Annual Favorites

One of my personal traditions is an end-of-year tally of my favorite (mainly cultural) stuff of the previous 12 months. Here’s the list.

2009 Favorites

New Books
1. The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work, by Alain De Botton
2. The Paris Review Interviews IV
3. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick
4. The Age of Wonder, by Richard Holmes
5. Speak Low: Poems, by Carl Phillips
6. One D.O.A., One On the Way, by Mary Robison
7. The Uncrowned King, by Kenneth Whyte
8. Say Everything, by Scott Rosenberg
9. The Conqueror, by Jan Kjaerstad
10. John Milton, by David Hawkes

Other Books
1. The World Is What It Is, by Patrick French
2. Nothing to Be Frightened Of, by Julian Barnes
3. Angels & Ages, by Adam Gopnik
4. The Dark Side, by Jane Mayer
5. The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman
6. The Sacred Depths of Nature, by Ursula Goodenough
7. Cartesian Sonata and Other Novellas, by William H. Gass
8. Making Sense of Wine, by Matt Kramer
9. The Lazarus Project, by Aleksandar Hemon
10. The Billionaire’s Vinegar, by Benjamin Wallace
11. A Hedonist in the Cellar, by Jay McInerney
12. Czeslaw Milosz: Conversations , ed. Cynthia L. Haven
13. Reborn: Journals & Notebooks, 1947-1963, by Susan Sontag

Theater Movies
1. Where the Wild Things Are
2. A Serious Man
3. Fantastic Mr. Fox
4. (500) Days of Summer
5. An Education
6. Inglorious Basterds
7. Summer Hours
8. Star Trek
9. Up in the Air
10. Slumdog Millionaire
11. Food, Inc.
12. A Christmas Carol

Rented/Streamed Movies
1. Man on Wire
2. Wall-E
3. Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait
4. Paranoid Park
5. Synecdoche, New York
6. Rachel Getting Married
7. Frost/Nixon
8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
9. In Bruges
10. Julie & Julia
11. Adventureland
12. Doubt
13. Tell No One
14. The Reader
15. Hamlet 2
16. Away We Go
17. You’re Welcome, America
18. Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger
19. Alien

(Disappointments: The International; I Love You, Man; Whatever Works; Funny People; Invictus.)

Music
Again, another lame year w/o real engagement in finding/listening to new music — getting by with my library of old. Bought almost nothing new (I really liked David Bazan’s new stuff that he offered online, but didn’t pull the trigger on the record) and went to only a few shows. Bonnie Prince Billy (finally) was the year’s highlight on that front, followed by a few SLSO performers at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts for ‘Ideal (Dis) Placements.’ 

TV
1. In Treatment (HBO, via Netflix)
2. Mad Men (HBO, via iTunes)
3. Damages (FX, via Hulu)
4. 30 Rock (NBC)
5. The Office (NBC)
6. Foyle’s War (PBS)

Exhibitions
1. Cezanne & Beyond, Philadelphia Museum of Art
2. Ideal (Dis-)Placements, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
3. Five Centuries of Japanese Screens, Saint Louis Art Museum
4. Strange Bodies, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
5. Louise Bourgeois, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
6. Power and Glory: Court Arts of China’s Ming Dynasty, Saint Louis Art Museum
7. Chance Aesthetics, Kemper Art Museum

(Plus memorable introductions to the permanent collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art (though much of it was closed for renovation), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (!), and the National Gallery.)

Wines
1. L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005, WA (home)
2. Nicholson Jones Selec. Cabernet Sauv., 2005, California (Robust)
3. Colosi Nero d’Avila, 2006, Sicily, Italy (Acero)
4. Eric Ross Struttin’ Red, 2007, California (home)
5. Nicholson Jones Selec. N. Valley Cuvée, 2005, California (Robust)
6. Lucien Albrecht Gewürztraminer Reis., 2006, Alsace, France (ME’s)
7. Château Beaulieu Comtes de Tastes Bordeaux Blend, 2003, France (M’s)
8. Casa Lapostolle Sauv Blanc, 2008, Rapel Valley, Chile (home)
9. Hahn Estates Syrah, 2007, California (Robust)
10. Urban Uco Torrontes, 2007, Argentina (not sure)
11. Errazuriz Carmenère, 2007, Chile (Robust)
12. Real Stones, 2007, Bordeaux, France (home)
13. Alain Jaume Cotes du Ventoux Les Gelinottes, 2007, S. Rhone, France (home)
14. Adelsheim Auxerois, 2006, Oregon (WG’s)
15. Broadbent Vinho Verde, 2007, Portugal (home)
18. Jed Steele Shooting Star Syrah, 2007, California (Roxane)
19. Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha, 2007, Spain (ME’s)
20. Carramimbre Crianza, 2004, Spain (home)
21. Domaine de la Bastide Syrah, France (home)

Technology & Software
Among my favorite tech offerings that I used for the first time in 2009:

1. iPhone
2. Things
3. Instapaper (especially the iPhone app)
4. Evernote
5. DEVONthink
6. Tweetie (for Mac and iPhone)
7. Backblaze
8. Caffeine
9. Droplr

Cheers also to 37Signals for their perfectly executed Lanchpad, which has only improved my daily interactions with Basecamp, Highrise, and Backpack.

2008 Favorites

New Books
1. Home, by Marilynne Robinson
2. The Paris Review Interviews, Volume III, edited by Philip Gourevitch
3. Nobody’s Home: Essays, by Dubravka Ugresic
4. Personal Days, by Ed Park
5. The Immediate Touch: German, Austrian, and Swiss Drawings from St. Louis Collections, 1946-2005, by Francesca Herndon-Consagra, Sydney Norton and others (including my wife) 
6. Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel, by Edmund White
7. The Mirror in the Well, by Micheline Aharonian Marcom
8. Reflections of a Wine Merchant: On a Lifetime in the Vineyards and Cellars of France and Italy, by Neal I. Rosenthal

Other Books
1. James Joyce, by Richard Ellmann
2. Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo, by Roger Cohen
3. The Accidental Connoisseur: An Irreverent Journey Through the Wine World, by Lawrence Osborne
4. The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, by J. Toobin
5. Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris tasting That Revolutionized Wine, by George M. Taber
6. Elegant Complexity: A Study of DFW’s Infinite Jest, by Greg Carlisle
7. Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium, Zung ed.
8. Open Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996, by Seamus Heaney
9. The Discomfort Zone, by Jonathan Franzen
10. American Sucker, by David Denby
11. Henry James: The Young Master, by Sheldon M. Novick

Theater Movies
1. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
2. Milk
3. There Will Be Blood
4. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days
5. Revolutionary Road
6. Quantum of Solace
7. I’ve Loved You So Long
8. Michael Clayton
9. Burn After Reading
10. Four Christmases

(Disappointments: The Dark Knight, Margot at the Wedding.)

Rented/Streamed Movies
1. Once
2. Hamlet (that really long one) 
3. Away From Her
4. Rocket Science
5. The Savages
6. Charlie Wilson’s War
7. Notes on a Scandal
8. Before the Devil Knows Your Dead
9. I’m Not There
10. Gone Baby Gone
11. Atonement
12. Cassandra’s Dream
13. The Simpsons Movie
14. Walk Hard
15. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
16. Miller’s Crossing

TV
1. Mad Men, Seasons 1 and 2 (AMC) 
2. State of Play (BBC) 
3. Bush’s War (PBS)

Music
Feeling lazy in terms of listing, but highlights that come to mind are the Radiohead show here in St. Louis, and the newest albums from Conor Oberst, Smog, Bon Iver, Midlake, Damien Jurado, Chris Mills, Horse Feathers and Little Wayne. New discovery: Explosions in the Sky. (Thanks, Austin City Limits.)

(Disappointment: Iron & Wine’s noodly show at the Pageant.)

Technology
1. Dropbox
2. Things
3. Twitter

Wines
1. Field Stone “Convivio Red” 2005, CA
2. L de Lyeth Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, Sonoma, CA
3. Tangley Oaks Merlot, 2006, Napa Valley, CA
4. Artadi Orobio 2006, Rioja, Spain
5. Gemtree Tadpole Shiraz/Cab, Australia
6. Veramonte “Reserva” Sauvignon Blanc, 2007, Chile
7. Domaine Paul Blanck Pinot Blanc D’Alsace 2004, Alsace, France
8. Chandler Hill Merlot 2002, Sonoma, CA
9. Artadi Orobio Blanco 2006, Rioja, Spain
10. Elsa Bianchi Torrentes, 2007, Argentina
11. Dorigo Refosco 2006, Fruili-Venezia, Italy
12. Con Class 2007, Rueda, Spain
13. NV Leo Hillinger Secco Sparking Pinot Noir
14. San Felipe Malbec 2007, Mendoza, Argentina
15. Gloria Ferrer Etesian Pinot Noir 2005
16. Bodegas Naia Verdejo 2006, Spain
17. Piccolo Cru, Blend 2005, CA
18. Primaterra Pinot Grigio 2004, Veneto, Italy
19. Boutari Moshofilero, Greece
20. Edna Valley Merlot, Paso Roble

2007 Favorites

I added a few new categories this year, perhaps in an attempt to compensate for the significant drop in the number of new books read. I blame the new job I took in April.

New Books
1. The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross
2. Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems, Carl Phillips
3. Falling Man, Don DeLillo
4. Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris

Other Books
1. JR, William Gaddis
2. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
3. The Emperor’s Children, Claire Messud
4. The Broken Estate, James Wood
5. Collapse, Jared Diamond
6. The Courtier & the Heretic, Matthew Stewart
7. The Emperor of Wine, Elin McCoy
8. Doubt: A History, Jennifer MIchael Hecht
9. The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong
10. Garden, Ashes, Danilo Kis

New Movies
1. Juno
2. The Lives of Others
3. The Darjeeling Limited
4. No Country for Old Men
5. 2 Days in Paris
6. No End in Sight
7. The Bourne Ultimatum

Other Movies
1. Infamous
2. Little Children
3. Blades of Glory
4. Blood Diamond
5. Babel
6. Fracture
7. Fitzcarraldo
8. Talladega Nights
9. Ocean’s 13

New Records
1. Radiohead, In Rainbows
2. Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
3. Iron & Wine, The Shepherd’s Dog
4. Kanye West, Graduation

Other Records
1. Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
2. Bjork, Vespertine Live
3. Grizzly Bear, Yellow House
4. The Decemberists, Castaways & Cutouts
5. Richard Strauss, Four Last Songs (Karajan, Berlin Phil Orch) 
6. Jay Z, The Black Album
7. Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor
8. Sufjan Stevens, Seven Swans
9. Pedro the Lion, Achilles’ Heel
10. Nielsen, String Quartets Vol. 1 (Young Danish String Q) 
11. Pedro the Lion, Winners Never Quit
12. Kanye West, Graduation
13. Mogwai, Zidane: A 20th-Century Portrait
14. Leon Fleisher, Two Hands
15. Stars of the Lid, And Their Refinement of the Decline

TV
1. “The Wire,” Season 4
2. “30 Rock”

Wines
1. Domaine de la Charbonniére Vacqueyras, 2003
2. Peterson Cabernet Sauvignon Bradford Mountain Vineyard, 2002
3. Oriel Hugo Zinfandel, 2004
4. Napa Cellars Merlot, 2005
5. Hahn Syrah, 2005
6. Rutherford Hill Merlot, 2003
7. Henry’s Drive Pillar Box Red, 2004
8. Burley Fox Shiraz, 2006

2006 Favorites

New Books
1. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
2. A Temple of Texts, William H. Gass
3. Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences, L. Weschler
4. What is the What, Dave Eggers
5. Riding Westward: Poems, Carl Phillips
6. Black Swan Green, David Mitchell
7. The Paris Review Interviews, I, ed. Philip Gourevitch
8. The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
9. Wild Edges: Photographic Ink Prints, Gregory Conniff
10. State of Denial, Bob Woodward
11. Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart
12. All Aunt Hagar’s Children, Edward P. Jones

New Audio Books
1. The Tunnel, William H. Gass

Other Books
1. A History of God, Karen Armstrong
2. Fallingwater Rising, Franklin Toker
3. The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America, L. Menand
4. Guernica: The Biography of a 20th-Century Icon, Gijs van Hensbergen
5. Ghostwritten, David Mitchell
6. The Waves, Virginia Woolf
7. The Rest of Love: Poems, Carl Phillips
8. The Age of Wire and String, James Marcus
9. The World Within the Word, William H. Gass
10. Soren Kierkegaard: A Biography, Joakim Garff
11. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, J. Diamond
12. Czeslaw Milosz: New and Collected Poems 1931 - 2001
13. Literary St. Louis: A Guide, W. Gass & Lorin Cuoco
14. Vermeer in Bosnia, Lawrence Weschler
15. The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
16. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible & Why, Ehrman
17. Borges: A Life, Edwin Williamson
18. Herzog, Saul Bellow
19. Ariel, Sylvia Plath
20. Isaac Newton, James Gleick
21. Cigarettes, Harry Mathews
22. Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab Sys., Shavelson
23. Rimbaud Complete (trans. Wyatt Mason) 
24. Number9Dream, David Mitchell
25. Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler
26. Understanding William H. Gass, H.L. Hix
27. Into the Tunnel: Readings of Gass’s Novel (eds. Kellman and Malin) 
28. William Gass, Watson L. Holloway

New Movies
1. Little Miss Sunshine
2. The Departed
3. United 93
4. Casino Royale
5. The Wendell Baker Story
6. Inside Man
7. Scoop
8. The Illusionist
9. Marie Antoinette
10. Volver
11. An Inconvenient Truth
12. Wordplay
13. The Devil Wears Prada

Other Movies
1. The New World
2. Caché 
3. Match Point
4. The Constant Gardner
5. Anchor Man
6. MI:3
7. The Beat That My Heart Skipped
8. Zizek! 
9. Friends With Money
10. Junebug
11. Mostly Martha
12. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
13. Pride & Prejudice (Wright) 
14. Grizzly Man
15. Solaris (Soderbergh) 
16. King Kong
17. Thank You For Smoking
18. Flight Plan
19. Proof
20. Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
21. The Break-Up
22. For All Mankind
23. The White Diamond
24. The Memory of a Killer
25. Derailed
26. Liars

New Records
1. The Decembrists, The Crane Wife
2. Eef Barzelay, Bitter Honey
3. Joanna Newsom, Ys
4. Damien Jurado, And Now That I’m Your Shadow
5. Cat Power, The Greatest
6. M. Ward, Post-War
7. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale
8. Rhymefest, Blue Collar
9. Smog, Rock Bottom Riser (EP) 
10. Grandaddy, Just Like the Fambly Cat
11. The Speakers, Yeats is Greats
12. Lambchop, Damaged
13. C-Mone, The Butterfly Effect
14. Bonnie Prince Billy, The Letting Go
15. Yo La Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
16. Evangelicals, So Gone

Other Records
1. Nicolai Dunger, Soul Rush
2. Mendelssohn, Complete String Quartets (Pacifica Quartet) 
3. Danger Doom, The Mouse & the Mask
4. Robert Schumann, Violin Sonatas 1 - 3 (Avenuas & Faust) 
5. Pajo, Pajo
6. Dustin O’Halloran, Piano Songs
7. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Handel Arias
8. Mahler, Symphony 6 (San Fran Symp; Michael Tilson Thomas) 
9. Bill Evans, Conversations with Myself
10. Shostakovich, Symphony 5 (London Symph Or.; Rostrop.) 
11. Brahms, Symphony 2 (London Symph Orchestra; Haitink)
12. Emerson Quartet, Intimate Voices
13. Bill Evans, Time Remembered
14. Lindsay String Quartet, Haydn Quartets
15. Morton Feldman, Rothko Chapel
16. Sarah Chang, Sweet Sorrow

Wines
1. Parcel 41 Merlot
2. Domaine De La Solitude Cotes du Rhone
3. Cover Drive Cabernet
4. St. Supery Cabernet
5. David Bruce Petite Syrah
6. Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Reserve
7. Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet

2005 Favorites

Sentences
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 [See published version
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.

• 

2004 Favorites

New Books
1. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
2. Oblivion: Stories, David Foster Wallace
3. Will in the World, Stephen Greenblatt
4. Heir to the Glimmering World, Cynthia Ozick
5. A History of the Imagination, Norman Lock
6. The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter & the Novel, J. Wood
7. A Chance Meeting, Rachel Cohen
8. Runaway: Stories, Alice Munro
9. The Lemon Table: Stories, Julian Barnes
10. A Defense of Ardor: Essays, Adam Zagajewski
11. The True & Outst. Advs of the Hunt Sisters, E. Robinson
12. The Plot Against America, Philip Roth
13. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris
14. The Wasp Eater, William Lychack
15. Wilco: Learning How to Die, Greg Kot
16. Coin of the Realm, Carl Phillips
17. The Proust Project, Edited by Andre Aciman
18. A Terry Teachout Reader, Terry Teachout
19. Night, Vedrana Rudan

Other Books 
1. The Tunnel, William H. Gass
2. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
3. The Paris Review Book: of Heartbreak, Madness… 
4. The Devil in White City, Erik Larson
5. Omensetter’s Luck, William H. Gass
6. Do You Hear Them?, Nathalie Sarraute
7. Pushkin: A Life, T.J. Binyon
8. The Tether: Poems, Carl Phillips
9. The Living End , Stanley Elkin
10. Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
11. Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife, William H. Gass
12. Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov
13. Rabbit, Run, John Updike
14. The Beforelife: Poems, Franz Wright
15. Conversations with William H. Gass, Ed, T. G. Ammon
16. Infinite Jest: A Reader’s Guide, Stephen Burn

New Movies
1. I Heart Huckabees
2. The Bourne Supremacy
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. The Aviator
5. Before Sunset
6. Kill Bill 2
7. Dogville
8. Garden State
9. Sideways
10. Closer
11. Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow
12. The Saddest Music in the World
13. Fahrenheit 911
14. Maria Full of Grace
15. Birth
16. Collateral
17. Shrek 2
18. Control Room

Other Movies
1. The Barbarian Invasions
2. The Return
3. City of God
4. School of Rock
5. The Fog of War
6. A Simple Plan
7. Morvern Callar
8. The Man Who Wasn’t There
9. Intolerable Cruelty
10. I.M. Pei
11. Melvin Goes to Dinner
12. Big Fish
13. Tape
14. Rivers & Tides
15. No Man’s Land
16. Mondays in the Sun
17. Pieces of April
18. Kill Bill
19. The Spanish Apartment
20. The Station Agent
21. Thirteen

Records (Any year) 
1. Wilco, A Ghost is Born
2. Henryk Gorecki, Symphony No. 3
3. Dvorak, String Quartet No. 12 in F Major
4. Edward Elgar, Cello Concerto, Sea Pictures
5. Ben Kweller, On My Way
6. Iron + Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days
7. Arvo Part, Tabula Rasa
8. Bach, Goldberg Variations (Gould’s 1981 version)
9. Bjork, Medulla
10. Sufjan Stevens, Greetings from Michigan
11. Low, A Lifetime of Temporary Relief (box-set) 
12. Brahms, German Requiem
13. Arvo Part, Alina
14. Chopin, 19 Nocturnes
15. Portishead, Portishead

2003 Favorites

New Books
1. Walking To Martha’s Vineyard: Poems, Franz Wright
2. The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Gary Shteyngart
3. Cosmopolis, Don DeLillo
4. The King is Dead, Jim Lewis
5. The Book Against God, James Wood
6. The Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem
7. Short People, Joshua Furst
8. A Tragic Honesty: The Life of Richard Yates, Blake Bailey
9. Vernon God Little, DBC Pieere
10. Thank You For Not Reading, Dubravka Ugresic
11. Oryx & Crake, Margaret Atwood

Other Books
1. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
3. You Shall Know Our Velocity!, Dave Eggers  
4. Kingsblood Royal, Sinclair Lewis
5. Agape, Agape, William Gaddis
6. Blue Angel, Francine Prose
7. Marcel Proust: A Life, Jean-Yves Tadie (tranls, E. Cameron) 
8. Outer Dark, Cormac McCarthy

New Movies
1. Russian Ark
2. Spellbound
3. 21 Grams
4. 25th Hour
5. Winged Migration
6. Lost in Translation
7. Capturing the Friedmans
8. Elephant
9. The Pianist
10. Mystic River
11. Master and Commander
12. About Schmidt
13. Kill Bill: Volume 1
14. All the Real Girls

Other Movies
1. George Washington
2. Raising Victor Vargas
3. Gerry
4. Max
5. Bowling for Columbine
6. Talk to Her
7. Thirteen Conversations About One Thing
8. Nowhere In Africa
9. Secretary
10. Bloody Sunday
11. Under the Sand
12. Bring it On
13. The Good Thief
14. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
15. Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary
16. Limbo

New Records
1. Fruit Bats, Mouthfuls
2. Rufas Wainwright, Want One
3. Nicolai Dunger, Tranquil Isolation
4. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Master and Everyone
5. Gillian Welch, Soul Journey
6. Grandaddy, Sumday
7. Cat Power, You Are Free
8. M. Ward, Transfiguration of Vincent
9. Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers
10. Patrick Park, Loneliness Knows My Name
11 Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
12. Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress
13. Christopher O’Riley, True Love Waits
14. Damien Jurado, Where Shall You Take Me? 
15. New Pornographers, Electric Version
16. Gangstarr, The Ownerz
17. Nadine, Strange Seasons
18. Atmosphere, Seven’s Travels

2002 Favorites

Books (Any Year) 
1. Suttree, Cormac McCarthy
2. Light In August, William Faulkner
3. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
4. Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
5. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
6. Underworld, Don Dellilo
7. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
8. The Tests of Time, William H. Gass
9. The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil
10. Desparate Characters, Paula Fox
11. True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey
12. Demons, Fyodor Dostoevsky
13. Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Peter Hoeg
14. Where the Stress Falls, Susan Sontag
15. William Faulkner: His Life and Work, Donald Minter
16. Not-Knowing, Donald Barthelme

New Records
1. Pedro the Lion, Control
2. Bright Eyes, Lifted…. 
3. Lambchop, Is a Woman
4. Chris Mills, The Silver Line
5. Low, Trust
6. Richard Buckner, Impasse
7. The Roots, Phrenology
8. Ryan Adams, Demolition
9. Iron & Wine, The Creek Drank the Cradle
10. Atmosphere, God Loves Ugly
11. Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
12. Beck, Sea Change
13. Damien Jurado, I Break Chairs
14. Chris Mills, Tell it Like it Isn’t
15. Bruce Springsteen, The Rising

Other Records
1. Grandaddy, Under the Western Freeway
2. Rufas Wainright, Rufas Wainright
3. Matthew Ryan, Concussion
4. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Ease Down the Road
5. Neutral Milk Hotel, Under the Aeroplane Over the Sea
6. Will Oldham, Joya
7. Palace Songs, Hope
8. Will Oldham, Arise Therefore
9. Will Oldham, Guarapero: Lost Blues 2
10. Bright Eyes, Fevers & Mirrors
11. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP
12. Palace Music, Lost Blues and Other Songs

New Movies
1. Y Tu Mama Tambien
2. Personal Velocity
3. Punch Drunk Love
4. Rodger Dodger
5. What Time is it There? 
6. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
7. Far From Heaven
8. Lovely & Amazing
9. Catch Me If You Can
10. The Business of Strangers
11. Collected Stories
12. Tadpole
13. The Bourne Identity
14. 8 Mile
15. Igby Goes Down
16. The Truth About Charlie

Other Movies
1. The Royal Tenenbaums
2. Amores Perros
3. Sidewalks of New York
4. American Movie
5. Ratcatcher
6. Zoolander
7. Black Hawk Down
8. Training Day
9. The Anniversary Party
10. Amelie
11. Not Another Teen Movie
12. Unforgiven
13. September
14. A.I. 
15. Legally Blond
16. Monster’s Ball

Concerts
1. Damien Jurado / Pedro the Lion @ The Metro (Chicago) , 4/29/02
2. Rufas Wainwright @ The Vic (Chicago), 2/22/02
3. White Stripes @ The Pageant (St. Louis, like those that follow), 7/10/02
4. Josh Rouse @ The Duck Room, 8/6/02
5. Richard Buckner @ Off Broadway, 11/15/02
6. Richard Buckner @ Off Broadway, 8/30/02
7. The Reactions @ Radio Cherokee, 12/29/02
8. Nadine / Tift Meritt @ The Duck Room, 10/2/02
9. Chris Mills @ Frederick’s Music Lounge, 11/2/02

(Not sure where 2001 went)

2000 Favorites

Books (Any Year) 
1. The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann (John E. Woods) 
2. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace
3. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Pevear & Volokhonsky) 
4. Selected Letters of Rainer Marie Rilke, Rainer Marie Rilke
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (G. Rabassa) 
6. Remembrance of Things Past (Vol. I), Marcel Proust (Moncrieff & Kilmarten) 
7. Sculpting In Time: The Great Russian Filmmaker Discusses His Art, A. Tarkovsky
8. Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace
9. Ode: On Visiting the Belosaraisk Spit on the Sea of Azov, Ilya Kutik
10. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
11. The New Lifetime Reading Plan, Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major
12. Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, Lorrie Moore
13. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
13. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
14. Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages, Manuel Puig
15. Blizzard of One, Mark Strand
16. Remembrance of Things Past (Vol. II), Marcel Proust
17. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
18. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
19. Duino Elegies, Rainer Marie Rilke [19? What was I thinking?] 20. Immortality, Milan Kundera

Movies (Any Year) 
1. Afterlife
2. High Fidelity
3. Sweet & Lowdown
4. Boys Don’t Cry
5. Love & Death
6. Flirting With Disaster
7. Wonder Boys
8. Three Kings
9. A Short Film About Love
10. Magnolia
11. I Shot Andy Warhol
12. The Limey
13. Down By Law
14. Erin Brockovich
15. East is East
16. The Sixth Sense
17. Frankie & Johnnie
18. The Color of Paradise
19. The Wind WIll Carry Us
20. The American President

New Records
1. Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker
2. Chris Mills, Kiss It Goodbye
3. Grandaddy, The Sophtware Slump
4. Elliott Smith, Figure 8
5. Cat Power, The Covers Record
6. Radiohead, Kid A
7. Richard Buckner, The Hill
8. Shelby Lynne, I Am Shelby Lynne
9. P.J. Harvey, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
10. Various Artists, Down to the Promised Land/Bloodshot Records

Other Records
1. Bob Dylan, Highway-61 Revisited
2. Pavement, Terror Twilight
3. Damien Jurado, Rehearsals for Departure
4. Eels, Electro-Shock Blues
5. Nick Drake, Pink Moon
6. Low, Christmas
7. Fiona Apple, Tidal
8. Low, Secret Name
9. Low, The Curtain Hits the Cast [9? What was I thinking? This is a masterpiece.] 
10. Buena Vista Social Club, BVSC

Concerts
1. Ryan Adams @ Schubas, 9/23/00
2. Chris Mills @ Schubas (CD Release party) 7/29/00
3. Wilco @ Lounge Ax 1/9/00
4. Ryan Adams @ Schubas, 9/22/00
5. Elliott Smith @ The Metro 5/??/00
6. Bruce Springsteen & the E. Street Band @ St. Louis’ Kiel Center 4/10/00
7. Wilco post-Chicago Fire @ Soldier Field 5/13/00
8. Chris Mills @ Schubas 5/12/00
9. Richard Buckner w/ Eric Heywood @ Schubas 7/28/00
10. Cedarcase @ Elbo Room 6/7/00
11. Jeff Tweedy @ Parkwest 9/14/00
12. Shelby Lynn @ The Auditorium Theater 8/00
13. Buddy & Julie Miller @ Schubas 4/1/00
14. Cat Power @ Schubas 12/18/00
15. Competitor / Demolition Doll Rods @ Empty Bottle 8/24/00