Annual Favorites: 2005

See the February 2006 issue of The Believer for “Sentences of the Year: 10 Lines From 2005 That Stopped One Reader In His Tracks.”

New Books 
1. On Beauty: A Novel, Zadie Smith
2. Consider the Lobster & Other Essays, David Foster Wallace
3. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
4. Saturday, Ian McEwan
5. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Jeff Chang
6. The Company Car, C.J. Hribal
7. The People of Paper, Salvador Plascencia
8. What Begins With Bird, Noy Holland
9. A Matter of Opinion, Victor Navasky
10. Unformed Landscape, Peter Stamm
11. Please Don’t Come Back From the Moon, Dean Bakapolous
12. A Changed Man, Francine Prose
13. Character Studies, Mark Singer
14. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
15. Nice Big American Baby, Judy Budntiz
16. The Diviners, Rick Moody
17. Lend Me Your Character, Dubravka Ugresic

Other Books
1. On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry, William H. Gass
2. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
3. Finding a Form, William H. Gass
4. The Recognitions, William Gaddis
5. Happy Baby, Stephen Eilliot
6. Rising Up and Rising Down, Vol. 1, William T. Vollmann
7. The Writer and Religion, Edited by Lorin Cuoco and William H. Gass
8. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene
9. The Writer in Politics, Edited by Lorin Cuoco and William H. Gass
10. The Story of Our Lives, with The Monument and The Late Hour, Mark Strand
11. The Human Story, James C. Davis
12. Auguste Rodin, Rainer Maria Rilke
13. Literature is Freedom, Susan Sontag
14. All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
15. The Lime Twig, John Hawkes

New Movies
1. The Best of Youth
2. Capote
3. Goodnight and Good Luck
4. The Squid and the Whale
5. Syriana
6. A History of Violence
7. Brokeback Mountain
8. 2046
9. Wedding Crashers
10. Broken Flowers
11. Saraband
12. Batman Begins
13. Me and You and Everyone We Know

Other Movies
1. Heaven
2. Downfall
3. Tarnation
4. Million-Dollar Baby
5. Dodgeball
6. Jay Z: Fade to Black
7. Finding Neverland
8. Elizabeth
9. Napoleon Dynamite
10. The Life Aquatic
11. Comedian
12. Bad Education
13. A Very Long Engagement
14. The Sea Inside
15. House of Flying Daggers
16. The Incredibles
17. My Architect
18. Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey
19. Mondovino
20. The Motorcycle Diaries
21. Ninotchka
22. Another Woman

New Records
1. Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
2. Chris Mills, The Wall to Wall Sessions
3. Kanye West, Late Registration
4. Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
5. Sigur Ros, Takk
6. Low, The Great Destroyer
7. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
8. M. Ward, Transistor Radio
9. Beethoven, Late Quartets (Takács Quartet) 
10. Bonnie Prince Billy & Matt Sweeney, Superwolf
11. Bartok, The Piano Concertos (Berliner Philh., L.O. Andsnes & P. Boulez)

Other Records
1. Iron & Wine, Woman King (2005 EP) 
2. Grandaddy, Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla (2005 EP) 
3. Shostakovich, 24 Preludes & Fugues (Keith Jarrett) 
4. Chet Baker, Chet Baker in Paris
5. Efterklang, Tripper
6. Brahms, Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79; Piano Pieces, Opp. 117-119 (Radu Lupu)

Random Shouts-Out
My favorite new computer program was the online-library-creating Booxter. Watching seasons one and two of HBO’s “The Wire” — on DVD from Netflix — was one of the year’s major highlights. A knock-out show. If you haven’t seen those complete seasons yet, follow the advice of B. Stiller in Starsky & Hutch. (“Doooo it.”) Lastly: Cheers to Tamara for agreeing to marry me. Your single sentence on 9/16/05 was without a doubt my favorite of the year.