We had dinner with our friend Trevor a few days ago. As we got caught up with one another, he mentioned that he was currently at work on his soon-to-be-released "Best of the Decade" list. This Bear of Very Little Brain is not so ambitious. It's all I can do to record and recall what I've read, seen, and otherwise experienced in the past twelve months. I'll leave the decade retrospectives to smarter people (like John Scalzi and Trevor). Following is what I thought was most memorable about 2009.
Best Books (Read or Re-Read):
1. M. Catherine Thomas, Selected Writings
2. Allegra Goodman, Kaaterskill Falls
3. Ysabeau Wilce, Flora Segunda
4. Larry Brooks, Story Structure Demystified
5. Janet Soskice, The Sisters of Sinai
6. Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses
7. Tahmaseb/Vance, The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading
8. Herve This, Molecular Gastronomy
9. Kathryn Stockett, The Help
10. Neal Stephenson, Anathem
Worst Book of the Year: Nick McDonnell's An Expensive Education
Best Eating Experiences:
Top Movies Seen (I haven't seen very many):
Where the Wild Things Are
Julie & Julia
Worst Movie of the Year: Year One (Please, oh please may I have that 97 minutes back?)
Top Music Downloads:
1. The Avett Brothers, "I and Love and You"
2. Great Big Sea, "When I'm Up"
3. Eddie Vedder, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away"
4. Sting, "The Snow It Melts the Soonest"
5. Straight No Chaser, "The Twelve Days of Christmas"
Greatest Personal Accomplishments:
1. Planning, catering, and cheerleading our family's three-week trip to France
2. Helping friends in need
3. Breaking down a few genealogical brick walls on some of my family's lines
4. Not literally bursting with pride while watching my sons perform
5. Giving two successful lecture series on Family History and Temple Work
6. Producing some rocking-fun Sharing Times in Primary
7. Getting my short stories "Fugue" and "Truck Stop" published
8. Perservering in the novel submission process
9. Getting on the Clapotis bandwagon with great results
10. Making a successful Pandoro from scratch
It was a quiet but lovely year. I feel like I'm slowly but surely achieving better balance in the various aspects of my life. I have big plans for 2010, mostly having to do with more structure and consistency in my daily routines. Here's to the year ahead!