Do I Detect a List?

The new year is upon us…or it’s just another day, depending on how you look at it. Nonetheless, it’s a good time to write about my favorite music, television, and books of 2007.

The 2007 Playlist

My Rights Versus Yours (The New Pornographers)
I Turn My Camera On (Spoon)
Falling Slowly (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)
Keep the Car Running (The Arcade Fire)
Love Today (MIKA)
Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis)
Antichrist Television Blues (The Arcade Fire)
Gold (Interference)
Failsafe (The New Pornographers)
Lake Michigan (Rogue Wave)
Where Do You Go My Lovely (Julian Davies)
Grace Kelly (MIKA)
Use It (The New Pornographers)
The Girl Can’t Help It (Little Richard)
Needles and Pins (The Searchers)
Rehab (Amy Winehouse)
The Bleeding Heart Show (The New Pornographers)
I’m Shipping Up to Boston (Dropkick Murphys)
Devil’s Arcade (Bruce Springsteen)
Just Like Honey (Jesus and Mary Chain)

These are the top songs that I heard for the first time in 2007 (yes, Little Richard and Oasis are on there, not to mention The Searchers). I “discovered” The Arcade Fire on SNL, and I think Pat turned me on to The New Pornographers. MIKA also has a really unique sound. I’m also a sucker for anything with an Irish fiddle, such as the two songs from the Once soundtrack (“Falling Slowly” and “Gold”), “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” and “Devil’s Arcade.” And admittedly, I heard “Just Like Honey” for the first time years ago when I watched Lost in Translation, but it’s a damn good song to close out a CD. If you have $20 and an iTunes account, I highly recommend you give this playlist a try.

The Best and Worst Shows I Watched in 2007

I feel like I don’t watch much TV, but looking at this list, I watched my fair share this year. For the most part, it’s been a quality year of television. 2008 is going to suck, as there will mostly be reality shows on until the strike ends, but perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise. I’ll have more time to read and write and pretty much do anything except watch TV. Also, although there’s always plenty of bad TV on, I didn’t watch all of it. Thus, my “Bottom 5” list isn’t the list of the worst shows on TV in 2007. They’re just the 5 worst shows that I watched for a few episodes before giving up on them.

Top 10

The Office
The Wire
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
30 Rock
Battlestar Galactica
The Daily Show
Burn Notice
Pushing Daisies
Friday Night Lights

Bottom 5

Football Night in America
Kid Nation
Law and Order: SVU
Bionic Woman

The Office is the only show currently playing on TV that I will willingly watch twice in a row. I’ve watched the same episode twice on the same night at times if Caroline isn’t home for the first viewing. Some of the other shows on the list are better written or more dramatic or quirkier, but The Office is the best for me. Also, listening to The Daily Show while cooking dinner is fantastic (the rest of the shows are too visual). Oh, and I would put the Champions League Highlight show on this list…and really I should (I would put it at number 7 on the list)…but I don’t feel right putting a nonscripted show in the Top 10. If you like soccer, have a TiVo, and subscribe to cable, record that show. It’s only on once every few weeks, but you’ll get to see the highlights from the top teams in the world.

I’ve discussed most of the Bottom 5 on my blog before, but I have to admit that I actually watch one of those shows every week, at least during the fall. Yep, Football Night in America. I watch it pretty much by default, because I like to watch football highlights on Sunday evening, not on Monday (which is when the superior NFL Primetime airs). However, the show sucks. You get to watch a few plays for each game, but they don’t cover all the highlights, much less act as recaps for the games. If I watch it on TiVo, it only takes about 20 minutes to watch. 20 minutes for 14 games?! I want a full 40 minutes.

The Top 5 Books I Read in 2007

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver
A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham
Company by Max Barry
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

The other books I read:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Teacher Man (Frank McCourt)
Three Days to Never
The History of Love
Perdido Street Station
Ender’s Game
A Problem from Hell by Samantha Powers (no relation to Austin)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This was a good year for reading for me. There were only a few books that disappointed me…among them, unfortunately, the final Harry Potter. That’s not to say that I don’t love the series or appreciate the finale or that I didn’t cry when reading Book 7…but it was the only book of Rowling’s that actually bored me for sizable chunks. The book builds momentum and caps off with the “correct” finish, but the journey is a little too stretched out. Nonetheless, I applaud the series as a whole as an incredibly entertaining achievement.

As for the book that tops my list, The Name of the Wind, it’s the Star Wars: A New Hope of debut novels. I’ll always contend that the original Star Wars movies are better than most other movies of the same genre because of the mysterious and yet explained nature of the Force. It adds a deeper level to the movie. It’s not “magic,” per se…it’s more real than that. Rothfuss has his own mysterious but well-explained version of the Force in his novel, a tool that binds and intertwines throughout the plot and characters. It’s the first book of a trilogy, and I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

I think that’s enough lists for today. I’ll go back to writing something normal tomorrow, and then I’ll post my movies list and New Year’s resolutions list. Happy New Year!