Tuesday, December 27, 2011

top 11 of 2011

The more parents of young children I know, the more I hear some version of the following sentiment: Oh, I used to try to keep up with what was cool, but now I spend my days listening to [annoying kids’ album of the moment] and wiping up puke.

AK and I have all but pinky sworn that we won’t do this. It’s not that we don’t expect—even hope—that the puke-to-museum-going ratio in our lives will change once we convince someone to give us a kid. But for us, the arts aren’t about having something cool to talk about at parties. (Lately I would feel a thousand times cooler if I could talk about wiping up puke.) Books and movies aren’t some kind of shorthand for how edgy we are or aren’t. They’re as life-sustaining as friendship and work.

Coolness is about what’s new, something I gave up on long ago, as evidenced by my list of favorite books this year, one of which was published in 1905. But culture is forever.

So with that overly sincere intro, I present my annual, completely-irrelevant-to-anyone-but-me list of the best stuff I read and saw. The common theme seems to be trauma and its aftermath, or Shit Happens And We All Muddle Through And Sometimes Laugh Or Make Art.

Books

1. Room by Emma Donoghue

2. The False Friend by Myla Goldberg

3. More Than it Hurts You by Darin Strauss

4. By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

5. Bossypants by Tina Fey

6. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Honorable mention: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, Pinko by Jen Benka, Stealing Angel by Terry Wolverton

Movies

1. Take Shelter

2. Young Adult

3. The Future

4. The Poetry of Resilience

5. Martha Marcy May Marlene

Honorable mention: Hanna, Bridesmaids, Melancholia, Urbanized, Beginners, Unstoppable, The King’s Speech (occupying the regular spot of Movie From Last Year That I Didn’t See Until Late January But Really Loved And Now I’m Not Sure Where To Put It)

4 comments:

Cheryl said...

Post-post conversation:

Me: Do I come off sounding like a bitter barren woman again?

AK: Not exactly, more that it's all, "When WE'RE parents, we won't be uncool like that."

Me: No! That's the opposite of what I'm saying!

AK: [Reading again] Okay, yeah, sorry--I was reading it too fast. People won't think you're a too-cool bitter barren woman.

Me: Ugh, yes they will. It's the internet--reading too fast is what people do.

Claire said...

The post-post really made me laugh. I had read your post before your comment was up. Think I starred it intending to comment later but now am not sure what I was going to say.

Perhaps that I haven't seen any of the movies except The King's Speech which puts me at least a year back in pop culture. Oh, also that my parents took me to lots of museums, gardens, houses (to tour-oh, how I hated the tours) and that definitely shaped the person I am now. I never thought they were cool. So, you know, no worries. ;)

Cheryl said...

My parents took me to lots of historical houses too, although my dad hated museums (and my mom was an art history major--I only recently realized her sacrifice!). Today's boring family outing is tomorrow's cultured adulthood, right?

Jesi said...

wow! i'm jealous! you see a lot of movies and read a lot of books. i rarely go to the theatre anymore. too expensive and i have netflix. so why pay the 10$ but i feel i am missing out. didn't really see any good movies this year. but then again didn't i go to the theatre. ha!