We thought we might have some kind of new introduction this year, again, but how can we, the year is the year it is, and was, and so in an otherwise really not terribly great year in so many ways, as opposed to a merely not terribly great year in so many ways such as last year, and for so many people at that, there was still good, because there is always good, and there were books, and television, music, podcasts, art, and movies. Though not enough, never enough, of any of it. But we did what we could, and here we are, ignoring so much of the year, if only for a moment, to look back, and share what there is, and what there was, with you, now, totally.
Memoirs that read like personal essays and personal essay collections that read like memoir. That sing. And explore sickness, art, nostalgia, pop culture, social issues, the present, past, and future, and everything in between.
And These Are The Good Times/Patricia Ann McNair, Searching for John Hughes/Jason Diamond, we are never meeting in real life/samantha irby, The Wrong Way to Save Your Life/Megan Stielstra, The Miles Between Me/Toni Nealie, Sirens/Joshua Mohr, Bruja/Wendy C. Ortiz, Just Kids/Patti Smith.
Kick ass sort story collections by kick ass writers who, you know, kick ass.
Because I Wanted To Write You A Pop Song/Kara Vernor and I Am Barbarella/Beth Gilstrap.
Novels too. Substantive. And wonderful.
The Sarah Book/Scott McClanahan, June/Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?/Philip K. Dick, Lightwood/Steph Post, Patricide/D. Foy.
And poetry. Never enough, but really fucking good this year.
Free Boat/John Reed, The Vig Of Love/Bill Yarrow, Aviary/Seth Berg and Bradford Wolfenden II, Ghost County/John McCarthy, A Child of Storm/Michael J. Wilson.
The movies we are happy we got to see during a year where we did even better than last year, though still didn't see enough to satisfy our movie Jones.
Big Sick, Landline, mother!, Wonder Woman
Movies we are happy we got to see because our children wanted us to.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarock
Movies we are especially happy we got to see because our children wanted us to and since they're now older have much better taste.
Ingrid Goes West
Movies we are quite happy we got to see because our children wanted us to, but we watched without them. And cried at the end.
Sequels and reboots that were fine enough, but not quite fine enough.
John Wick II, The Last Jedi, Blade Runner 2049
The only documentaries we watched, which jammed, which is far from enough, and we are lame.
Flatball - A History of Ultimate
Documentaries that we are sure jammed and must see post-haste.
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold and Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond—Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton
More movies just bad that our children really wanted to see, though yes, we kind of wanted to too. Sadly.
The best crafted movies of the year that weren't quite our favorite movie of the year.
The Shape of Water, Ladybird, Beach Rats, The Meyerowitz Stories, Get Out
And a well-crafted movie that just might be our favorite movie of the year.
The Florida Project
Movies we still hope to see.
Call Me By Your Name, I, Tonya, Mudbound, Lost City of Z, Columbus, Good Time, Personal Shopper
Books published by Tortoise Books that we quite dug and may have only been partially biased towards as we read them.
North and Central/Bob Hartley and Gunmetal Blue/Joseph G. Peterson
And one more by the Joseph G. Peterson, because, you know, he's the Joseph G. Peterson, and we are mostly definitely biased in this space.
Wanted: Elevator Man
Debut books by fine looking people that are also quite fine reading.
We Could've Been Happy Here/Keith Lesmeister, The Expanse Between/Lee L. Krecklow, The Glamshack/Paul Cohen
Books we had the pleasure to blurb and hope you have the pleasure to read.
What We Build Upon the Ruins/Giano Cromley, Gay Zoo Day/Mike McClelland, Portrait of the Artist as a Bingo Worker/Lori Jakiela, Whup Jamboree/Garret Schuelke, eNJoy: Stories by the Sea/Glen Binger
Also, two books by the Brian Alan Ellis, because, again, you know, he's the Brian Alan Ellis.
Failure Pie In A Sadness Face and Something To Do With Self-Hate
New music which we yet again listened to not much of this year, but we still listened to these.
The Nashville Sound/Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and From a Room: Volume 1/Chris Stapleton
Music we got to listen to live, which was not enough, and we always somehow fall way short on year after year.
The Hold Steady, Julian Velard, Nicholas Barron
Television shows we kept on watching, that were actually good, and got in the way of reading, thinking, and sometimes sleeping, but ultimately made us very happy.
Game of Thrones, Girls, Orange is the New Black, Homeland, Orphan Black, The Affair, Bloodline, Master of None, Stranger Things, Silicon Valley, Mr. Robot, Fargo, The Americans
Television shows we continue to lovingly re-consume, again, and again, summer after summer, because our children say it must be so, and annually at that.
Freaks and Geeks
Television shows we lovingly consumed, or continued to consume, because our younger son said it must be so.
Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, The Goldbergs
New television shows we quite happily consumed. And there were so fucking many of them. Golden age indeed.
Big Little Lies, SMILF, GLOW, The Handmaid's Tale, American Vandal
New shows that weren't quite as good as those, but still made us happy.
Crashing, Alias Grace, Santa Clarita Diet
Theater, too little, and way too far between.
Fun Home and How To Be A Rock Critic
Art exhibits, definitely way too little, even compared to last year, and so far between. Though what we saw did indeed leave one, us, spellbound.
Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg
Television shows we mostly caught-up with this year and were quite nice at that.
Search Party, Luke Cage, Detour, One Mississippi, West World, Bojack Horseman, Baskets, Black Mirror
Television shows we continued to watch, and love, that no one else seems to watch.
You're The Worst, Casual, Catastrophe, Love, Better Things
Television shows we continued to watch, and think we might love, that no one else seems to watch.
The television shows we still watch and love so much we are tearing-up now just thinking about them, though that is because we have something caught in our eye, so fuck you.
The television show that is all of the above, completely destroyed us, we inexplicably only started watching this year, and will be sorely missed.
Television show we have no idea why we watched.
Friends From College and Goliath
The television shows we really dug, but didn't quite finish yet.
Broadchurch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Punisher, Ozark
Podcasts we still listen to again and again.
WTF with Marc Maron, Other People, The Slate Culture Gabfest, Heavyweight
And one-off podcasts, for now, apparently, that just killed, but left us queasy for enjoying them as much as we did.
Searching for Richard Simmons and S-Town
The one truly political book we read in a year only too full of the truly political, and damn was it good.
Barack Obama: Invisible Man by the David Masciotra
Books we just didn't quite read by year's end. But we will. Soon. Promise.
Soft Invasions/James Reich, A Woman Is A Woman Until She Is A Mother/Anna Prushinskaya, Bewilderment/Michael Onofrey, The Bong-Ripping Brides of Count Drogado/Dave K, Walk in the Fire/Steph Post, Funhouse/Robert Vaughan
Most finally, there are many people to thank for making this a good year in spite of all that has been going on and feels like still will be. And we are most definitely overlooking some, a lot maybe, and we apologize for that, but there you go.
Matt Rowan, Jacob S. Knabb, Dave Housley, Jason Behrends, Anna March, Victor David Giron, Jason Pettus, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Moeses Soulright, Ryan W. Bradley, Steve Lafler, Lavinia Ludlow, Rob Funderburk, Greg Olear, John Barrios, Joseph G. Peterson, Michael Seidlinger, Gabino Iglesias, Adam Lawrence, Dave McNamara, Mike Smolarek, Beth Gilstrap, Duncan MacKenzie, Andrew Keating, Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Matty Byloos, Brad Listi, Michael Czyzniejewski, Ken Wohlrob, Myles and Noah Tanzer, Joani Reese, David Masciotra, Clayton Smith, Mel Bosworth, Paul Cohen, Todd Summar, Megan Stielstra, Hosho McCreesh, W. Todd Kaneko, Jim Warner, Mathieu Cailler, David S. Atkinson, Debbie Pritzker, BL Pawelek, Michael Phillips, James Yates, Kristin Fouquet, Citizen Lit, Clayton Smith, Seth Berg, James Goertel, Amber Sparks, Mike McClelland, Lori Jakiela, Robert Vaughan, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Meg Tuite, Robert Duffer, Brian Alan Ellis, Keir Graff, Meghan Lamb, Joanna Topor MacKenzie, Jeff Linkenback, Anthony Michael Morena, Brad Wolff, Bob Hartley, Joanna Shroeder, Johnny Misfit, The Book Cellar, Gretchen Kalwinski, Michael Paige Glover, Jennifer Banash, City Lit Books, Art Edwards, Judith Tanzer, Kimberly Ann Southwick, Erika T. Wurth, Leesa Cross-Smith, Brian Gresko, Garret Schuelke, Shaindel Beers, Chris L. Terry, Kara Vernor, Adam Tanzer, Jason Diamond, Patricia Ann McNair, Sean Beaudoin, Sean H. Doyle, John Reed, Jerry Brennan, Serena Makofsky, Callie Nelson, Lauren Becker, Robert James Russell, Brian Gresko, Lori Hettler, Christian Winn, Spencer Dew, Glen Binger, Carlos "Dzine" Rolon, Steve Karas, Aubrey Cox, Barry Graham, Bud Smith, Jennifer Steele, Wendy C. Ortiz, Matt Micheli, Dave Newman, Steve Eisner, Donald Quist, Christine Rice, D. Foy, JH Palmer, Cari Luna, Elaine Soloway, Angela Vela, Steve Luna, Rachel Slotnick, Behn Reza, The Mooney's, Cyn Vargas, Allison Joseph, Keith Lesmeister, Sara Lippmann, Mikaela Shea Fowler, Bud Smith, Ariel Rudolph, Giano Cromley, Zoe Zolbrod, Kali VanBaale, Tom Williams, Jennifer Pastiloff, Joshua Mohr, Amy Danzer, Patrick Wensink, Nicholas Barron, Alice Kaltman, Susan Messing, Rick Kogan, Amy Guth, Shaindel Beers, Volumes Bookcafe, Leland Cheuk, Rebecca George, Robert James Russell, Davis Schneiderman, Ray Charbonneau, Sam Slaughter, Gina Frangello, Steph Post, Rachel Hyman, Nick Ostdick, John Tribble, Len Kuntz, Pete Anderson, Pam Hoadley, the Tomaloff's, Paula Bomer, Brandon Will, Melissa Faliveno, J. Bradley, Jason Fisk, Gint Aras, Yogi Roth, Eric Spitznagle, Beth Gilstrap, Ryan Ridge, Lisa Fay Coutley, Jeffrey Pfaller, Dane Bahr, Lee L. Krecklow, Keidra Chaney, Rob Funderburk, Christopher Bowen, Liz Mason, Chris Tarry, Leah Angstman, David Olimpio, Jessica Kashiwabara