The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for January 14, 2012

The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week. By David Sessions.

State of the UnionDavid Remnick, The New YorkerJodi Kantor’s new book about the Obama marriage, and why the president and first lady have it so much better than most of their predecessors.

Steve Ballmer RebootsAshlee Vance, BusinessweekCooler tech, more energy, higher profit—the Microsoft CEO is out to prove Steve Jobs wrong and make Redmond relevant again

Why Write Novels at All?Garth Risk Hallberg, New York Times MagazineWriters of the Franzen Generation have decided that the purpose of fiction is to make us feel less alone. Will that be enough to save the novel?

I’ll Be Your MirrorMadiha R. Tahir, The CaravanHow a former cricket star Imran Khan became Pakistan’s most loved politician.

The Autumn of Joan DidionCaitlin Flanagan, The AtlanticHer work is a triumph—and a disaster.

Letter from New OrleansWright Thompson, GrantlandThe National Championship Game, Louisiana politics, and Edwin Edwards's last campaign.