In an otherwise terrible year in so many ways, for so many people, at least there are books, and television, music, and movies. Though not enough, never enough. But here we are anyway, ignoring the rest of the year if only for a moment to share what there is, and what there was, with you, now, totally.
Memoirs that read like essays that read like memoirs and essay collections that read like memoirs.
I Was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac/Jamie Iredell, Slouching Towards Bethlehem/Joan Didion, No Man's Land/Eula Biss, Bad Feminist/Roxane Gay, Excavation/Wendy C. Ortiz
Books by handsome men with facial hair, bearded, and otherwise.
Badge/Art Edwards, Deep Ellum/Brandon Hobson, Apocalypticon/Clayton Smith, Two Small Birds/Dave Newman, Where Alligators Sleep/Sheldon Lee Compton, Annihilation/Jeff Vandermeer
Books by authors with three names starting with Brian and followed by a derivation of Allen. Or Alan. Something.
King Shit, 33 Fragments of Sick-Living, The Mustache He's Always Wanted But Could Never Grow/Brian Alan Ellis, Vampire Conditions/Brian Allen Carr
The movies we are happy we got to see during a year where we did better than last year, though still didn't see enough to satisfy our movie Jones.
Snowpiercer, Skeleton Twins, Love is Strange, Boyhood, Whiplash, Gone Girl, Top 5, Birdman, Wild, Still Alice, 22 Jump Street
Movies we are happy we got to see because our children wanted us to.
Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Movies we still hope to see.
Foxcatcher, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Selma, Citizen Four, Life Itself
The movie we need to see again because people apparently like it more than we did.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
And the single greatest scene from maybe any superhero movie ever. For real.
The one best seller we read so we could do so before we saw the movie.
Gone Girl/Gillian Flynn
Once I Was Cool/Megan Stielstra, The Game We Play/Susan Hope Lanier, Does Not Love/James Tadd Adcox, Animals in Peril/Ryan Kenealy, If I Would Leave Myself Behind/Lauren Becker
Books we had the pleasure to blurb and hope you have the pleasure to read.
Man of Clay/CL Bledsoe, Project Genesis/Jerry Brennan, Don't Ask Me to Spell it Out/Robert James Russell
Music which we yet again listened to not much of this year, but we still listened to these.
Run the Jewels 2/Run the Jewels, Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now/Justin Townes Earl, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music/Sturgill Simpson, The Voyager/Jenny Lewis
Music we got to listen to live, which was way more than last year, and that we quite dug, though may imply we are merely repeating ourselves.
Peekaboos/Empty Bottle, The Hold Steady/Concord Music Hall, Wilco/The Riviera
As well as, something new, and somewhat different.
21 Pilots/The Aragon
Television shows we kept on watching, and we watched a lot of television this year, that got in the way of reading, thinking, and sometimes sleeping, but ultimately made us very happy.
Game of Thrones, Justified, Girls, The Walking Dead, Mad Men, The Killing, Orange is the New Black, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Louis
Television shows we lovingly consumed because our older son said it must be so.
Freaks and Geeks
Television shows we lovingly consumed because our younger son said it must be so.
Television shows we finally started watching and consumed whole.
Orphan Black, Rectify, Transparent, Sons of Anarchy
New television shows we happily consumed, even if they slightly lost their steam after phenomenal starts.
True Detective, The Affair
New shows we watched, and loved, that no one else seemed to watch.
You're The Worst, Married
Anthologies we gladly contributed to.
Solarcidal Tendencies, Anthology of Chicago: The Collection
Sometimes sexy, and sometimes searing, always soaring debuts.
Every Kiss A War/Leesa Cross-Smith, Doll Palace/Sara Lippmann, Made to Break/D. Foy
An anthology, and some collections, including comix.
When I First Held You/Edited by Brian Gresko, The Olive Stain and Rampart & Toulouse/ Kristin Fouquet, Let's Be Awkward Together/Elaine Short
Podcasts we still listen to again and again.
WTF with Marc Maron, Other People, This American Life, The Slate Culture Gabfest
And new ones we added, and will be happy to listen to again and again.
SERIAL, StartUp, All Write Already!
Poetry, which we never quite read enough of.
The Dark Cave Between My Ribs/Loren Kleinman, Rabbit Punch!/Greg Santos, Here Comes The New Joy/John W. Barrios
Books by handsome men without facial hair, bearded, and otherwise.
Bald New World/Peter Tieryas Liu, Nagging Wives, Foolish Husbands/Nate Tower, Conquistador of the Useless/Joshua Isard, Gideon's Confession/Joseph G. Peterson, I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying/Matthew Salesses, Zinsky the Obscure/Ilan Mochari, Understudies/Ravi Mangla
Books we just didn't quite finish by year's end. But we will. Soon. Promise.
Drinking from a Bitter Cup/Angela Jackson-Brown, Idle Feet Do the Devil's Work/Ray Charbonneau
And most finally, there are many people to thank for making this a good year in spite of all that has been going on and feels like still will be. And we are most definitely overlooking some, a lot maybe, and we apologize for that, but there you go.
Matt Rowan, Jacob Knabb, Dave Housley, Jason Behrends, Leah Tallon, Anna March, Victor David Giron, Jason Pettus, Moeses Soulright, Nathan Holic, Ryan W. Bradley, Steve Lafler, Lavinia Ludlow, Rob Funderburk, Greg Olear, William Walsh, J.A. Tyler, Ryan Singleton, John Barrios, Joseph G. Peterson, Michael Seidlinger, Gabino Iglesias, Adam Lawrence, Jayme Karales, Dave McNamara, Peter Tieryas Liu, Mike Smolarek, Jeffrey Barken, Nik Korpon, Andrew Keating, Joseph Bates, Paul Luikart, Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Matty Byloos, Naomi Huffman, Brad Listi, Loren Kleinman, Michael Czyzniejewski, Ken Wohlrob, Myles and Noah Tanzer, David Masciotra, Mel Bosworth, Benoit Lelievre, Emma Mae Brown, Tim Frederick, Todd Summar, Megan Stielstra, Hosho McCreesh, Catherine Eves, David S. Atkinson, Debbie Pritzker, Peter Schwartz, BL Pawelek, James Yates, Brian Allen Carr, Kristin Fouquet, Seth Berg, James Goertel, Amber Sparks, Dan Coxon, Robert Vaughan, Jillian Lauren, Meg Tuite, Robert Duffer, Brian Alan Ellis, Joseph Michael Owens, Carrie Lorig, Angela Jackson-Brown, Keir Graff, Joana Topor MacKenzie, Joanna Shroeder, Johnny Misfit, The Book Cellar, Michael Paige Glover, Jennifer Banash, City Lit Books, Judith Tanzer, Samuel Sattin, Susan Hope Lanier, Kimberly Ann Southwick, Erika T. Wurth, Leesa Cross-Smith, Brian Gresko, Chris L. Terry, Mark Heineke, Mike Bushnell, Richard Thomas, Adam Tanzer, Patricia Ann McNair, xTx, James Tadd Adcox, Chris Oxley, Mellow Pages Library, John Reed, Jerry Brennan, Robert James Russell, Brian Gresko, Lori Hettler, Bill Hillmann, Brad King, Don DeGrazia, Shawn Syms, Steve Karas, Cort Bledsoe, Barry Graham, Matt Micheli, Willy Nast, D. Foy, Robyn Pennacchia, Cari Luna, The Mooney's, Cyn Vargas, Sara June Woods, Steve Himmer, Sara Lippman, Mikaela Shea Fowler, Giano Cromley, Zoe Zolbrod, Karen Shimmin, Tom Williams, Joshua Mohr, Patrick Wensink, Mark Cronin, BJ Hollars, Davis Schneiderman, Elaine Short, Ray Charbonneau, Gina Frangello, Rachel Hyman, Nick Ostdick, Scott McClanahan, Pete Anderson, the Tomaloff's, Paula Bomer, Wyl Vilacres, Brandon Will, J. Bradley, Jason Fisk