We’re coming upon the end of 2016, and with it, the one-year anniversary of my return to blogging. After about a month of writing on my old blogger site, I transferred everything over here to Books and Beethoven and determined that I was going to write more about both reading and music, which each hold high points in my life.
I lost momentum over the summer, but I’m determined to try again—new year, new me and all that. I started using a planner, and I’ve got a great Trello board for all of my writing plans.
I can do this.
Earlier today, Sarah asked the BR blog support group what our blog resolutions were, and I really had to think about goals that I might actually be able to keep up with. (If you remember, I wrote a whole post about goals for October, and then didn’t write anything until the end of November…)
Here was what I determined:
- More straight reviews of books and music
- Regular check-ins for Read Harder 2017
- Regular check-ins for Read My Own Damn Books 2017
- More writing about music as I encounter it
I will try my best to pull that off. If nothing else, monthly check-ins will continue, and random mental meanderings about music and books will come up.
Here are some of my favorites of this year, in books, music, film, and TV. I’ll post a regular December wrap-up in the next few days, but I wanted to get this one out of the way when I was thinking about it.
Favorite Book Published in 2016
Hands down, no question:
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash.
This book was just adorable and heartwarming. I loved the voice, and the characters, and all of the geeky goodness in this three-day story that takes place over the course of New York Comic Con.
Favorite Backlist Book Read in 2016
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I started reading this in 2012 after it started getting peppered with seals from ALA and all the rest of the book people. I got a few pages in and just wasn’t into it. But I needed a book to listen to and this one was available at the library, so I went for it.
What magic I had been missing. Lin-Manuel did a perfect narration, bringing to life the type of prose that I occasionally just don’t process the same when I’m reading it.
Favorite Read Harder Challenge Book
So I didn’t actually complete the RH challenge, but I got close, and came across some really good books because of it. There are a lot of books I would have read anyway, but Exit West was one that I probably would have put on my Want to Read list, never to be seen or heard from again. It takes place in an unnamed country, but sounds like it could be the Middle East (and the author is from Pakistan, so it’s not a far leap). I probably wouldn’t have read this book if it hadn’t been dropped in my hands by someone from Riverhead Books, but I’m so glad I did. It doesn’t come out until March, so I was glad to be able to read it so early, but I want to talk to people about it!
Favorite Read My Own Damn Books Book
The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan is the second book in the Brothers Sinister series, and it is Historical Romance Perfection. It’s Victorian instead of Regency. The hero is a duke’s “natural son” with severe political aspirations, and the heroine is an heiress who will do anything to inspire disinterest (and even dislike) in gentlemen who need to marry for money. And the secondary romance is the sweetest.
It does things with stuff.
Goodreads tells me I added this to my to-read shelf in July of 2013, and Amazon says I bought it March of 2015. It was time. (I also owned the first one. Which I also read. It was wonderful, but this was so much better.)
Favorite Movie Seen in the Theater
I saw so many good movies this year; all of Disney and Pixar’s contributions were excellent. Rogue One was perfect. Loving was magnificent. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was tons of fun. But Moana was all of these things, not to mention it had amazing music (also written in part by Lin-Manuel Miranda) that I went home and downloaded and still can’t get enough of.
Favorite New TV
No, really. Seriously.
It took all the good parts of City of Bones and made them better. The writing improves as the season does, and Dominic Sherwood is a very attractive Jace. And of course, Malec. All the Malec. I can’t wait for it to come back; except now that I don’t have a DVR anymore I’m not sure how I’m going to work my way around that.
Favorite Hulu/Netflix TV
Luke Cage was magnificence personified. I’m looking forward to more Defenders TV.
And I finally got around to watching Season 1 of Crazy Ex Girlfriend and it was worth it to just binge. I am in love with Rebecca Bunch (and Rachel Bloom). Also I bought the season one soundtrack and will never be able to watch Frozen without hearing “I Gave You a UTI”. Thanks, Hans.
Also, I’m four seasons into Smallville and I can’t look away.
Favorite Popular Music Discovery
Post Modern Jukebox is definitely the royal music maker of 2016. They were around before this year, sure, but this was the year they made it on my radar to the point where I had PMJ music playing in iTunes. Some of their covers are songs I know better than the originals, like Radiohead’s “Creep”. Man, that song.
Favorite Musical Theater Discovery
Waitress. I really loved seeing the long performance on the Tonys. Jesse Mueller is fantastic, and it was fun to watch Sara Bareilles glide in on her piano. (And the album is only 5.99 right now, what!)
Favorite Classical Performance
There were only two for me this year, and it was definitely the Fall performance of the Haydn Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers. I’ve done both of them before and preparation for this one really tightened up my knowledge of them. Also, they’re both just magnificent pieces of music.
Favorite Song of 2016
Is it any surprise that it’s “How Far I’ll Go”?
What were your favorites this year?