I really enjoy reading everyone's top books/movies/music lists at the end of every year because it gives me ideas of what I need to read/see/listen to next. I won't give you a review of what happened to me this year because I know you already read about it all once. It was an eventful year, for sure, and if you're interested in re-reading it, well, I have archives.
So, without further adieu, things in pop culture that changed my life in 2009:
Books that changed my life
1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Technically this book is still changing my life because I'm only halfway through, but I LOVE it. The author is very much the modern gal with the modern gal spirit. I feel like I've gone on a similar journey this year to find myself, except with less Italian food (but I can make room for that).
2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This book should have been boring but I found it just intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages and the ending blew my mind. Simple and yet profound.
3. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor. O'Connor is a master storyteller. That's all you need to know.
4. Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. We all love her. I thought SAPF was up there like Bitter is the New Black and far better than Bright Lights, Big Ass. I think we can all identify with her struggle to lose weight and probably find some inspiriation (if not a million laughs) in her story because, well if the most stubborn writer we know (YES, I MET HER WHICH MEANS I KNOW HER, RIGHT?) can do it, we can do it too.
5. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. I think this book suffered from my high expectations, which it was never going to live up to. Decent, a fast read but a little overdone.
6. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. (Takes a deep breath). I didn't really like Twilight. I mean, I liked it enough to get through it and to want to see the movies, but I don't think I'm going to read the rest. I'll just watch the movies instead. I really have no explanation for why I wasn't enamored with it, I just don't quite understand the Edward infatch. Maybe that means I'm destined for Team Jacob.
Movies/Television that changed my life
1. How I Met Your Mother. I've been watching this show since the first season and I've already watched the whole thing through once, but in indoctrinating the Modern Love Machine in HIMYM goodness, I watched it all the way through again and loved it even more this time around.
2. The Wire. The MLM and I are in the middle of the first season of The Wire and despite the gratuitous swearing and occasional lesbian nudity I love it. I'm a sucker for cop shows and the whole drug theme reminds me of my criminology class in college (which was one of my favorite classes).
3. Burn After Reading. (Yes, I realize this was an '08 movie). I effing love the Coen brothers. I didn't realize this was kind of a cliffhanger, but I appreciate how good they are at keeping me guessing. Not to mention Brad Pitt blows my mind as an actor, and he was perfectly cast in this movie.
4. The Hangover. An all-around funny movie that could have been so much more inappropriate than it actually was. I appreciate the writers' restraint.
5. The Grocer's Son. A French coming-of-age flick (fortunately the subtitles aren't terribly necessary or difficult to keep up with). It's a warm tale about unrequited love and family tension with a beautiful French countryside setting.
6. Zombieland. With the exception of loving Shaun of the Dead, zombies have never been that big on my radar screen, but I effing loved this movie. Any movie that does not take itself too seriously is a good thing. Have you been practicing your cardio?
7. Star Trek. I watched the Next Generation some as a kid, but was never really that attached. Still -- awesome movie. I appreciated the fact that you didn't have to be a Trekkie to follow and appreciate it.
8. Bolt. I thought this film was totally underhyped. It doesn't give you any of the adult humor that the Pixar films do, but it was still cute and any dog's human should be able to relate to the relationships in Bolt.
9. Revolutionary Road. Super-heavy themes. I'll probably never watch it again, but I'm glad I pushed through. Kate Winslet is beautiful too.
10. Angels and Demons. I abhor Dan Brown's books -- and don't try to change my mind on that. The film was mildly entertaining on the basis of being a suspense/quasi-action film, but that's it's only merits in my opinion. I wish Tom Hanks, whom I greatly admire as an actor, would move on and do something else.
11. Monsters vs. Aliens. Meh. It was ok, but I'll take Monsters Inc. seven days a week and twice on Sundays.
The songtrack to my life in 2009 (few of which were actually released in 2009)
1. Calling and Not Calling My Ex by Okkervil River
2. Crazy Love by Van Morrison
3. Sun's Work Undone by Hackensaw Boys
4. Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez
5. Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie
6. If I Were a Carpenter by Bobby Darin
7. Throw Down Your Heart by Bela Fleck
8. Ntozake Nelson by the Lonelyhearts
9. Alice by Convoy
10. Lisztomania by Phoenix
11. Hard to Beat by Hard-Fi
12. My Good Gal by Old Crow Medicine Show
13. You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne
14. You Are the Glue by Neil Halstead
15. Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac