Best of 2014: Albums

So much for having a top 10 this year, I was so close but there were a few duds. This years top 5 is definitely stronger than last years though. Also, this year ends the 6 year streak of female artists having my favorite album. Spoiler alert?

5. Sharon Van Etten- Are We There
Favorite songs: Your Love is Killing Me, Break Me

4. Kimbra- The Golden Echo
Favorite songs: Everlovin' Ya, Love in High Places

3. St. Vincent- St. Vincent
Favorite songs: Huey Newton, Psychopath

2. Spoon- They Want My Soul
Favorite songs: Victory, Ghetto Woman

1. Sondre Lerche- Please
Favorite songs: Legends, At Times We Live Alone

Dishonorable mention:

The New Pornographers- Brill Bruisers. Together was an underrated more subdued album, this is them trying to recreate Twin Cinema and falling short. Also, you have Neko freaking Case in your band, why do you need a female guest vocalist?

Looking forward to in 2015:

The Church, Twin Shadow

Best of 2014: Books

I ended up reading 8 of the 12 books on my reading list for the year, mostly at the beginning of the year and then I kind of gave up and read whatever I wanted.

I just barely met my 25 book goal, mostly because I wasted a month trying to read Infinite Jest.

Here's my favorite books I read this year

  1. The Son- Jo Nesbo
  2. The Power of Habit- Charles Duhigg
  3. Blind Goddess- Anne Holt
  4. Police- Jo Nesbo
  5. Mad World- Lori Majewski & Jonathan Bernstein

Concert: St. Vincent

Great show last night. The guitar work was amazing as I expected it would be. The highlights for me were Rattlesnake (awesome opener), Regret, Huey Newton (the second half of that song is made for live shows), Krokodil, Your Lips are Red (she made it so much more metal). The crowd went crazy anytime there was a guitar solo which was cool. Then they all left before the encore which was not cool and really weird. 

Setlist (in order):

Digital Witness
Birth in Reverse
Laughing WIth a Mouth of Blood
I Prefer Your Love
Every Tear Disappears
Prince Johnny
Year of the Tiger
Huey Newton
Bring Me Your Loves
Northern Lights
Strange Mercy
Your Lips are Red

Setlist Wishlist: St. Vincent

First show of the year. This will also be the first time seeing St. Vincent since I became a fan. I saw her open for John Vanderslice back when her first album was out, but that barely counts. Oh and the show with David Byrne doesn't really count either.

  • Chloe in the Afternoon
  • Dilettante
  • The Bed
  • Actor Out of Work
  • Surgeon
  • Now, Now
  • Save Me From What I Want
  • Paris is Burning
  • Rattlesnake
  • Severed Crossed Fingers

Book It!

Already ahead of the game on my reading list which will give me some extra time to tackle Infinite Jest. I'm gonna need it.

Just Read:

Moneyball- Michael Lewis

Baseball is one of my least favorite sports, but I have no problems reading about it (at some point I'll read The Art of Fielding again). The section that talked about Bill James and the start of sabremetrics went on a big too long for me but other than that, the book was very engaging, especially considering how much of it is about stats.

Do the Work- Steven Pressfield

I picked this book a couple years back and just never read it, so I'd completely forgotten what it was about. It was a nice short read. It wasn't completely relevant to me since it's geared towards writers and people in artistic fields. But all the stuff about resistance was great.

Double Dexter- Jeff Lindsay

Since I read the last Dexter book, I probably watched 3 seasons of the show. It did strike me that the books are darker than the show (which isn't really surprising). And Rita is 200% more annoying. This was one of the stronger of the series, so I am looking forward to reading the lastest book and finally being caught up.

Currently Reading:

Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace

Up Next (probably):

Infinite Jest is going to keep me busy for awhile...

Book It!

Back in the saddle...

Just Read:

The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides (reread)

I haven't read this book in about a decade and I've been meaning to read it again for sometime now. I'd forgotten just how well written it is and even though I still remembered the story, it still drew me in and made me feel so sad for everyone.

Phantom- Jo Nesbo
Police- Jo Nesbo

I'm glad I read these back to back because they seem to be part of a series within a series (like The Redbreast, Nemesis and The Devil's Star). The books were both very strong and I think the serial elements are really getting stronger as the series progresses. On top of all the character's growth which is always captured very well.

Currently Reading:

Double Dexter- Jeff Lindsay

Up Next (probably):

Do the Work- Steven Pressfield

Book It: 2014 Reading List

This year my goal is to tackle some of my book backlog. I've got books I've had for a few years that I haven't gotten around to reading. My goal for 2014 is to read 25 books, and 12 of them are backlog/rereads (one a month). The tough ones will be Infinite Jest and 11/22/63 cause they're both really long (which is why I haven't read them yet).

In no particular order....

Double Dexter- Jeff Lindsay
Do the Work- Steven Pressfield
Moneyball- Michael Lewis
Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace
The Keep- Jennifer Egan
The Dogs of Rome- Conor Fitzgerald
11/22/1963- Stephen King
Killer's Island- Anna Jansson
Blind Goddess- Anne Holt
The Boy in the Suitcase- Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis
The Bourne Identity- Robert Ludlum (reread)
The Virgin Suicides- Jeffery Eugenides (reread)

Best of 2013: Albums

This was a lazy year for me. I didn't spend as much time as I would've liked listening to new music. I'm honestly surprised I even listened to 10 albums this year. Even so there were some albums I really enjoyed (although not 10 of them). I think 2014 is going to be really good, so I'm hoping for a top 10 again.

5. Neko Case- The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You...
Favorite songs: Ragtime, Local Girl

4. David Bowie- The Next Day
Favorite songs: I'd Rather Be High, Heat

3. The National- Trouble Will Find Me
Favorite songs: Fireproof, Humiliation

2. Janelle Monae- The Electric Lady
Favorite songs: Victory, Ghetto Woman

1. Jessie Ware- Devotion
Favorite songs: Running, Taking In Water

Dishonorable mention:

Tegan & Sara- Heartthrob. I get that they've always leaned towards pop and that this is their full on pop album, but it's just not that great of an album. The pop songs were better when they weren't trying so hard to be pop.

Looking forward to in 2014:

EMA, St. Vincent, Emm Gryner

Best of 2013: Books

After barely making my goal of 35 books last year, I set this year's goal for 20 books. I ended the year at 26 books.

Here are my 5 favorite books I read this year. Again, I only read a few books released in 2013, so not enough for a separate list.

  1. The Absent One- Jussi Adler-Olsen
  2. Top of the Rock- Warren Littlefield
  3. Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
  4. Faceless Killers- Henning Mankell
  5. Caveat Emptor- Ken Perenyi

Book It: Glass Key Roundup

Finished the last of the Glass Key books for the year. I read 9 winning books this year and have now read 12 of the 22 Glass Key winning books in all (I think 2 more will be published in the US next year).

I enjoyed every book I read and it was a nice goal to have because I read books I probably wouldn't have read otherwise.

Here's a final list of all the books I read in a loose order of best to "worst".

A Conspiracy of Faith- Jussi Adler-Olsen (2010, Denmark)

Faceless Killers- Henning Mankell (1992, Sweden)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- Stieg Larsson (2006, Sweden)

The Bat- Jo Nesbo (1998, Norway)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest- Stieg Larsson (2008, Sweden)

Missing- Karin Alvtegen (2001, Sweden)

Silence of the Grave- Arnaldur Indriðason (2003, Iceland)

Don't Look Back- Karin Fossum (1997, Norway)

Jar City- Arnaldur Indriðason (2002, Iceland)

The Darkest Room- Johan Theorin (2009, Sweden)

Lime's Photograph- Leif Davidsen (1999, Denmark)

Smilla's Sense of Snow- Peter Hoeg (1993, Denmark)