Tag Archives: Best List

Emilie’s 2010 Best List

I’ve been thinking about this post in the back of my head for the last few weeks. And now it’s come time to look back at my favorites of the year…

Books are pretty easy because I read fewer books this year than…ever. At least, any year since I’ve been keeping track and that’s a decade’s worth of reading. The last time I read fewer than 100 books in a year was my second year of grad school and I read considerably fewer than 100 books this year. So my quantity was down, but not the quality – a read quite a few books this year that I’d had on my to-read list a while.

1. Kai Meyer‘s The Dark Reflections Trilogy and most of The Wave Walkers Trilogy
2. Rebecca Cantrell‘s A Trace of Smoke
3. Audrey Niffennegger‘s The Time Traveler’s Wife
4. John Kennedy Toole‘s A Confederacy of Dunces
5. Alice Sebold‘s The Lovely Bones
6. David Madden‘s Abducted by Circumstance
7. Mary McMyne‘s Wait. (manuscript)
8. Suzanne Collins‘s last Hunger Games book Mockingjay
9. M.O. Walsh‘s The Prospect of Magic
10. Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy (still working on the last, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest)

In the interests of full disclosure, I have some reservations about labeling some of these “best,” as I had some issues with a few of these books – notably Stieg Larsson’s books and The Lovely Bones – but they are unconditionally the ones that I invested the most time in, spent time thinking about. And there are some absolutely stellar BEST books on this list. And, of course, I read dozens of short stories through my work with Narrative, several of which I’d love to put on a best list, but can’t disclose. Interestingly, there’s no non-fiction on my list this year.

I actually saw quite a few movies in the theater this year, or maybe they stand out because I quite liked so many that I saw there. Rentals were often disappointing – slightly better than I’d expected or boring or not as good as I’d heard. So this is tough, but the movies I enjoyed the most this year:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (I have to do it, it was so good…)
2. Inception (I saw it 3.5 times in the theater)
3. Toy Story 3 (Pixar has always been really smart with these sequels)
4. Easy A (it was as funny and good as my favorite 80s comedies)
5. Red (it was like Sneakers jacked up, so of course I loved it)
6. Exit Through the Gift Shop (of course, it’s about Banksy)
7. Going the Distance, Get Him to the Greek (a tie)
8. Twilight: Eclipse and How to Train Your Dragon (a tie)
9. Nine (I love musicals)
10. The Kids are Alright

Honorable mentions: Last Station, Hereafter, Black Swan, True Grit, Despicable Me, The Ramen Girl, St. Trinian’s, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, The Young Victoria and Coco Before Chanel.

TV had to take a serious back burner this year because I never knew when I’d get home from work and had so much going on. This list is basically comprised of the shows that I kept up with in the chaos. Also, it should be said that I watched every episode of Law & Order SVU through Season 10 this year.

1. So You Think You Can Dance
2. Survivor
3. Castle
4. Glee
5. Raising Hope
6. Dancing with the Stars
7. United States of Tara
8. How I Met Your Mother
9. Bones
10. Fringe

My super notables:  The Tudors, In Plain Sight and 30 Rock.

I might go so far as to say that music was one of my biggest influences this year. I probably went to more concerts this year than I have every other year combined. Because my favorite songs are generally still my favorite songs from last year and the year before (with a few new exceptions), I’d much rather outline the best concerts of the year and the cds that I’ve been listening to obsessively.


1. Lissie‘s Catching a Tiger, as well as her EP Why You Runnin’
2. Roisin Murphy‘s Ruby Blue
3. Mark Growden‘s Saint Judas
4. The Dresden Dolls‘s Yes, Virginia…
5. Black Gold‘s Rush


1. Dresden Dolls at Tipitina’s in New Orleans
2. Black Gold at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
3. Citizen Cope at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
4. Simon Lott at Hi Ho Lounge in New Orleans
5. Mark Growden at Circle Bar in New Orleans

I think that just about covers the highlights of 2010, so all that’s left to say is Happy 2011!


Filed under books, movies, music, New Orleans, pop culture, t.v., what I'm reading

Emilie 2009 Best List

This best list has been haunting me and scaring me for a while. There was sooo much going on in 2009 and I’m so eager for 2010 that it actually went against the grain to reflect about everything and somehow select my hits list.

Books were relatively easy. I read fewer this year (112) and the ones I did read were pretty astounding. The ones that I liked the best actually jumped out at me pretty quickly. Here’s a list of my 15 favorites in roughly the order I read them in 2009:

1. Lock and Key Sarah Dessen
2. Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout
3. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire Suzanne Collins (can’t WAIT for the last book to release this August)
4. Cures for Heartbreak Margo Rabb
5. The Song Is You Arthur Phillips
6. Beat the Reaper Josh Bazell
7. Poor Man’s Provence Rheta Grimsley Johnson
8. Darling Jim Christian Moerk
9. What I Saw and How I Lied Judy Blundell
10. Dust and Shadow Lindsay Faye
11. The Beekeeper’s Son Stephanie Nash (manuscript, not available yet)
12. More of This World or Maybe Another Barb Johnson
13. The Girl She Used to Be David Cristofano
14. Something Missing Matthew Dicks
15. The Weight of Silence Heather Gudenkauf

I don’t normally go for short stories, yet I had two collections on my list this year. I don’t usually read a lot of mysteries, yet there are a few on my list – which does go to show that a lot of the books I read this year were recommendations and/or books I read in order to write them up. My notables would be Louis Maistros’s The Sound of Building Coffins, Toni McGee Causey’s When A Man Loves a Weapon and Clarence Nero’s Too Much of a Good Thing Ain’t Bad.

Again, I didn’t see as many movies in the theater this year, but I did manage to see quite a few. Not even as many as last year, however, some do stand out in my mind:

1. The Fall (oh, Lee Pace)
2. The Lucky Ones
3. Hurricane on the Bayou
4. Coraline
5. Fanboys
6. Phoebe in Wonderland
7. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (best rom-com tie with…)
8. Star Trek
9. The Proposal (best rom-com, tied with Ghosts of Girlfriends Past)
10. Sunshine Cleaning
11. The Brothers Bloom
12. New Moon (okay, I just have to say it, I enjoyed it enough to see it twice)
13. Avatar
14. (500) Days of Summer
15. Couldn’t decide between Fame and Slumdog Millionaire because I liked both and had problems with both. Oh, I know! Dil Bol Hadippa!

Notables: Both Inkheart and City of Ember made me like the books they were based on better, which is a little backwards, I know.

TV was strange for me this year. I watched hardly any show when I was “supposed to,” and instead had catch up days (usually Sundays). And then, I also caught up on several t.v. shows all in big gulps via Netflix, including all 5 seasons of Lost in one single month.
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. Bones
3. Castle
4. So You Think You Can Dance (two seasons this year!)
5. Fringe
6. Dollhouse (so sad this has been cancelled)
7. Accidentally on Purpose
8. Survivor
9. Vampire Diaries (I read the books growing up and was soo worried, but this is actually a good show)
10. In Plain Sight

My super notables: Lost, The Tudors, and 30 Rock.

I went a little crazy with music this year. Even more so than last year. So much so that this is an impossible list. I limited myself to music I’d either added to my collection this year or had a new, special significance for me this year. Still, I could edit it a million times and never get it entirely right. But here’s some rightness:

1. How Do You Do Mouth and MacNeil
2. Let the Drummer Kick Citizen Cope
3. Ex-Girlfriend Syndrome Charlotte Sometimes
4. The Beast Angus & Julia Stone
5. Heartless Kanye West
6. Cold Cold Water Mirah
7. No Envy No Fear Joshua Radin
8. No You Girls Never Know Franz Ferdinand
9. Lemon Grove Avenue Mason Jennings
10. Coin Operated Boy The Dresden Dolls
11. Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down Scott Weiland
12. Why D’ya Do It Marianne Faithfull (mostly cause I *really* heard the lyrics for the first time in my life)
13. Today Zero 7
14. Jungle Drum Emiliana Torrini
15. The Scientist Natasha Bedingfeld
16. I Told You So Carrie Underwood (and the version with Randy Travis)
17. If I Didn’t Care For You Amy Adams and Lee Pace (Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day)
18. Jezebel Two Hours Traffic
19. Ain’t No Sunshine Kris Allen (Heartless and Falling Slowly)
20. Set Fire to the Third Bar Snow Patrol ft. Martha Wainwright
21. Blood Mother Fucking Asshole Martha Wainwright
22. Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down Isobel Campbell
23. Fuck Was I Jenny Owen Youngs
24. Everybody Knows Elizabeth & the Catapult
25. Marked Man Mieka Pauley
26. Bed Is for Sleeping Bonnie Prince Billy
27. Feeling Good My Brightest Diamond and Adam Lambert (two versions)
28. Falling in Love Again Christina Aguilera and Marlene Dietrich (two versions)
29. Bad Things Jace Everett
30. Bitter Heart Zee Avi
31. Cold Cold Ground Tom Waits
32. Black and Gold Sam Sparro and Katy Perry (two versions)
33. Gnossiennes No. 1 Erick Satie
34. Maybe Next Year Meiko
35. How My Heart Behaves Feist

Albums – the year of the mix. I bought only a handful of c.d.s this year and when I did, they were almost always from the artist themselves. Here are a few I loved:

1. Early cut of the Dare soundtrack. – Just FYI, you won’t find this anywhere. My friend Dave is the music supervisor and let me keep an early cut he was working on when he visited me. Only about 4 songs remained when he finished the final version. But, it turns out that this early cut is an almost perfect soundtrack for the New Orleans-Baton Rouge trip I make regularly.
2. Fuel/Friends’ Twenty from Year Three Mix November 29, 2008 – Excellent music. Great for the Nola-Atl roadtrip, when I’m finishing up the desolate Mobile-Montgomery run and need a wake up.
3. The Devil Makes Three‘s Do Wrong Right – Got hooked in a friend’s car and went to two great DMT shows this year.
4. Elizabeth & the Catapult‘s Taller Children
5. Two-way tie: Wazozo’s Newton Circus and Hurray for the Riff Raff’s It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You (both local). Hurray for the Riff Raff has a Daytrotter Session you should check out.

This year’s favorite performers (trying not to repeat artists from last year, who are unquestionably perennial in my book):

1. Angus & Julia Stone
2. Andrew Bird
3. Antony & the Johnsons
4. Bat for Lashes
5. Bonnie Prince Billy
6. The Devil Makes Three
7. Elizabeth & the Catapult
8. Emmy the Great
9. Florence and the Machine
10. Hem
11. Hurray for the Riff Raff
12. Madeline Peyroux
13. Margot & the Nuclear So-and-So’s
14. Neko Case
15. The Noisettes
16. Over the Rhine
17. Paper Moon
18. Sleeply Rebels
19. St. Vincent
20. Stars
21. Tilly and the Wall
22. Vitamin String Quartet

I should add that I had to rebuild everything on my computer around November of this year, when all was wiped from my hard drive (probably the fault of my copious amounts of music), so this year’s lists are even more special because they represent what I remember best, with very little confirmation. I’ll keep track better of the things I love in the coming year.

Hands down, the post that got the most attention here on the blog in 2009 was my write up of Banksy graffiti and street art in general. My daily hits have increased about 75% and remained steady since I wrote that post. Thanks for all the reads, everyone all over the world. My resolution is to find a good balance in 2010 in the number and quality of posts (2008 had more each month, 2009 probably had more interesting and focused posts). I hope you’ll resolve to comment more so we can have a conversation here on the blog!

Happy 2010!


Filed under movies, music, pop culture, Uncategorized