Books and Movies of 2010

As in years past, I recorded all the books I read and movies I watched over the year. Some of these were new releases, some were new to me, and some were old friends.

This year, I set a new record for books read (61!), thanks I suspect to the amount of time I spent on planes, in hotel rooms or plopped in front of an ocean or pool. The movie count was 33.

I was pleased to see not many movies or books made it into the “what was I thinking” category. Most of the year’s entertainment turned out to be okay. And I had a few standouts, which turned into the top nine list below. Nine chosen only because that’s what I’ve done in the past and because nine is an easy number to turn into an overall graphic.

The year-end lists haven’t included television yet, but I’m currently addicted to The Walking Dead on AMC and Law and Order U.K. on BBC America. The Walking Dead compendium, which collects the first 40-odd issues of the comic book, was narrowly edged out of the favorite books. Consider this its honorable mention.

On to the list…



Books
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – The first book in a series I definitely would have loved when I was young. Once I got into the young-adult style, the books flew. Thanks to my sister’s students for letting me borrow the books.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Graeme-Smith – Cleverly done. A perfect imitation of modern biographies with surprisingly plausible explanations for Lincoln’s life as a vampire hunter, assuming you accept the notion of vampires as nonsparkly reality, of course.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne – I knew nothing about the ending going into the book. I was surprised, shocked and sad. I’ve decided not to watch the movie because I don’t think it will live up to the book.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – I’ve never had a favorite chapter in the book before. The piece where Enzo gets to race with Denny is my first favorite chapter and works as a separate short story.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake – The story completely pulled me in with its tragedies you saw coming, the ones you should have seen coming and the blindsiding ones that pull the air from your lungs.

Movies
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – I love the idea that the universe’s existence depends on storytelling. The changing actors for Tony worked well within the story. Verne Troyer’s acting was a surprise; he can do more than Mini-Me.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters – Billy Mitchell is an arrogant ass. That is all.

Inception – Nolan does a good job of showing enough to have the plot and characters make sense but not putting everything under a bright light. You get to add your own interpretations to the shadows.

Gettysburg – a rewatch because I love this movie and the research and books to which it leads m every time I rewatch it.

What Was I Thinking
She’s Got Issues by Stephanie Lessing – As a parody of chick lit books, this isn’t bad. The problem is that I don’t think Lessing meant the book as a parody.

Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline – Yuk! Implausible situations, erratic character behavior and bad writing. The book stayed behind in London. It wasn’t even worthy of being left at work for someone else to suffer through.

Company of Wolves – Movies and books that I abandon don’t make it into the journal. I’d heard a lot of good things about this movie, but it turned out to be unwatchable. I ended up fast-forwarding to see the twist which featured in so many rave reviews. The twist was possibly worse than the rest of the movie.

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