We're not sure we felt especially blown away by much in 2011, but that shouldn't be confused with not endlessly encountering, absorbing and consuming things we loved. Nor should it ignore the fact that there was still much exuberance to be had, case in point, The Artist, and that for us it will always be about exuberance, searching for it, finding it, and reveling in it. We should also add, not surprisingly we suppose, that our search and consumption of art and exuberance is particularly related to and focused on books. Because it is always about books, first and last, and always will be. And yet, it's not only books, just mostly and as always, lovingly so at that.
You may not know it, but people still write novellas, we still read them and this was a quite fine year for them.
The Mimic's Own Voice/Tom Williams, Life After Sleep/Mark Brand, Old Ghosts/Nik Korpon, Nothing or Next to Nothing/Barry Graham, In Great Company/Michael Seidlinger, A Shiny, Unused Heart/J.A. Tyler.
Collections, short stories, flash fiction, absurdist, hyper-fiction, any or all of it.
Sex Dungeon for Sale!/Patrick Wensink, Prize Winners/Ryan Bradley, Carry Each His Burden/James Goertel, Songs of Vagabonds, Misfits, Sinners/Ken Wohlrob, Don't Smell the Floss/Matty Byloos, Normally Special/xTx.
Television shows that got in the way of reading, thinking, and sometimes sleeping, but ultimately made us very happy.
Justified, with a big nod to Margo Martindale, Friday Night Lights, we are still grieving and Louie, painful, and full of fear, isolation and confusion, but always funny, and knowing.
Television shows that have been better at some point, maybe even during their most current season, but still showed moments of awesome pain, humor and terror.
Rescue Me, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family, The Killing and Walking Dead.
The one benefit to the new season of Mad Men being delayed due to contract disputes.
We started watching Breaking Bad. Most kind that.
Novels by rock stars, music, not literary, though arguably literary as well.
Novels by handsome bearded men.
Novels by "daddy-cool" writers near and far.
Fathermucker/Greg Olear, The Bee-Loud Glade/Steve Himmer, Fight For Your Long Day/Alex Kudera and Sophomoric Philosophy/Victor David Giron.
In a maybe not so great year for movies, movies we still dug.
And movies we still hope to see.
50/50, Take Shelter and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Sports memoirs we read, which were as much about life, as we know it, and as we would like it, as sport.
Cardboard Gods/Josh Wilker and Chasing the Runner's High/Ray Charbonneau.
Book we suspect we did not read because we thought we might get discouraged about our writing, this being an semi-annual category of sorts, with previous selections including Radiant Days by Michael FitzGerald and The Failure by James Greer.
Volt by Alan Heathcock, which we will no questionably read in 2012. Promise.
And other books we intend to finish or start in 2012. For real.
B-Sides and Broken Hearts/Caryn Rose, Solace in So Many Words/Ellen Wade Beals, Nothing/Blake Butler, American Masculine/Shann Ray, Pulphead/John Jeremiah Sullivan, Half a Life/Darrin Strauss, Three Ways of the Saw/Matt Mullins and Out of Touch/Brandon Tietz.
Indie publishers we are not so objective about overall, but are doing really good things regardless of how we may or not have benefited from said goodness.
Artistically Declined Press, CCLaP Publishing, Atticus Books, HOUSEFIRE Books, Curbside Splendor, Deckfight Press, Mendicant Bookworks and Main Street Rag.
Podcasts both established, and getting there quickly, we obsessively listened to.
WTF with Marc Maron, see Michael Showalter, Christopher Titus, Dave Foley and Laura Kightlinger especially, and Other People with Brad Listi, Darrin Straus, Ben Loory and Edan Lupicki in particular. Total goodness. Totally.
Music, so incomplete, but a lot terrificness nonetheless, for sure.
21/Adele, Undun/The Roots, Bon Iver/Bon Iver, Who Kill/Tuneyards, Sigh No More/Mumford & Sons and Relax/Das Racist.
Poetry, which we believe we generally do not read enough of, though we probably can't say that's an accurate statement this year.
Emergency Room Wrestling/the dirty poet, A Soft That Touches Down & Removes Itself/David Tomaloff, Piano Rats/Franki Elliot, Haunts/Laura Cherry, Redneck Poems/Rusty Barnes, What I'm On/Luis Humberto Valadez and A Patchwork of Rooms Furnished by Mistakes/J. Bradley.
And most finally, there are many, many people to thank for this most rocking of years, and we are most definitely overlooking some, a lot maybe, and we apologize for that, here, now, but there you go.
Lauryn Allison Lewis, Mason Johnson, Matt Rowan, Jacob Knabb, Dave Housley, Jason Behrends, Leah Tallon, Anna March, Victor David Giron, Jason Pettus, Nathan Holic, Ryan Bradley, Lavinia Ludlow, S. Craig Renfro, Greg Olear, Adam Lawrence, Nick Korpon, Lindsay Hunter, Matty Byloos, David Masciotra, Mel Bosworth, Brenda Brown Browne, Tim Frederick, Hosho McCreesh, Byron Hatfield, Lori Hettler, Patrick Wensink, Gina Frangello, Nick Ostdick, Pete Anderson, Paula Bomer, Brandon Will, J. Bradley and the Knee-Jerk crew.