My friend and colleague Ed Cook is the author of Ralph the Sacred River and the Eighth Annual Ralphies are up! Go and see what his picks for books, music, and movies are this year. As usual, I do not feel that I have much to offer in terms of top reading, listening, and viewing, but I will give it a go anyway.
In terms of music, one year I said that I had stumbled across The Shins and was told that was “old” and that I was way too behind. Oh well. (Still like them, BTW.) I followed the world to Esperanza Spalding and do not regret joining that bandwagon for a minute! If you like jazz, give her a try. (Close runner up: Renaud Garcia-Fons.)
As are as books are concerned, I read a lot this year, but most of it seemed to be strategic plans, thesis proposal forms, and applications. My pick is an oldie but a goodie, made better by the fact that I read it with my 7-year old son. The Hobbit is a classic and I am eager to see the new movie adaptation. But the fact that a novel with no images kept a 6, then 7 year old occupied and captivated speaks volumes in today’s context of iPads and iPods. In non-fiction I will strongly recommend Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us–and how to know when not to trust them *Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, … consultants, health officials and more by David Freedman. First, there hasn’t been a title like that since 1792. Second, it is a great study in “critical thinking” (and the lack thereof) and perfect for classes, even if it is not terribly penetrating. (I doubt that you will learn anything new, but it is nice to have someone else do the homework for you.)
Finally, I was unable to see many movie in the theatre but Netflix, iTunes, and Comcast have been my friend. I can whole heartedly name Cowboys & Aliens as my top pick. There were some fun animated and “hero” movies this year, but the combination of my two favorite genres (leaving out only spies, and Daniel Craig covers that with his presence) made C&A an easy favorite. Great fun and a nice twist on classic movies, with enough nods to antecedents to keep geeks thoroughly engaged. (Super 8 was a nice runner up for me and is Ed’s pick, but JJ Abrams would you please cut it out with the lens flare already!)
So, those are mine, or at least are a few that come to mind. What are yours? Go let Ed know at Ralph the Sacred River.