Poor 2016, so maligned, so deeply sad. A prelude to tragedy, perhaps. But–in an utterly selfish way–it was a decent reading/listening/viewing year for me. I don’t write proper reviews on the blog. It feels a bit weird. I have strong opinions, and I often share these on social media and in real life, but if I’m not willing to be critical, then it feels wrong to write formal squee! reviews. So this isn’t that, it’s just a list of things I really liked.
Some of these are late 2015 releases that I didn’t consume until 2016, but most are from this year. I tried to stick with things that were, in my opinion, under-buzzed; things that, in other words, you may not have heard of. A few big books/movies/etc. slipped in anyhow. Cheers, and tell me yours (or link!) in the comments!
- Sprained Ankle, Julien Baker: my album of the year. For sure. Seriously, check out “Something.” Or this cover of “Photobooth” (which isn’t on the album, sadness). I’m utterly in love with her voice.
- Cardinal, Pinegrove: specifically “Aphasia” and “Size of the Moon.” Their session with Audiotree is also amazing.
- The Hamilton Mixtape, Various Artists: I mean, of course.
- “Cutting My Fingers Off,” Turnover: I’m back to work on this contemporary WIP, and this song is so much this book
- “LA Dream,” Julia Jacklin: and so is this one.
- “Atta Blues,” Emily Wolfe: and this one.
- Giving it Up, Audra North: just a terrific erotic rom with likable, relatable characters and wonderful writing.
- Gambled Away, Various Authors: I usually buy anthos for one or two things, but in this case, they were all good, including the ones I hadn’t anticipated. Loved it.
- Perv, Dakota Gray: so good, so dirty, and so witty.
- The Young Blood, Erin Satie: I loved this entire series, but this was somehow even better than I’d expected. Annoyingly good.
- A Seditious Affair, KJ Charles: romantic, political, surprising. This is the Regency I want to read about.
- Strong Signal, Megan Erikson and Santino Hassell: it starts out as an epistolary romance. I just…ah, so lovely. And then so hot. (ETA in June 2018: I had forgotten I recommended this until someone asked me about it. This was before the Santino Hassell saga, which you can read about here. I have no plans to read or recommend any other Hassell titles in the future.)
- Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly: I mean, of course.
- The Rise of the Rocket Girls, Nathalia Holt: ditto.
- “Lost in Trumplandia,” Patricia Lockwood: read this. Read it, read it, read it.
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates: and you’ve probably already read this, but read it again. Somehow it’s even better than I thought it would be.
- Exodus, Frontline: searing, important, devastating.
- Rogue One: people would see this even if it weren’t good. But then it was so, so good.
- Love and Friendship: hilarious, witty, and beautifully costumed/scored/shot. I adored it.
- Mozart in the Jungle: maybe the most watchable show in my rotation, it’s got a slow-burn romance, zany humor, well written middle aged/older characters, and classical music.
- The Crown: I know lots of people were more measured on this, but I could watch Claire Foy do anything and be riveted. It got me through the election.
- The Americans: it’s probably the best drama on TV. why aren’t you watching it?