Annual Favorites: 2010

So at the end of just about every year since 2000, I’ve rounded up my favorite (mainly cultural) stuff of the previous 12 months and posted it online. Here are my picks for 2010:

Books (Any Year)

  1. Stoner, by John Williams
  2. The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, by David Remnick
  3. Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, by David Lipsky
  4. Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett, by James R. Knowlson
  5. The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright
  6. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Obama
  7. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, by Zadie Smith
  8. Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers
  9. The Coming of the Third Reich, by Richard J. Evans
  10. The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, by Elif Batuman
  11. The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton
  12. Kafka: The Diaries, 1910-23, by Franz Kafka
  13. Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books Jo Steffens (ed.)
  14. Status Anxiety, by Alain de Botton
  15. Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill
  16. The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, by Daniel Mendelsohn
  17. The Thousand Summers of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell
  18. The Tin Drum, by Günter Grass
  19. 2666, by Roberto Bolaño
  20. Bluebird: A Memoir, Vesna Maric
  21. Drink This: Wine Made Simple, by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
  22. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
  23. Shouting Down the Silence: A Biography of Stanley Elkin, by David C. Dougherty
  24. The Great Fire, by Shirley Hazzard

Also: Since I don’t usually read coffee-table books from front to back and truly finish them, I rarely list them on my Annual Favorites. But a few I’ve enjoyed reading in sections this past year are the collection catalogues for The Pergamon and the Museum Berggruen. I also enjoyed the catalogue for Dresden’s Galerie Neue Meister, even though the German-language entries are beyond my reach. But the pictures: beautiful.

2010 Movies

  1. Winter’s Bone (#1 by a mile)
  2. The Kids Are All Right
  3. Greenberg
  4. The White Ribbon
  5. The Social Network
  6. The American
  7. Inception
  8. Somewhere
  9. The Ghost Writer
  10. Fair Game
  11. Solitary Man

Disappointments: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; the latest Harry Potter, though I wasn’t expecting much; and Please Give and I Am Love, which I found admirable, interesting efforts but ultimately frustrating mark-missers.

Pre-2010 Movies

  1. Bright Star
  2. A Single Man
  3. Up
  4. Howards End
  5. The Importance of Being Earnest (2002 version)
  6. La Cérémonie
  7. In the Loop
  8. The Hurt Locker
  9. Crazy Heart
  10. The Informant!
  11. Waiting for Godot
  12. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (TV series)
  13. All About Eve
  14. Broken Embraces
  15. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

2010 Music

  1. Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me
  2. Stephen Hough, Chopin: Late Masterpieces
  3. Midlake, The Courage of Others
  4. Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, Dark Night of the Soul
  5. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  6. Jónsi, Go
  7. David Bazan, Curse Your Branches
  8. Das Racist, Sit Down, Man

Pre-2010 Music

  1. Jason Lytle, Yours Truly, The Commuter
  2. Clem Snide, Your Favorite Music
  3. Jay Z, Reasonable Doubt
  4. Nas, Illmatic
  5. Colin Meloy: Colin Meloy Sings Live!
  6. Arthur Foote, Piano Trios Nos. 1 and 2
  7. Mstislav Rostropovich, Beethoven: Sonatas for Cello and Piano

TV Shows

  1. In Treatment, Season 2
  2. 30 Rock
  3. Stewart & Colbert
  4. Modern Family
  5. Mad Men, Season 5
  6. Foyle’s War
  7. Damages, Season 3
  8. Sherlock (BBC)
  9. Wallander (PBS)

Museum Exhibitions

  1. Color Fields, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin
  2. HItler and the Germans: Nation and Crime, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
  3. Stylus: A Project by Ann Hamilton, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis
  4. Ernest Trova, White Flag Projects, St. Louis
  5. Der Frühe Vermeer, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
  6. Michael Eastman and Robert Mazrim: Excavating the Empty Globe, Duane Reed Gallery, St. Louis
  7. Urban Alchemy/Gordon Matta-Clark, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis

Museum Collections Seen for the First Time

  1. Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden
  2. Museum Berggruen, Berlin
  3. Jüdisches Museum, Berlin
  4. The Pergamon Museum, Berlin
  5. Mucha Museum, Prague
  6. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
  7. Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden
  8. Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
  9. Franz Kafka Museum, Prague
  10. Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin
  11. Museum of Check Cubism, Prague


  1. An incredible red whose name has slipped away; served at Tres Tapas, Berlin
  2. Mas de Guiot Cabernet Syrah “Alex,” 2005
  3. Mount Veeder Cabernet, 2006
  4. Slingshot Cabernet, 2007
  5. Optimis Minervois, 2008
  6. Heron Pinot Noir, 2008
  7. Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Riserva, 2005
  8. Alexander Valley Cabernet, 2007
  9. Velle Valée Blend, 2005
  10. Paul-André Barriat Bergerac, 2008

Software/Technology Used for the First Time

  1. Notational Velocity (synched w/ Simplenote)
  2. 1Password
  3. Ronin
  4. LaunchBar
  5. Virb
  6. Instagram
  7. Carbonmade
  8. Due App
  9. Posterous
  10. TaskPaper
  11. MarsEdit