands last year. Herein, some standouts from the writing-specific categories that may not have stood out the first time, for your couch and/or train ride home tonight:
"Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives" in Texas Monthly by Mimi Swartz
Texas Monthly garnered four nominations, one of which was for this piece on Texas women and the laws that seek to govern them.
"Lawbreakers, Lawmakers" in Chicago by David Bernstein and Noah Isackson
An investigation into the cozy relationship between Chicago politicians and gang leaders.
"The Valley of Death" in The Texas Observer by Melissa del Bosque
A look inside the Juarez Valley, which is "said to have the highest murder rate in the country, if not the world."
Feature Writing Incorporating Profile
"I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave" in Mother Jones by Mac McClelland
The reporter's first person narrative of working for for Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc.
Essays and Criticism
"State of the Species" in Orion by Charles C. Mann
An examination of the "success" of Homo sapiens.
There's a lot more from where that came from—though reading some stories might be inhibited by paywalls, etc.—over at the American Society of Magazine Editors. Also note that this year's nominations were remarkable for their gender parity, as Mother Jones points out.