After posting those long, rambling TV/movies lists, I got bored and moved on to other things like doing the laundry and joining Twitter. But then I was like “oh man, I only ranted about TV and movies and everyone in the whole world is going to think I’m a buffoon who talks of nothing but snacks and crap sitcoms!” which is entirely true, but I also listen to and read a lot of junk because I live alone and I only force myself to suffer through social indignities infrequently, so what else am I supposed to do with my free time? Take up cooking? Dating? don’t be ridiculous.
So, in short, here are some quick lists of 2010 top 5 leftovers:
Podcasts: (NOT exclusive to new in 2010)
(also before I get into this, it bears noting that my #1 favorite podcast is not on this list since I’ve been listening for awhile, but regardless, you should all be listening to WTF w/Marc Maron
1. The Ink Panthers Show: Mike Dawson and Alex Robinson talk about comics and interview cartoonists, but this is hands down my favorite comics podcast because they often talk about nothing at all really. My favorite episode was when Mike was applying for US citizenship and he and Alex took the test on air. Absolutely nothing to do with comics, but so funny.
2. The Moth: Because the Moth is a mix of celebrity and regular folk storytelling, the quality can vary greatly, favoring neither side. While it’s mostly quite enjoyable to hear people telling unscripted stories (ahem, I call bullshit on that, everyone scripts and rehearses those stories in the mirror ahead of time) I feel like sometimes they choose celebrities based on that merit alone, and their stories can range from hilariously engaging to total self indulgent nonsense. And often, when storytelling, both celebrities and regular folks tend to try to wrap up the ends of their stories with these nice little melodic sentences that just come across as forced and embarrassing. Oh man, I didn’t mean to complain about it that much, I really do actually like this podcast.
3. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: Definitely not for everyone, but having gone through the American public school system, I know staggeringly little about history and like to learn about it online while doodling pictures of squirrels and boners.
4. Stuff You Should Know: From howstuffworks.com, two guys explain everything from hiccups to welfare. They remind me a lot of RadioLab, which I also listen to, but their subject coverage is more broad.
5. Comedy Death Ray: I highly recommend this podcast if you’re on the hunt for more comedians and funny folks. It’s lousy with ‘em.
Book books (NOT exclusive to 2010 releases)
1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: A lot of “impoverished upbringing” stories rely heavily on attempting to evoke pity from its audience by pandering and being heavy handed on the “waaah life was so hard!” angle. Walls eloquently skips right over those memoir pitfalls and tells her story with a straightforward, often unintentionally humorous recanting of her childhood. I really can’t recommend this book enough.
2. My Booky Wook by Russell Brand. What many people dislike about Russell Brand are exactly what I love about him. He’s arrogant, self absorbed, pretentious and recklessly loquacious but in all the best ways possible because if you know how to read his work, you understand that it’s silly and tongue-in-cheek and in fact, by acknowledging and playing with those aspects of his personality, he eradicates them. Or at least makes them really fucking funny.
3 . The Lost City of Z by David Grann. This is the literary equivalent of how I feel about going to the movies. If I’m going to invest a lot of time and money in something, I want to be wholly entertained with fantastical worlds and mysterious people and intrepid explorers and all that garbage. However, I now require those worlds to be rooted in reality and history, as I had my fill of Frank Baum books as a child. (also I hated Avatar) Lost City of Z filled all those requirements.
4. Drinking, a Love Story by Carolyn Knapp. Throughout 2008, 2009 and early 2010 I read dozens of addiction memoirs in hopes of figuring out what the fuck was wrong with me, and let me tell you, they didn’t do a goddamn thing. Most of them are prone to tedious, rambling descriptions of what it feels like to be drunk or high, in an attempt to Really Drive It Home (bleh) or to up their page count. Admittedly, it probably didn’t help that I read most of them while drunk. However, Knapp managed to nail it without all the linguistic frivolities. (However her book jacket did not escape the tired, overused image of a glass of booze and/or fuzzy drunk person behind it. Publishers, please stop doing that!)
5. The Second Tree from the Corner by E.B White. Obviously old, but I forgot how much I love this collection of stories, which I first read and did not appreciate in high school. Actually, I re-read a lot of E.B White this year and really enjoyed it. Plus, whenever I feel like a dick for acting like a real hayseed in New York, I remember this White quote: “There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something…commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. ” Ha! Suck on that, jaded New Yorkers!
Graphic Novels/Comics (lifted from my Daily Cross Hatch list, exclusive to 2010 releases)
1. The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier-Walker Bean is the kind of book I was constantly in search of as a kid, and still was delighted to find as an adult. Aaron excels at creating fantastical worlds you can get completely lost in and his illustrations are so intricate and amazing that i can stare at them for hours. Aaron makes real life just seem so boring.
2. I Want You #2 by Lisa Hanawalt-Lisa’s comics are absolutely disgusting, and I mean that only in the best way and with all of my adoration.
3. How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden-While Sarah was working on this book, we kept making fun of its description on Amazon as “an emotional journey.” But then it turned out that when you couple that with an intelligent and objective view of a historical and political conflict, it makes for a pretty damn good book.
4. Two Cents Plain: My Brooklyn Boyhood by Martin Lemelman-I like pretty much any comics where childhood nostaliga and New York is drawn in loving detail, but Martin’s story encompasses more than just that. It’s a story of a family and changing city and all that stuff that makes you have feelings and what not. Highly recommended even if you don’t live in Brooklyn.
5. Make Me A Woman by Vanessa Davis-Reading Vanessa’s comics are like spending an afternoon baking cookies with your favorite funny aunt. I’ve never actually done that, but I imagine it’s very pleasant. Few people capture the nuance of daily life as well as childhood stories and longer narratives with the hilarity and charm that Vanessa does. Arg I hate that sentence but I mean it.
So, that pretty much wraps up my 2010 lists, thank god. And don’t worry, I won’t do this next year, as this is, after all, the last year on earth. See you all in hell!