So apparently, I never put together my 2017 list of favorites. I searched and I searched, certain the post was just hidden somewhere, that it had accidentally been unpublished or deleted. Nope—it just never existed to begin with.
Which reminded me why I write these posts in the first place. I like looking back through time, seeing where I was at this particular winter moment, when it’s frosty outside and a crisp, clear light seeps in through the windows. Favorite book, movie, food—they’re arbitrary things, but they show a little glimpse into who I was then and now.
All this to say: I wasn’t going to put this post together this year. But since current-me regrets past-me’s action, I’ll do future-me a favor and pull it together.
Movies & TV Shows
I mean, Black Panther, right? I’m pretty sure this was the only movie that existed in 2018.
I used to only list favorite movies, but let’s be honest: It is much more common for me to plop down in front of our living-room TV than it is to go to a movie theater. And really, a lot of the best work is happening on “prime TV” these days.
The Good Place was a constant delight and most episodes had me laughing out loud. Salt Fat Acid Heat was an unexpected pleasure and made me want to travel the world eating delicious things. (Although admittedly, who doesn’t want to do that?)
And in the spirit of honesty, my guilty-pleasure show…This Is Us. A total primetime soap opera and maybe not all that good? Probably not all that good. But every week I felt a wave of simple happiness sweep over me as I settled down on the couch, solo, and soaked up the drama.
Hopefully I’ll get around to writing a separate post about my 2018 reading (but there is a newborn around the house these days sooo….we shall see). To briefly highlight the favorites…
Hands down, the top honor goes to Saga. A friend loaned me these at precisely the right time—when morning sickness had taken over my life and my brain couldn’t focus on anything beside basic survival mode, let alone reading. They were exactly what I needed, engrossing page-turners that are also a quick read. Oh, and so frickin’ good. The artwork, the storyline—I loved everything about these books and can’t wait for the third deluxe edition to come out so I can gobble it up.
Other favorites? Little Fires Everywhere. Celeste Ng is a truly talented writer. Somehow she finds empathy for every character in the story, even the ones who might traditionally be written off as villainous. And while this is clearly a “literary” book, the plot is also engrossing. You have to keep reading to find out what happens.
This wasn’t really a year of discovering new music. I went back to old favorites that had been forgotten, perhaps out of a need for comfort.
Do you remember how good Random Access Memories was? Because yeah. It’s awesome. And this song tops the list for me:
I also listened to a lot of Paul Simon. How did I not recognize before how great he is? Whenever my mom played Paul Simon albums when I was a kid, I was always vaguely annoyed, wondering why she insisted on playing this inferior music. This year? Graceland was what I put on whenever I needed a little pick-me-up.
Oh, there was one new-to-me discovery this year that went on repeat.
Gaaaaaaah. This song. It is everything. The whole Awaken, My Love! album is great, but this song is just another level.
Well, of course, meeting our son and getting to know him.
Watching the summer solstice parade on Orcas Island, which began with a drum line of bumblebees and culminated with a full-on dance party at the farmer’s market. What’s not to love?
Exploring Joshua Tree, a new-to-me national park.
Backpacking on the Olympic peninsula (while 14 weeks pregnant, no big deal) and seeing a posse of otters make a break for the ocean.
Writing (and finishing) the first draft of a new book. It had been a long time since I started a completely new, big project, and it made me remember the joy of uncovering a story, discovering your characters, writing a bunch of crap and then surprising yourself with one pure sentence that makes your heart swell.
This was not my best food year. Four months of nausea meant that for quite a while my favorite food was instant mashed potatoes, lovingly prepared for me by Byron.
Burgers. I inhaled so many burgers. Our local burger joint does a black-bean patty that I’m normally all about, but this year I went for the classic, dripping-in-special-sauce beef-patty burger. And it was glorious.