This time last year, I characterized 2010 as my most difficult year ever. 2011 was much better: still hard, but with lots of good stuff, too. I don't regret the trials I've experienced over the past two years. Looking back, I am reminded of those lines from Leonard Cohen's "Anthem": "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in." I've been blessed with many glimpses of light in past months, which means I have to be grateful for those cracks, right?
Anyway, here are my highlights of the past year.
Best Books Read:
This year, I’ve decided to rank only books I read for the first time (no re-reads, as in years past). I’m also only ranking books by writers whom I don’t know personally.
3. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, by Wendy Watson Nelson
Now I’ll list some outstanding books written by people I do know. These are in no particular order—but they’re all worth your time.
Special Mention: Unwound, by Lee Ann Setzer—This book isn’t published yet. Lee Ann is in my critique group, so I got the immense privilege of reading this YA historical fantasy a few weeks ago. What. A. Joy. Definitely one of the best books I read this year. My prediction: Lee Ann is the next Shannon Hale. Remember, you read it here first.
Best Music Purchased:
Best Movies Seen (I am wayyyy behind on movie viewing right now):
1. Jane Eyre
2. Midnight in Paris
3. Harry Potter 7.2
4. Super 8
6. The Help
7. Cowboys and Aliens
8. The Adjustment Bureau
9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Most Disappointing Movie:
2011 Movies on my To See List (See? Wayyy behind):
We Bought a Zoo
The Adventures of Tintin
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Kung Fu Panda 2
Queen to Play
The Tree of Life
Best Meals Eaten:
1. Private party at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
2. Craft, NYC
3. Maze, NYC
4. Thanksgiving Dinner, Cold Spring, NY
5. Em’s, Salt Lake City, UT
6. Café Cluny, NYC
7. Bernard’s Inn, Ridgefield, CT
8. Keens Steakhouse, NYC
10. Valley, Garrison, NY
Best Theatre of the Year:
Musical—Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway—DIVINE.
Play—The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett—TRANSCENDENT.
Concert—Great Big Sea—AGAIN and ALWAYS.