A List of Favorites

What’s on the iPod: Imagine by Jack Johnson

Today is fun day here on the blog. It’s not a day to worry the details (though I’ll probably do that with client projects). Instead, I’d love to share some of my favorites of 2012. Let’s start with music.

Every post has a song I’m currently listening to (or last listened to before I got out of the car). Here are ones I can’t get enough of — via YouTube video.

I’m Shakin’ by Jack White
He resembles Edward Scissorhands, but sings like nobody’s business. I was not a fan when he was part of White Stripes, but Jack White has grown on me.

Live and Die by The Avett Brothers
Banjos can be cool. The Avett (AY vet) Brothers have this sound that can be addictive in an unexpected way.

Hardliners by Holcolmbe Waller
My vote for most gorgeous song from someone I’ve never heard of. He delivers a haunting, captivating sound that I can’t stop listening to.

Nearly anything by Frightened Rabbit (in this case, State Hospital)
Sometimes you just find that one band with the sound you’re drawn to like an addict. For me, these guys have it all, starting with those irresistible Scottish accents.

Favorite books:

I’d say this is a list of my top books of 2012, but since I read classics more than anything else, that wouldn’t really represent 2012, would it? Here are some that I loved reading last year:

A mercy by Toni Morrison. She’s a fantastic writer who crafts stories you don’t want to end. One of the few writers whose sentences are so rich they’re palpable. Told from different perspectives, this story shows a snippet in the life of one girl upon whom life seems to have dealt some punishing blows.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’m not the whole way through it, but I love this story about a gamer who’s locked in a global virtual battle to win a huge fortune. The premise is brilliant, and you don’t have to be a gamer to love the old-school game references.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. If you’ve limited yourself to Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men, you’re missing Steinbeck’s humorous brilliance. Cannery Row follows the lives of the residents of the village, a mishmash of misfits, oddballs, and wonderful spirits.

Selected Stories of William Faulkner. The master in short, palpable form. Starting with the story Barn Burning, which is so rich with detail you marvel at his descriptive capabilities, this is a collection that shows Faulkner’s testing of literary boundaries.

The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu. What an unexpected pleasure! I picked up an uncorrected proof for a song, and loved every syllable. A great fairy tale for adults (and kids, I suppose).

What notables captivated you this past year? Leave your list in the comments.

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  • Paula January 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Who doesn't love a little Faulkner?

    I get why some people avoid his novels – they can be challenging at points – but to me his short stories feel like vignettes distilled from his longer works.

  • Lori January 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Exactly, Paula. Barn Burning is a perfect example. It was used as the basis for a series of novels based on that one family. And it was the way he started it that grabbed me.

  • ChuckB January 19, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Hi Lori,

    I read a lot. Often times I'll have two or three I'm reading at the same time, so there are many I've read I really enjoyed. There is, however, one that really stands out. "The Greater Journey, Americans in Paris." by David McCullough. It's a recently published historical sketch of the whos and whys it took to stimulate art in the states starting at the turn of the 19th century. It's a 600 pager so it's nothing to sneeze at, but it's a page turner as well.

  • Lori January 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Sounds like a good one, Chuck. I like David McCollough, so I'll pick that up. He just wrote one on the Johnstown flood that I'm hoping to delve into next. Nice and small, amen. 🙂