Best of Life Inc.: Trump, Twinkies, taxes and more

Dec. 21, 2012 at 7:39 AM ET

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The end of Twinkies? Not so fast: Bankrupt Hostess Brands has received a number of bids interested buyers.

This year in Life Inc., we covered serious topics like tax fraud and sillier ones like workplace hugging. We watched Donald Trump get riled up and teared up when we read about one boy's love for LEGO.

Here’s a roundup, in no particular order, of 10 of the most popular stories of 2012.

Twinkie’s last stand: It’s up to a mediator

Life Inc. readers love their junk food – or their memories of junk food, anyway. The news that Hostess, maker of the iconic yellow Twinkie, was shutting down after a major labor dispute led to some of our most popular stories of the year. Some readers reminisced about their fond memories of the sweet treats, while others argued ferociously about the value of unions in America today.

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Yes, this hug is a bit awkward.

Awkward! How a workplace hug can go awry

A story about the often awkward workplace hug prompted many of you to share your hilarious, embarrassing and heart-warming stories of hugging your current, or potential, colleagues.

While the office hug can be exceedingly awkward, only about one-fourth of you said you’d never get that close to a co-worker. Sometimes, even at work, you just need a hug.

Role reversal: Employers say it’s hard to find good workers

Most people who have looked for a job in the past five years will tell you it’s tough to get an interview, let alone a job offer. Employers, on the other hand, have been saying for a long time that they’re having trouble finding workers with the skills and experience they need to do the job.

One of our most popular posts of the year looked at whether the problem lies with unqualified job candidates or employers who just aren’t realistic in their expectations.

“Firms continue to create positions out of touch with reality, say, an accountant who can juggle and has hair-styling experience,” one reader lamented.

He ‘quit money’ and is still living a happy life

An interview with Mark Sundeen, the author of a book about a man who lives in a cave in Utah without using any money, hit a definite nerve with readers. But they were divided on whether the man, Daniel Suelo, was an inspiration or a freeloader.

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Marissa Mayer speaks in New York in May.

New Yahoo CEO says she’ll work through maternity leave

Marissa Mayer’s announcement that she would spend just a few weeks on maternity leave after the birth of her first child sparked a fierce debate about whether women can really “have it all.” Some readers felt like it was a big step backwards for women who fought hard for maternity leaves, while others say that CEOs have different expectations than the working stiffs.

Loving the job, but hating the student loan debt

Vanessa and Chris Christman’s story is all-too-familiar. The couple love their jobs as librarians but are hobbled by the onerous debt they took on for the work they do. The Christmans' story, one of many we wrote about student loan debt, got the attention of readers who are struggling with balancing the risk of taking on debt with the reward of a college education.

Generation X may have taken biggest hit in economic downturn

Gen X is all grown up, and they’re worried about their retirement plans, their mortgages and their student loan debt. A story on new data showing that Gen X may have been hit hardest by the economic downturn touched a nerve with readers of all ages.

It’s not just Gen X that’s feeling the hit, apparently: About half of the readers who took our poll said they were worse off financially today than they were 2005.

Macy’s urged to dump Trump from ads or else

Macy’s decision to feature Donald Trump in a holiday ad riled hundreds of thousands of people, who signed a petition calling on the retailer to dump the controversial critic of President Barack Obama.

The celebrity seemed undaunted by his critics. When an outside firm blamed him for a drop in Macy’s popularity with women. His response: “It’s total bull@!$%#."

IRS faces surge in identity theft tax fraud

A story on a new kind of identity thief – who fakes your tax return then steals your fake refund – prompted a huge outrage from our readers. For some of them, it was because they’d experienced the frustrating form of theft firsthand.

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James Groccia, 11, saved for two years for a LEGO train, but by then the company had stopped making it. The company was so moved by his story that they sent him the set.

LEGO love story: How one little boy got the toy of his dreams

The story of a little boy who saved for two years to buy a coveted LEGO set only to find that LEGO no longer made it  would have been heart-breaking if it didn’t have a happy ending. LEGO’s response to the boy’s letter touched our readers and gave us a much-needed piece of good news to celebrate.