2019 Books And Other Media


Here’s my year in the form of the media I consumed.

2019 Books

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Rating? 10 Pez dispensers.

Perhaps one of my favorite books? Gripping. Disturbing. Beautiful. Horrible. This book shook me up like no book ever has.

Children Of God by Mary Doria Russell

Rating? 7 Pez dispensers.

The sequel to the Sparrow. Also a good book but meanders a bit more. Our main character goes through one more horrible journey across the stars. It has less of a point but if you read the Sparrow you’ll feel compelled to read this too.

Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell

Rating? 8.5 Pez dispensers.

It was the year of Mary Doria Russell. She has a way with words and a great meticulous style. She departs from scifi after the two books above and turned her attention to historical fiction not just for this book but the rest of her career. This book follows the life of Doc Holiday. There’s something brutal and beautiful about what she does. I think I’ll read all her books someday after a long break.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Rating? 8 bags of popcorn.

A regular on This American Life, Jon Ronson’s stories and voice are pretty familiar to me. This is a timely book about various online public shaming stories, what compels people to shame others and the aftermath of those who were hit by the tidal waves of anger (sometimes deserved and sometimes not).

All That Man Is by David Szalay

Rating: 7 Clark bars.

All That Man Is is a real bummer as it turns out. This is a book of vignettes of men’s lives. All men featured are pretty unimpressive and some are horrible. It was good and good for the discussion I had with some friends who were also reading it. Reminded me quite a bit of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by DFW.

Alien 3 the original unreleased screenplay by William Gibson

Rating: 6 Xenomorphs

Alien 3 is the one that broke the series as some say. A hated movie. I don’t hate it though. I kind of like it actually. But, maybe it could have been a whole lot better. The original screen play written by cyber punk sci fi writer William Gibson (Neuromancer) takes the series in a very different direction. What could have been!

Murder On The Oriental Express by Agatha Christie

Rating: 9 Werther’s Originals

My mom and my sister both really enjoy Agatha Christie. It was my first Agatha Christie novel and I loved it.  There is a reason she is so famous! Read this over the summer but probably should have read it while sitting by a fire in the winter time.

Men, Women and Worthiness by Brene Brown

Rating: 8 doses of self-esteem

Brene Brown’s name came up a lot this year. On a date or talking with a friend. There comes a point when something is mentioned enough that you feel you have to investigate. Usually she writes about emotions from a women’s perspective but this one brings in some experiences men have too. It’s a bit taboo to worry about men’s emotions which is too bad because men are generally so unable to deal with their emotions that it’s dangerous/unhealthy/unpleasant for others. More men reading books about how to handle emotions might do a lot of good. I was glad to read the book, some experiences she mentioned resonated with me.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Rating: Something very cleverness

My dad and my brother Tom read a lot of Terry Pratchett. I give his books a try every once in awhile. He is very clever. My favorite book of his, so far, is Mort. I enjoyed Good Omens and also liked watching the TV adaption afterwards.

East Of Eden by John Steinbeck

Rating: 10 home cooked meals.

A great way to finish the year. This is a great book. I think I finished it in a little over a week. It’s not a short book but it’s hard to put down.  It’s about life and death and all the messiness in-between.

Books I started or got half way through but didn’t finish.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Lost At Sea by Jon Ronson

The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Make It Burn Make It Screen: Essays by Leslie Jamison

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Music

Spotify gives some fun end of year statistics about listening habits.  Below is my year in review.

Most Listened to Song Of 2019

Hounds Of Love by Kate Bush

Top ten songs of 2019

1. Hounds Of Love by Kate Bush

2. Dissolve Me by Alt-J

3. Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Café Orchestra

4. Light Years by The National

5. Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush

6. Motion Sickness by Hot Chip

7. Green by Young Jesus

8. Shark Smile by Big Thief

9. 99 and ½ by Mavis Staples

10. Rotten Love by James Levy

Top Artists of 2019

1 Hot Chip

2 The National

3 Alt J

4 Pixies

5 They Might Be Giants


Of New Artist I discovered

Idles was most listened to

17944 minutes of music in 2019 (just about 300 hours of music or 12 and a half days)

Years past?

2015

Top Song: Motion sickness by hot chip

Top Artist: Hot Chip

2016

Top Song: Heroine by Sinead O’Conner

Top Artist Rage Against The Machine

2017

Top Song: Patterns againt user

Top Artist Modest mouse

2018

Top Song: I don’t want you back

Top Artist: The National

2019

Top Song:  Hounds of love

Top Artist: Hot Chip

Other media. This is more a guessing game:

TV this year?

Broad Church, Chernobyl, The Crown (season 3), Stranger Things (season 3), Better Call Sal, Russian Doll, The Good Place (season 3 or 4?), Dark (Season 2). As always I watched a lot of Frasier. Fraiser is my nightly routine and background noise if I want something on while I work. It is leaving Netflix in January and I’m actually a little concerned about its departure. I guess I’ll either buy it or use it as an opportunity to get out of this very comfortable rut.   

Movies?

I don’t really remember many. I’m sure I’ve seen some.

Podcasts?

I’ve been into Mobituaries (Mo Rocca podcast). I’ve listened to a lot of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and Ask Me Another. I also listened to a lot of Hidden Brain and What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law. Most recently I listened to a six part series on the high speed rail line that didn’t happen in Wisconsin called Derailed.

Concerts? That I remember: Broods, Hot Chip. I must of seen more than this…

Other notes?

I finished an album this year. I still have to release it. It took a lot of work. I also redid this website recently. I know I’ve done more things but most of my life is caught up in my day job lately. I like that job a lot but reviewing all this has made me wish I was making a little more art. So, my new years resolution is to make a make more art work and record a little bit more music.


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