the best I could find

This entry was posted by on Friday, 31 December, 2010 at

I suffer from a psychological compulsion which means that I can’t let the end of the year go by without compiling lists of my favourite things from the twelve months just past. I know some of you can empathise. Hopefully putting up my lists may provide a spur to get back in the saddle with some more regular blogging in 2011. And also a spur to sort out my life and watch some more movies next year. Unlike certain other people, I’ve seen nearly nothing this year and had to scrape the barrel to find some offerings.

So without any comment, and in no particular order, here are my top 3 favourites from the culural artifacts that were new to me this year:

First, the music:

The National – High Violet

Over the Rhine – The Long Surrender

Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

And the novels:

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

And the non-fiction books:

Surprised by Hope by Tom Wright*

A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Planet Narnia by Michael Ward

(* definitely helped by the fact that I got to read and discuss it week by week with one of our favourite people)

And finally, the best I could find from the movies I managed to see:

A Serious Man

Up In The Air

Toy Story 3

(seriously, that’s all I can come up with)

I’m happy to defend my choices against your scorn, but more than that I’d love to hear your nominations (which will then form the core of my choices for next year).

Finally, if you’d like to catch up a little on the everyday craziness of life in our little family, I recommend a meander through my amazing wife’s advent blog.

Peace on all (three) of you in 2011.

9 Responses to “the best I could find”

  1. Kicked by an elephant.

    Sigh no more definitely my favourite album of the year. Inception was my favourite movie. As usual didn’t read many books! Code Red by Andrew Drain & voyage of the Dawntreader up there for me.

  2. I read Surprised by Hope as well and it would be up there in my best books of the year.
    I just finished ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ by Felicity Lawrence and its up there.
    It was good but it makes you realise how much food has to do with social injustice and how the idea of fair trade has to be a much bigger thing than just buying coffee or chocolate – it needs us to make sacrifices and stuff.

  3. high violet. yep
    no arcade fire?

    a serious man, yep
    no inception?

    top book tip: Sum, 40 tales from the afterlife. you’ll read it in an afternoon and think about it for.. well, ages n stuff!!

  4. jaybercrow

    Must get round to seeing Inception sometime soon…

    Canalways – Hadn’t heard of that book but will check it out. Have you read any of Michael Pollan’s stuff on food? I think you would enjoy him. “In Defence of Food” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” are the two I’ve read so far. Very disturbing and inspiring.

  5. jaybercrow

    QM – I haven’t got on board the Arcade Fire train yet. I have the first two albums but they need to be revisited.

    The book sounds a bit mental and a bit interesting (a bit like yourself??)

  6. Hi there

    You don’t know me, but you do know my wife Emma. I enjoy reading your blog so figured this was as good as a time as any to post something. The major event of this year was the birth of our first daughter, so my memory for books, films, etc isn’t great. Here’s a few that I can remember…

    Music – Mumford & Sons have already been mentioned, so here’s a few others…

    So Runs the World Away – Josh Ritter (his live shows are a great experience — he’s well loved in Ireland & Scotland)
    Women & Country – Jakob Dylan
    Divide & Conquer – Vandaveer (have yet to purchase the album, but have listened on Spotify too many times… brilliant and underrated)

    An Organic Family Hymnal – Rend Collective Experiment
    The Shelter – Jars of Clay


    District 9
    The Road
    Waltz with Bashir


    The Road – Cormac McCarthy
    Engleby – Sebastian Faulks
    The Draining Lake – Arnaldur Indridason


    Strangely Warmed – Andrew Rumsey
    Our Sound is Our Wound – Lucy Winkett
    A Common Word – Miroslav Volf, Ghazi bin Muhammad Bin Talal, Melissa Yarrington (eds)
    Psychology for Christian Ministry – Fraser Watts, Rebecca Nye, & Sarah Savage

    Rumsey’s “Strangely Warmed” is definitely worth a look. A collection of Lenten reflections that’s much more than a devotional. Funny, insightful, and refreshingly original. The book was recommended by Tom Wright and Ian Hislop, which captures the kind of book it is.


  7. no, but I’ve been meaning to do that – I must reserve a copy at the library….

  8. jaybercrow

    Thanks for the comment Paul. I’ll defintely check out some of your recommendations. I was floored by the novel of The Road, but haven’t got round to the movie yet. I’ve just signed up for Lovefilm and put it and Waltz with Bashir on my list.

    I’m also intrigued by Strangely Warmed – must check it out before Lent comes around this year.

    Peace on you and your wee family.

  9. paulispavlos

    If you want, I could post Strangely Warmed to you. We need to do a book clear-out because ikea doesn’t have the attachments to make our bookcases bigger and now Niamh has her own collection. Space is at a premium in this ex-council Glasgow flat.

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