the child that (movies and) books built

This entry was posted by on Monday, 31 December, 2018 at

It’s time…

The moment which at least three of you have been waiting for with something approaching mild curiosity. It’s JM’s end-of-year-best-of-lists!

These are my personal favourites of the books and movies that were new to me in 2018. (I didn’t discover enough new music this year to make a meaningful music list).

First the movies:

1. Boyhood
2. Mudbound
3. Whiplash
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. The Florida Project

Other movies I loved which didn’t quite make the list: The Red Turtle, Get Out, The Shape of Water, The Revenant, The Meyerowitz Stories, Aint Them Bodies Saints, Lion.

And now the novels:

1. Midwinter Break (Bernard MacLaverty)
2. Reservoir 13 (Jon McGregor)
3. The Poets’ Wives (David Park)
4. Miller’s Valley (Anna Quindlen)
5. A Parchment of Leaves (Silas House)

I also really enjoyed Milkman (Anna Burns), Normal People (Sally Rooney), Our Souls at Night (Kent Haruf), History of Wolves (Emily Fridlund) and On Canaan’s Side (Sebastian Barry).

And finally, the non-fiction:

1. The Examined Life (Steve Grosz)
2. The Child That Books Built (Francis Spufford)
3. The Cloister Walk (Kathleen Norris)
4. The Philosophy of the Good Life (Charles Gore)
5. In the Days of Rain (Rebecca Stott)

As usual, I’d love to hear about your favourites so I know what to watch and read and listen to in 2019!

One Response to “the child that (movies and) books built”

  1. Hi JM

    Happy new year to you all.

    I have a few standouts across all 3 fields this year…

    First the movies. Easily my favourite films this year were BlacKKKlansman and The Death of Stalin. BlacKKKlansman managed to be both funny and frightening, clearly drawing a line to contemporary America. While it eventually unnecessarily hammered its point home by the end, having done so subtly up to that point, it managed to be both prescient and provocative. The Death of Stalin was just hilarious from start to finish.

    Here are my top 5:
    1. BlacKKKlansman
    2. The Death of Stalin
    3. Apostasy
    4. Sweet Country
    5. Western

    Other memorable films included Mission Impossible: Fallout, Custody, The Third Murder, The Old Man and the Gun, A Quiet Place, Three Billboards and Shape of Water. I wasn’t sure what to make of The Phantom Thread and The Killing of a Sacred Deer was one of the most infuriatingly diabolical films I have watched for many a year.

    There were quite a few excellent music releases this year, so this top 5 was more difficult:

    1. God’s Favourite Customer – Father John Misty
    2. The Projector – Simone Felice
    3. All Melody – Nils Frahm
    4. The Lookout – Laura Veirs
    5. Between Two Shores – Glen Hansard

    I also thoroughly enjoyed albums by Bonny Doon (Longwave), War on Drugs (Lost in the Dream), Courtney Marie Andrews (May Your Kindness Remain) and Josh Ritter (Gathering). Josh Ritter has a new release coming out in 2019 which will hopefully be worth waiting for. The most disappointing release for me was In the Rainbow Rain by Okkervil River.

    Finally the novels…

    1. Reservoir 13 – John McGregor
    2. A Little Life – Hanya Yanigihara
    3. All the Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy
    4. Zone One – Colson Whitehead
    5. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James

    I also enjoyed books by Elmore Leonard (The Hunted), Dan Rhodes (This is Life), Jonathan Franzen (Purity) and David Lodge (Deaf Sentence).

    Happy new year and hopefully see you soon.


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