Top 5: 2016, A Year in Review

Twenty sixteen. Woof. A year of subtle ups and conspicuous downs. To live through this year was to hear the somber announcement that Prince had died, but then, in its wake, get to experience Purple Rain in theaters, where fans sashayed down the aisles and crooned into the high rafters in remembrance of the little purple one. A year of bad news that we got through.

In honor of the ups, I’m ending the year the same way I started it: top five lists.

For those who missed last year’s top five post, I got the idea from one of my favorite movies High Fidelity. You can top five list anything: 90s movies, Olympic sports, vegetables. This post will focus on my favorite reads and listens from the year.

This will be my last blog post of the year. Number fifty two. To all of those who followed along, provided feedback, and were part of the general conversations that turned into these posts, thank you! And, as always, thanks for reading.

Into the new year we go.

Top 5 Tech Reads

Top 5 Long Reads

Top 5 Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2016

Top 5 Fiction Books I Read in 2016

  • The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa. The Italian One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton. Boy meets girl in old New York. Boy and girl find themselves suspended between two generations and are forced to compromise, accordingly. This book is one of the greats.   
  • Still Life with Woodpecker, Tom Robbins. "Hostess Twinkies mate for life."
  • Plays, Anton Chekhov. Plays from the mid-19th century about unhappy people aspiring for something more: “In two or three hundred years life on this earth will be gorgeously beautiful and glorious. Mankind needs such a life, and if it is not ours to-day then we must look forward to it, wait, think, prepare for it. We must see and know more than our fathers and grandfathers saw and knew.”
  • Ready Player One, Ernest Cline. 80s and video games. A fun read for anyone else who used to be really into RPGs.

Top 5 Albums Released in 2016

Top 5 Old Albums I Re-discovered in 2016

  • To Bring You My Love, PJ Harvey. Worth a visit if you haven’t heard this before. Lots of range on this album.
  • Bee Thousand, Guided by Voices. The album the Beatles would have produced had they been a lo-fi basement band in the early 90s.
  • Special Beat Service, The English Beat. A fun cooking album. “Save It For Later” is my highlight.
  • Music for 18 Musicians, Steve Reich. Beautiful pulsing compositions that make for great work music.
  • J.S. Bach: Suites for Cello, Pablo Casals. Pablo Casal’s recording of Bach’s Cello Suites. The suites are one of the most popular pieces of classical music around today — the Yo Yo Ma version is all over the place. But I like Casal’s recording best. The suites were unknown and destined for oblivion until he stumbled across the sheet music in a thrift shop in the early 20th century. He recorded them in 1936 at Abbey Road and they’ve since become legend. A cool story and a beautiful piece of music.

Top 5 Blog Posts I Published in 2016