If I were to do another deep listen on an artist or band’s career work and write a Music Discovery, what artist or band would you like to read about?
I don’t know why I never did this before, but I added a page to the bar of links at the top of this blog’s homepage with a list of all the Movie Reviews I’ve written since this blog went live in 2006. So, if you’re looking for ideas on a movie to watch, or you watched a movie and want to know what I thought of it, this is your one-stop shopping.
Hey, I didn’t advertise this, but did you notice that I tried to watch and review a movie every day in February? I didn’t quite make it, but added quite a few movies to this list. There will be more movie fun coming up in April.
In years past, I’ve made a list of books I plan to read in the coming year. You can find my current Book List 2018 up in the navigation bar with a drop-down list for previous years.
I’ve made things less complicated this year instead of listing out books to read, I’m just going to use my existing wishlist at LibraryThing. I will also be trying to keep track of audiobooks, books for my Around the World for a Good Book project, and books for Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge.
I will post the books that I’ve actually completed reading with a link to review and books I’m currently reading on the Book List 2018 page as well. If you’re reading something good, I’d love to hear about it and I’m always happy to open a discussion of books on this blog.
Last night I watched on Netflix an episode of Star Trek and an episode of The Twilight Zone back to back. The thread that connected these two tv shows together is their guest actor, a man who shares my name, Liam Sullivan. Despite my best efforts, he is probably the most famous Liam Sullivan of all time, known for his many appearances on television shows, particularly as a villain (albeit I’d argue he plays a sympathetic character in The Twilight Zone episode).
Sullivan is quoted as saying about his villainous roles:
“Playing truly evil people is a great way to release tension and anger and disgust with humanity. Show bad people what they really look and act like and maybe they’ll recognize themselves and change. Who knows?”
I remember seeing Liam Sullivan’s name in the credits of tv shows when I was growing up and it was a treat. Unlike the present day when the name Liam is a frequent top ten baby name for boys, it was an unusual name outside of Ireland in the 1970s and 80s. It’s all the more remarkable that the actor Liam Sullivan was born and named in Illinois in 1923.
In the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” (1968), Sullivan plays Parmen, an immortal with telekinetic powers who cruelly bullies and torments the crew of the Enterprise. This is third season Star Trek episode so you have to look past some plot and dialogue absurdities to appreciate the actually very strong acting performances put in by both the series’ regulars and guest actors like Sullivan and Michael Dunn. This episode is famous for the interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura. The kiss is actually forced by Parmen in his efforts to humiliate the crew, so hey, someone named Liam Sullivan is behind one of the most famous moments in television history.
The Twilight Zone episode “The Silence” is a rare instance of the show not featuring a supernatural or extraterrestrial element, and is in fact based on an Anton Chekov story called “The Bet.” Sullivan plays Jamie Tennyson, a young member of a gentleman’s club who talks constantly much to the irritation Colonel Archie Taylor (Franchot Tone). Sullivan appears much younger in this show although it’s only 7 years earlier than Star Trek, and appropriately, is ruggedly handsome. Taylor proposes a wager that Tennyson must remain silent for twelve months under observation of club members, and should he do so would win half a million dollars. Since Sullivan doesn’t speak for much of the episode, it is remarkable how well he conveys emotions through facial expressions and movements. This is especially true when Taylor begins to realize he may lose the bet and starts to cruelly torment Tennyson. The episode has a twist at the end as you might expect, one which I’m not sure would actually work physically, but shocking all the same.
So that’s the story of my name in lights. Who is the most famous person that shares your name with you? Do you feel any kinship with them?
Related post: People Who Are Not Me
I like movies, and I’ve seen a lot of them in my time, but there are some movies that seem ubiquitous in popular culture that despite no particular effort to avoid, I’ve never seen.
Avatar – apparently no one actually likes this movie, but it is currently the top grossing movie of all-time without my contribution.
Blade Runner – I’ve been meaning to watch this for decades. Of course, it’s difficult to determine which “cut” of the movie I should watch first.
The Godfather (and all its sequels) – I remember my sister watching one of these movies when I was a kid but I was too young to handle reading the subtitles of Sicilian people yelling at one another.
Goodfellas – I guess I’m just not into mobster movies
Jurassic Park (and all its sequels) – I actually did avoid this one because I read the book and it was styooo-pid. I’m surprised it’s still such a big cultural phenomenon.
Mrs. Doubtfire – This was once on the list of top-grossing films of all-time but has been usurped. It looked dumb and creepy so I never saw it.
Pulp Fiction – I actually have avoided this one because I’ve been told that someone gets shot in the head which is something I find too disturbing to watch.
The Shawshank Redemption – I rented the videotape once, but it malfunctioned. Why have I never followed up?
The Shining – Over the years, I think I’ve gleaned the entire plot of this movie, at least the part that was reenacted by bunnies.
Shindler’s List – Always meant to watch, but never found the right time.
What hit or classic movies have you missed seeing? Which of these movies should I try to watch first?
I published the first post on this blog on December 4, 2006. Although that anniversary passed a week ago, I did not want to let it go unremarked upon. So here are some thoughts on being eleven:
- This is the 2,676 post published to this blog.
- I’ve now been blogging for one quarter of my life which seems like a pretty remarkable portion of time.
- Still, it could’ve been longer. I regret not going through with my thoughts of signing up for a LiveJournal in the early 2000s. It would be fun to look back at now.
- I’ve reverted back to the original name of this blog, Panorama of the Mountains. It was foolish to believe that anything else could be more suited.
- I’ve also redecorated. Tell me what you think!
- I’ve recently started using Instagram. You can see it on the sidebar or check out my account. I’m trying to take interesting photographs everyday which I share there.
- I’m still also using Tumblr (Portals of Discovery) and have a ridiculous Doctor Who-themed sideblog.
- And you may find me tweeting at @othemts (general tweets, mostly politics and sports) or @archivaliam (professional tweets related to libraries, archives, records management), but I’m taking a bit of a rest from Twitter right now.
These are the five most viewed posts published in the past year:
- Upcoming Protests and Rallies in Boston Area (262 views)
- Tito Jackson for Mayor of Boston (128 views)
- Book Review: Nobody by Marc Lamont Hill (121 views)
- Vote November 7th: Tito Jackson for Mayor of Boston (69 views)
- Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance (61 views)
Here are five posts that I like that need more love:
- It Can Happen Here
- Concert Review: A Tribe Called Red
- Book Review: Holy Spokes
- Music Discoveries: Tom Waits
- TV Review: Stranger Things
So that was the year that was…
We are halfway through the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Today’s a day off and I’ll resume with a photograph for the letter N tomorrow, but I wanted to take a moment to look forward and look back at the challenge itself.
First of all, I’ve decided that for the letter R post that will go up on Friday, April 21st, I will be taking “Requests.” Please use the comments below or tweet me at @othemts and give me a suggestion for something I should try to photograph for the day. Keep your suggestion family-friendly and within the bounds of law and I will pick the one I find the most creative.
Second, here are some of my favorite blogs that I’m following for the A to Z Challenge with their themes:
- Liz Brownlee poet – Extraordinary Women and Girls
- Coach Daddy
- Creating Herstory – Women’s History
- If I Only Had a Time Machine – All the Historical Events from Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
- Words for Sonobe – Malaysiana
- Planet Paily – Sciency Words
- The Sound of One Hand Typing – Words the start and end with sequential letters
- True North Bricks – LEGO sets
- Vanessence – A Thirty-Word Story
Third, here are all of my posts so far:
- A is for April Fools
- B is for Branches
- C is for Compassion
- D is for Ditch
- E is for Exterminate
- F is for Fish
- G is for Games
- H is for Head
- I is for Instructions
- J is for Jagged
- K is for Knobs
- L is for Liam
- M is for Manhattan
As a child growing up rooting for the Mets, I knew that Dwight Gooden (then Mets’ ace and arguably the 2nd-greatest Met of all time) celebrated his birthday on November 16 and the all-time greatest Met, The Franchise, Tom Seaver, celebrated his birthday on November 17. With my birthday on November 18, I was a natural for future Met great. There was one problem, I had no baseball talent.
I’m now 43, past retirement age for baseball, although as long as the ageless Bartolo Colon continues to pitch there will still be an active major leaguer older than me. For fun, here is the all-time all-star roster for players born on November 18.
C – Deacon McGuire – known as a gentleman who played 26 seasons at the most demanding position
1B – Roy Sievers – hit nine career walkoff homeruns
2B – Gene Mauch – can also be the team’s manager
SS – Kermit Wahl – finding a shortstop for the team was tough, could move over Sheffield and seek out another third baseman?
3B – Gary Sheffield – Doc Gooden’s nephew! Wonder if they celebrated their birthdays together?
LF – Steve Henderson – his walkoff homerun at Shea Stadium in 1980 is one of the defining moments of my baseball fandom
CF – Les Mann – regular centerfielders were also hard to find, but Mann played a key role for the Miracle Braves of 1914
RF – Dante Bichette – I remember him being called “Bionic Fat” which was inspiring to us men of large girth
DH – David Ortiz – Big Papi is without question the greatest November 18th baseball player of all time
SP – Jamie Moyer – pitched until he was 49!
SP – Jack Coombs – won 31 games for the Athletics in 1910
SP – Allen Watson – was born in Queens and was briefly a Met in 1999
SP – Jay Hook – pitcher of record for the Mets’ first ever franchise win in 1962
SP – Cal Koonce – a reliever for the 1969 Miracle Mets although he was a starter earlier in his career with the Cubs
CLOSER – Tom Gordon – the Red Sox star of the late 90s had a Stephen King book named after him
RP – C.J. Wilson – a 2011 All-Star
RP – Shawn Camp – was the 500th selection in the 1997 draft
RP – Mark Petkovsek – had his best season in 1996 working as starter and long reliever for the Cardinals
RP – Matt Wise – appeared in 8 games for the 2008 Mets
Happy birthday to all of the November 18th All-Stars!
I signed up to participate in another challenge, this one called The Comment Challenge. It will be running in June, July, and August this summer. I missed sign ups for June, but signed up for July and probably will sign up for August as well.
The basic gist is that participants are paired up to read and comment on each other’s blog. That’s it, pretty simple! I pledge to make 5-10 comments on my partner’s blog, although I hope I can do more. Following up on my last post, I’m hoping this is a way to make connections and make blogging feel less solitary.
Just want to take a moment here to point out that I have published at least one post on Panorama of the Mountains every day since December 1, 2015. As today is May 31, 2016, that means my posting streak is now at six consecutive months! In my nearly ten years of blogging, I’ve never even approached a consecutive day streak remotely approaching that long, so I want to take a moment to savor it.
In the past six months, I’ve published 306 posts (including this one). Dear lord, whatever did I have to say? I hoped posting more regularly would mean that I’d see an uptick in readers, commenters, and followers – which I have – but this is still a very lonely blog. If you like what you read here, drop me a note or share it with your friends on social media, won’t you?
According to my stats, these are the five posts from those 306 that interested the most readers:
- Scenes From the Wake Up the Earth Parade
- Podcast of the Week – This American Life #579: My Damn Mind
- Podcast of the Week – This American Life #581: Anatomy of Doubt
- Introducing JP A to Z
- Beer Review: Guinness Nitro IPA
Here are ten of my favorite posts from the past six months which I think are worth reading, or re-reading, commenting, and sharing:
- Bands Everyone Loves (Except Me)
- Book Review: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- BPS Student Walkout
- The Designated Hitter in Major League Baseball: A Solution
- 5 Reasons Why Sanders Campaigning to the Convention is Good for the Democrats
- Movie Review: The Big Short
- Performance Review: Christmas at Pirates Voyage
- Photopost: Harris Hill Ski Jump
- 38 Things About Me and Star Wars
- Walk-In and Rally for Boston Public Schools
And then there are all 27 of my posts about Jamaica Plain for the Blogging A to Z Challenge!
Questions for my fellow bloggers: How often do you publish blog posts? What ways have you found effective to attract more readers, and better yet, to make connections with fellow bloggers? Have you have written anything you love and find it ignored? I’d love to hear other bloggers’ experiences!
Today is my fortieth birthday. As I prepare for my next decade, here are forty things I’d like to accomplish in my forties.
In no particular order:
- Become certified in First Aid and CPR
- Donate blood 6 times (the maximum) per year
- Visit Yellowstone National Park and/or Grand Canyon with my family
- Travel to at least 5 states I’ve never been to before
- Attend games at least 5 MLB ballparks I’ve never been to before
- Visit two foreign countries I’ve never been to before
- Write a book (perhaps even try to get it published)
- Participate in Walk for Hunger and/or Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon every year
- Audition (and hopefully perform) for the Revels again
- Enter (and hopefully win) USS Constitution turnaround lottery
- Ride in an open-cockpit biplane and/or a hot air balloon
- Take up birding
- Read a classic Russian novel
- Try singing with a barbershop quartet
- Participate in an atlas-based road rally
- Perform karaoke
- Take a martial arts class
- Paddle on the Charles River
- Play croquet in strange places
- Volunteer with Bikes Not Bombs and/or Boston Bicyclists Union
- Try rock climbing
- Visit the Great Dismal Swamp
- Write in my journal more regularly √
- Climb to the highest points in each of the New England states and ccomplete hiking up all the 4000 footers in New England
- Serve in a ministry in our church community
- Walk inside the Mapparium √
- Take the tour at the Sam Adams Brewery √
- Become a patron of the arts by getting a subscription to a symphony, dance, or theatre series
- Through hike the AT
- See the reenactment on Lexington Green on Patriots Day
- Go to a drive-in movie for the first time
- Take kids to the balloon parade in Stamford, CT
- Complete my Around the World for a Good Book project
Build a new playhouse for the kids in the backyard
- Take a storytelling class and perform a story to a live audience
Attend 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada
- Visit maritime Canada
- Play curling
- Visit Susan’s Michigan
- Get an SLR camera and learn how to take photos √
If you have any suggestions for anything else I should try, let me know in the comments.
Today is the last day of my thirties, so I thought I’d look back at thirty accomplishments and memorable events of the last decade.
The Most Important Things:
1. Married my wife Susan in 2005 with a lovely reception on a Boston Harbor Island.
2. The birth of my son Peter in 2007.
3. The birth of my daughter Kay in 2011.
4. Moved to Jamaica Plain in 2007 (and became homeowners!).
5. Earned masters degree in Library & Information Science from Simmons College (2005)
6. Participated with my union as part of team in contract negotiation (2007)
7. Started a new position at my library in records management and archives (2008)
8. Promoted to a professional library position as Processing Archivist (2011)
9. Participated in choral singing for the first time in my church’s Advent-Christmas concert (2005, & again in 2007)
10 . Took voice instruction courses (2006)
11. Performed in the Christmas Revels (2009)
12. Sang with my family in the SingPositive, JP band and chorus (2012-2013)
13. Helped bring Beck’s Song Reader to life as part of a 50 voice chorus (2013)
14. Hiked to the summit of several tall mountains in New Hampshire and Vermont including: Washington (2004), Adams (2005), Monroe (2004), Madison (2005), Eisenhower (2004), Carrigain (2006), Osceola (2006), Pierce (2004), East Peak Osceola (2004), Cannon (2004), Camel’s Hump (2004), Hale (2004), Tecumseh (2006), Sandwich (2005), and NE Peak Cannonballs (2004)
15. Played on an adult kickball team (2004-2005)
16. Witnessed the Red Sox first World Series victory in 86 years (2004) and then two more (2007, 2013)
17. Shared my love of biking with my children through regular bike commuting and events like Hub on Wheels and the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon (2010-2013)
18. Coached my son’s childrens’ soccer team (2011)
19. Introduced Peter to the love of baseball and attended numerous games over the past three seasons (2011-2013)
20. Visited Chicago and saw games at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park (2004)
21. Acted as a sight guide for my good friend Anthony on a holiday to Cambridge, Oxford, and London in England (2004)
22. Honeymooned in Venice and the Dolomites Alps (2005)
23. Traveled to Milwaukee exploring museums, the library, Miller Field, and drinking lots of beer … not to mention winning a bet on a sausage race (2006)
24. Made a car-free journey to Southern California with side trip to Tijuana, visiting San Diego and Los Angeles, exploring museums and architecture, and taking in games at Petco Field and Dodger Stadium (2007)
25. Won a traveling fellowship to explore Amsterdam on foot with my wife and son (2010)
26. Experienced the joy of family camp in New Hampshire (2013)
Other things I can’t find a category for:
27. Started a blog (2006) and still write in it fairly regularly (I also have a bike commuter blog and a Tumblr blog).
28. Created lists of my favorite books of all time, my favorite albums of all time, and cataloged every book I’ve ever read
29. Researched and wrote manuals for two Boston By Foot Walking Tours Avenue of the Arts (2010) and Davis Square (2011), not to mention serving as co-chair of the Tour of the Month committee (2006-2007), and leading several great tours such as Waterfront, Charles River Basin, Little Feet, and South End.
30. Found a new spiritual home at Hope Central Church (2013).
There are things I’m proud of that I know I’m leaving off the list, and probably some things of great importance I’m sure I’ve forgotten. Oh well, that’ what the comments are for.
To a great decade gone by, and another that is to come!
Welcome to Two Thousand Thirteen! Here’s hoping that this year brings peace and prosperity to all those reading this post and greater understanding and civility among people in our nation and world.
I thought I’d write down some goals (not resolutions) for the coming year:
Write – I always wish to write more and will endeavor to do so. This includes writing on this blog, in my journal and hand-writing correspondence to friends.
Bike – When the weather warms up, I plan to resume riding my bike regularly for commuting and errands, including dropping off my daughter at child care. I also plan to write more on my neglected Bike Commuter blog, participate in longer community rides, and teach my son to ride his pedal bike.
Sleep health – I will work on getting to bed earlier, getting better sleep, and waking up refreshed at a consistent time (and getting to work on time).
Faith – I am going to resume regularly attending church services starting by seeking out a new faith community. I hope to build on this with more time spent doing volunteer work and social justice.
Sing – I’d like to build on the success of 2012 participating with SingPositive, JP by singing in more choral settings, perhaps with other groups.
Today marks six years since I made my first post on this blog. I feel like I came late to blogging, yet here I am still plugging away long after the blogging trend has past. Somehow in that time I managed to make 1,393 posts.
And yet I feel bittersweet about this anniversary as I hoped to do so much more with this blog. I’ve not been very active of late, at least for the past year or so. The list of book reviews I want to write alone is intimidating, not mention all the other things I want to write. And that is the problem, in that I have so much I want to share on this blog, and yet I hardly ever do. I rarely seem to have the time and when I have the time I have no energy and when I have the energy I have no inspiration. Nevertheless, I’d like to keep going and see if I can become a more frequent, and more importantly, substantive blogger.
Knowing people are reading helps, so if you still manage to read this blog regularly, let me know what you like or what you’d like to read. Or just say hello. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me on my Tumblr or Twitter accounts.
And even if you have nothing to say, but you keep reading this blog, I thank you for traveling with me thus far.
I’ve started yet another blog, this one about bicycle commuting, aptly named Bike Commuter through the Boston Biker blog network. I’ve been thinking about starting a bicycle blog for a long time and have dragged my feet about it but with spring coming in, this is as good of a time to get started.
I don’t ride as much as I once did, but I hope to get back into more regular commuting and I intend to use this blog as a way of keeping me in check. I also feel that my many years of experience as a bicycle commuter could be helpful to others. Boston feels like a scary place to ride a bike, but I’ve found my experience riding in the city Here’s what you may expect to read on the Bike Commuter blog:
- Ride Log – stories about my experiences biking in and around Boston.
- Tips – suggestions for how to make your ride in the city safe and enjoyable.
- Advocacy – political action to support bicyclists and bicycle facilities (I may sometimes venture into overlapping issues related to walking, public transportation, and urban planning).
Things you won’t see on this blog:
- Athletic pursuits – if you’re into bike racing, endurance rides, and/or mountain biking, I salute you, but you’re probably not going to find anything you’re interested in. This blog is more geared to the everyday person who uses a bike to get around.
- Rampant consumerism – much of what is on the internet about bicycling is geared toward convincing you that you need to spend money on the right bike, the right accessories, and the right clothing if you want to be serious about riding a bike. This blog is here to convince you to get a bike that works, put on it what you need, wear what you have on and get on the road.
If you’re interested in bicycling or just like to read things that I write, subscribe to the feed at http://bikecommuter.bostonbiker.org/feed/.
This week marks yet another anniversary in which the number of years being marked is increasingly baffling. 30 years ago on Easter weekend my father took my sister and I for my first visit to the city of Boston (Easter was on April 6th that year so let’s just say we arrived on April 5th).
Here’s what I can remember:
- Our first day there it rained. A lot. I have a specific memory of walking past the Boston Massacre marker while being pelted by sheets of rain and wind.
- Easter Sunday, however, was beautiful and sunny. We walked around Boston Common and the Public Garden in our Sunday best.
- It really annoyed our Dad that we insisted on walking toe-to-toe along the red paint of the Freedom Trail. As a dad myself now I can understand how frustrating it is when the little ones dawdle.
- I really enjoyed visiting historic sites like the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill. From that point on I loved to read about history and visit historical sites whenever possible.
- I’m pretty sure we went to the Childrens Museum too. It was a busy weekend. This was back when the Childrens Museum had the giant’s desktop and grandma’s attic. I miss those exhibits.
- It’s really eerie to think that this weekend really set the course for my future careers in museums and libraries as well as moving to Boston.
Ten years ago today I began work at Baker Library at Harvard Business School, my first library job. Ten years later I still work in the same building albeit I have had three different jobs (officially), survived a two-year renovation working in a windowless warehouse-like interim building, and find myself 21 out 53 staff members in seniority. I’ve worked in 8 different offices and may be the only person to have office space on all four floors of the library building.
Here’s my progression of work:
…I started as an Access Coordinator, a position that involved both the grunt work of checking ID’s and bags but also a good introduction to ready reference and bibliographic instruction.
…After a year & a half I moved into the Interlibrary Loan/Document Deliver office and learned the wonders of OCLC Passport and making lots and lots of photocopies. I still worked a lot of hours on the desk providing access and ready reference. And I worked on Saturdays supervising the casual staff. The Tue-Sat schedule helped with library school internships albeit it made life exhausting.
…In the summer of 2003, the library was closed for renovation and ILL was folded into something Article and Book Delivery Unit which provided access to print resources stored offsite. My new digs were in a musty warehouse that also housed the university police rifle range and a kiln for the ceramics club. My desk time was curtailed significantly and I spent many hours anonymously hidden in the stacks pulling books and journals. Fun times.
…Moving into the renovated library in 2005, I resumed ILL/DocDel work and public service desk shifts but added more reference activities as a liaison to the reference team. This included verifying citations for the faculty research division, creating a reference interview training program for my Access colleagues, and responding to email reference questions.
…In the summer of 2008, I made biggest job change yet joining the Information Lifecycle Management team taking care of the school records storage programs and working in the metadata and taxonomy team.
…Just over a year ago after the departure of the Information Lifecycle Manager and some budget considerations ILM was merged into the Archives. I began reporting to the Archivist and taking on many new archival responsibilities including reference and processing.
I’ve been fortunate in that whatever my official job duties I’ve had the opportunities to learn new things. While working full time I went to library school at Simmons College greatly eased by tuition assistance and release time. Following a somewhat circuitous route I’ve found myself working in archives which is where I was interested in going from my earliest days in the field.
Sure, blogiversaries are so uncool, but blogging itself is uncool these days too. So let me uncooly celebrate the third anniversary of Panorama of the Mountains with a look back on the past year.
Three big projects of which I’m proud of are my Top 100 Favorite Books of All-Time, Top 100 Favorite Albums of All-Time, and my week long tribute to Sesame Street‘s 40th Anniversary, not to mention my ever growing Beer List. Even reading a book turned into a big project, with that book of course being James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Here are ten more posts I’m proud to have authored. The number in parentheses is the number of views for each. Not a lot of people have looked at these posts, so give them some love:
- The Best Beatles Songs You’ve Never Heard (739)
- Stadium Naming Rights (fewer than 18)
- Confessions of a St. Patrick’s Day Curmudgeon (fewer than 18)
- Old South Meeting House: Behind the Scenes (202)
- Commuting With Kids in Boston (69)
- Name That Genre (fewer than 18)
- Old MacDonald’s Farm (142)
- Cities with Mountains (100)
- Little Known Presidential Trivia (fewer than 18)
- Concert Review: Yo La Tengo (138)
Here’s to another good year – or an even better year – of blogging.
Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year. As always, this is merely the best books I read this year not books published in 2008. For previous years see 2007 and 2006, and of course Every Book I’ve Ever Read are cataloged in Library Thing.
- The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
- The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
- The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1 and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol II by M.T. Anderson
- The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle
- The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox by Steven Budiansky
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
- This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
- Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
- A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester
- The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet by Neil Degrasse Tyson
Below is the list of all the books I’ve read in the past year. Books actually published in 2008 are in bold.
Books Read in 2008
- The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (completed reading on 1/4/08)
- Slam by Nick Hornby (completed reading on 1/6/08)
- Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick (completed reading on 1/9/08)
- Pride of Baghdad by Brian K Vaughan (completed reading on 1/12/08)
- The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (completed reading on 1/20/08)
- Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat (completed reading as of 1/25/08)
- American Pastoral by Phillip Roth (completed reading on 2/6/08)
- Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To by Anthony DeStefano (completed reading on 2/9/08)
- The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (completed reading 2/13/08)
- God’s Library by Joe Paprocki (completed reading 2/12/08)
- The Radical and the Republican by James Oakes (completed reading on 2/18/08)
- The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs (completed reading on 2/23/08)
- How Big is Your God? by Paul Cutinho (currently reading as of 2/23/08)
- Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (completed reading 3/3/08)
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (completed reading as of 3/9/08)
- Hell’s Abyss, Heaven’s Grace: War and Christian Spirituality by Lawrence D. Hart (completed reading as of 3/12/08)
- Saints Behaving Badly by Thomas J. Craughwell (completed reading 3/16/08)
- Jesus Before Christianity by Albert Nolan (completed reading 3/18/08)
- The Rapture Exposed by Barbara R. Rossing (completed reading 3/20/08)
- The Misunderstood Jew by Amy-Jill Levine (completed 3/22/08)
- Googling God by Mike Hayes (completed reading 3/25/08)
- Beer: Tap Into the Art and Science of Brewing by Charles Bamforth (completed reading 3/30/08)
- The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies (completed reading 4/2/08)
- Vermeer’s Hat by Timothy Brook(completed reading 4/18/08)
- Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury (completed reading 4/15/08)
- Mets by the Numbers by Jon Springer and Matthew Silverman (completed reading 4/29/08)
- Billiards at Half-Past Nine by Heinrich Boll (completed reading 4/30/08)
- The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1 by M.T. Anderson (completed 5/2/08)
- The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle (completed reading 5/6/08)
- A Game of Brawl by Bill Felber (completed reading 5/12/08)
- The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox by Steven Budiansky (completed reading 5/14/08)
- All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well by Tod Wodicka (completed reading 5/19/08)
- Lee Miller’s War by Anthony Penrose (completed 5/28/08)
- Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar (completed 5/31/08)
- The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiecki (completed 6/6/08)
- Woman of the Inner Sea by Thomas Keneally (completed 6/11/08)
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (completed 6/19/08)
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (completed 6/28/08)
- The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe (completed 7/6/08)
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens (completed 7/9/08)
- The Declaration of Independence: A Global History by David Armitage (completed 7/11/08)
- This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust (reading as of 7/15/08)
- Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa (completed 7/24/08)
- Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple) by Jeffrey Kluger (completed 7/28/2008)
- Groundswell by Charlen Li and Josh Bernoff (completed 7/30/2008)
- Crosstown by Helen Levitt (completed 8/1/2008)
- The Confusion (Baroque Cycle Book 4: “Bonanza”) by Neal Stephenson (completed 8/5/08)
- The Joke by Milan Kundera (completed 8/13/08)
- New York Calling edited by Marshall Berman and Brian Berger (completed 8/14/2008)
- A Pocketful of History: Four Hundred Years of America–One State Quarter at a Time by Jim Noles (completed 8/15/2008)
- The Fabric of America by Andro Linklater (completed 8/19/2008)
- The Confusion (Baroque Cycle Book 5: “The Juncto”) by Neal Stephenson (completed 8/27/2008)
- Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sara Wheeler (completed 9/3/08)
- The Driftless Area by Tom Drury (completed 9/3/08)
- The black swan : the impact of the highly improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (completed 9/13/2008)
- Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky (completed 9/14/2008)
- How the States Got their Shapes by Mark Stein (completed 9/18/2008)
- Maps by Nuruddin Farrah (completed 9/26/08)
- Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote (completed 10/1/08)
- A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester (completed 10/8/08)
- Manhattan ‘45 by Jan Morris (completed 10/9/08)
- Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle (completed 10/11/08)
- Solomon’s Gold by Neal Stephenson (completed 10/16/08)
- The Blind Side by Michael Lewis (completed 10/23/08)
- The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (completed 10/29/08
- Empire Rising by Thomas Kelly (completed 10/30/08)
- The Devil We Know by Robert Baer (completed 11/5/08)
- The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol II (completed 11/13/2008)
- Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived by Daniel Wilson (completed 11/14/08)
- Middlesex by Jefferey Eugenides (completed 11/17/2008)
- Trawler by Redmond O’Hanlon (completed 11/20/08)
- Freeman Walker by David Allan Cates (completed 11/23/08)
- Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (completed 11/30/08)
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (conpleted 12/1/08)
- Respect by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot (completed 12/8/2008)
- Snakepit by Moses Isegawa (completed 12/16/08)
- Rough Crossing by Simon Schama (completed 12/17/2008)
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (read online via DailyLit from 1/1/08 – 12/17/08)
- Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (completed 12/19/08)
- The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet by Neil Degrasse Tyson (completed 12/20/2008)
- Dishwasher : one man’s quest to wash dishes in all fifty states by Pete Jordan (reading as of 12/21/2008)
- Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center by Daniel Okrent (completed 12/30/08)
Listed below are all the movies I’ve watched in the past year. Much like last year, I’ve rated all the movies on a five star scale. Five stars is an all-time classic, three stars is the baseline for an enjoyable film end-to-end, one star is a bad movie with perhaps one good sequence or performance. A film with no stars has no redeeming characteristics at all.
- **** A Very Long Engagement
- 1/2 * Crash
- **1/2 Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story
- ***Good By Lenin!
- ***The Iron Giant
- ***The Clash: Westway to the World
- **Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink)
- **The Science of Sleep
- ***Harold and Maude
- ***1/2Desk Set
- ***1/2There Will Be Blood
- ****New York: A Documentary Film
- **Hot Fuzz
- ***Jane Eyre
- ****Barton Fink
- *1/2Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man
- *Word Wars
- **Naissance des pieuvres (Water Lillies)
- ***State of the Union
- ***Strange Brew
- ****Mean Girls
- ****The Straight Story
- ****Frank Lloyd Wright
- **The Reading Room