December 29, 2009

The Yearlies: 2009

Somehow we've made it through another year. As such, it's time for the Obligatory Yearly Wrap-Up.

The Year's Best Books. I read 65 books in 2009. Here are my top ten.
- The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death (Charlie Huston)
- The Little Sleep (Paul Tremblay)
- This Is Where I Leave You (Jonathan Tropper)
- Carter Beats The Devil (Glen David Gold)
- Old Man's War (John Scalzi)
- Dark Places (Gillian Flynn)
- The Art of Racing in The Rain (Garth Stein)
- Downtown Owl (Chuck Klosterman)
- Beat The Reaper (Josh Bazell)
- e Squared (Matt Beaumont)
I'll admit right here and now that top honors clearly go to Tropper, Huston and Stein.

The Year's Biggest Book Surprise. What I Think About When I Think About Running (Haruki Murakami). I used to run. I don't run anymore. I get winded taking the trash out. But reading Murakami's thoughts on running were interesting and yielded a little insight into one of my favorite authors.

The Year's Most Disappointing Reads.
- Relentless (Dean Koontz)
- True Blue (David Baldacci)
- Body Copy (Michael Craven)
- Castle (Robert J. Lennon)
- Fault Line (Barry Eisler)
- Snuff (Chuck Palahniuk)
Chuck can do way better. The story is simplistic and predictable. Castle was highly touted but just plain bad. Eisler wrote a great string of novels then came up with Fault Line, a terrible stand-alone. Craven seemed to attempt a Don Winslow rip off (and failed). Of all of these novels, the Koontz novel had the greatest promise but failed in the end due to a cheesier-than-gouda twist which left me cringing and laughing (not in a good way).

The Year's Best Music.
- Kingdom of Rust (Doves)
- Taller Children (Elizabeth & The Catapult)
- Whirlwind (Transatlantic)
- The Incident (Porcupine Tree)
- Say Anything (Say Anything)
- The Excitement Plan (Todd Snider)
- A New Tide (Gomez)
- Backspacer (Pearl Jam)

The Yearly Best Movie. Invictus. This could be due to the fact that it's pretty much the only movie I've seen this year. Seriously. It was great but it also took the title by default.

The Year's Best Beer. Kona Breweries' Fire Rock

The Year's Best People. Their names are familiar - Beth, Mia and Owen. They rock. And so do you. Thank you for reading in 2009. I hope you'll continue to do just that in 2010.

The Yearly Heroic Act. The Miracle On The Hudson

The Yearly Carb. Wegman's parmesan and black pepper baguette.

So, what were your yearlies? What did I miss?

Posted by Chris at December 29, 2009 7:01 AM


Congrats on making it through 2009; looking forward to continuing to hear your adventures in 2010.

Biggest Work Related Insight: Sometimes the amount of effort required is greater than the amount of effort you want to apply.
Best Read: The Road
Best board game from the past resurrected: Full Thrust
Best PC Game: Plants vs Zombies

Posted by: metawizard at December 29, 2009 8:28 AM

I didn't get to read many books this year but I did just finish one called "Fifth Born" by Zelda Lockhart. It's pretty intense but it's a good read and Zelda's a pretty amazing woman.

Musically, Lisa Hannigan's album is a big stand-out for this year for me.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at December 29, 2009 9:04 AM

Your read 65 books and I am trying to remember what if I've read anything. I am sure I have I just have no clue what it was. I did read Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (Adam Rex -- kids book simply marvelous, it's not new but I liked it. I did rather enjoy the Lightning Thief -- again boy books.

Movies -- Where the Wild Things Are. (Like you I think it's the only one I've seen, this year.)

Hmmmmm.... need to think on the albums.

Posted by: Nat at December 29, 2009 9:22 AM

Hmm, book of the year is The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher, but The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is pretty cool too (one is a big thick novel, the other a picture book!).

Film of the year - Coraline

Music of the year - I have no idea, everything on our wedding soundtrack

Event of the year which took over our lives and didn't leave much room for thinking about anything else - Getting married on May 23rd.

Have a good new year Cactus-Fish family!

Posted by: Katherine at December 29, 2009 10:13 AM

I agree - The Art of Racing in the Rain was one of the best books of the year - certainly my favorite.

Posted by: Cass at December 29, 2009 10:28 AM

I agree - The Art of Racing in the Rain was one of the best books of the year - certainly my favorite.

Posted by: Cass at December 29, 2009 10:28 AM

I didn't read ONE of those books, or listen to ONE of those albums. Which is only odd in that you and I have freakishly similar taste.

Thanks for rocking it in 09. Just like you did in 05, 06, 07, 08, oh god, I've been reading you WAY too long...

Posted by: Mr Lady at December 29, 2009 10:58 AM

Holy carp you read a lot! I'm duly impressed!

Posted by: Hope at December 29, 2009 6:36 PM

Yearly Nintendo DS Game
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Yearly Cool Kitchen Gadget'
William Sonoma's Mushroom Slicer|4|1||4|mushroom||0&cm_src=SCH

Posted by: Rose Winters at December 29, 2009 10:20 PM

love murakami - hard boiled wonderland is a favourite fiction of mine.

Posted by: adrienne at December 30, 2009 12:21 PM

I have written down your recommendations and am off to the library. Woot!

Posted by: Jess at December 30, 2009 1:51 PM

Best vacation: Caribbean Cruise
Worst Operation: Retinal Surgery with just Novocaine. Next time I want to be knocked out.
Best Thought: I am lucky for all the loving people in my life!

Posted by: Maribeth at December 30, 2009 2:58 PM

I didn't even know Gomez had a new CD. I bought their last one because of you. How did I miss that?

And Josh Bazell made the list. Swweet and I agree.

Posted by: Kristy at December 30, 2009 3:33 PM

The yearly birth: my daughter. My mini-me.

Not that I want to have a yearly birth. The baby factory is closed but she's awesome.

Posted by: statia at December 30, 2009 11:25 PM

OK, you read more 18 books than I did, and I claim to be a book blogger. No fair :-). But your review is one of the reasons that This is Where I Leave You is in my TBR collection right now (so is Beat the Reaper). I liked The Art of Racing in the Rain, too - Enzo was probably my favorite character of the year.

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Florinda at December 31, 2009 6:25 PM

OK, no fair - you read 18 more books than I did, and I call myself a book blogger :-). But your recommendation is one reason that "This is Where I Leave You" is in my TBR collection right now (so is "Beat the Reaper"). I liked "The Art of Racing in the Rain," but I LOVED Enzo - if I'd picked a Character of the Year when I posted my own reading recap yesterday, it would have been him.

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Florinda at December 31, 2009 6:30 PM

I read 111 books in 2009 (finished 111 this afternoon, actually). The best was probably "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy.

Movie... I can't think of what I saw this year! I saw "Chipmunks" with my girls yesterday. That was about as you'd expect. "Brothers" was pretty intense. Going to see "Invictus" tomorrow night.

I dunno, 2009 was a good year. I hit rock bottom and found my way back up and I am pretty optimistic about the year to come. Happy New Year.

Posted by: Sarah at December 31, 2009 9:49 PM

I'd say that 2009 was a 6/10 for me. I did have some good moments but there was a lot of emotional turmoil as well. And Backspacer is the best of 2009!!

Posted by: Roshan at January 1, 2010 9:27 AM

great to see pj's bs on your list! happy new year cactus.

Posted by: raino at January 2, 2010 12:46 PM