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2016 in Review

I had hoped to finish Charles Bukowski's Hot Water Music before the end of the year, but ah well. It'll be the first book for 2017. I may even finish Dhalgren or The Scorpio Races this coming year (this is why I shouldn't buy e-books, if I don't finish them immediately, I'll never return to them; I say this even as I buy three non-fiction books on Google Play). And for Christmas, my sister decided to get me started on all things Scott Pilgrim, with the first graphic novel. In color. She also bought me an original copy of Revolution X, because Revolution X is to me what Clash at the Demon Head is to Bryan Lee O'Malley.

Let's not get into what my parents thought, watching me shoot CD discs at cages holding scantily clad women, their sweet little, "Thank you"s as they paraded out. All I can say is that there's one thing my parents have always been assured about when it comes to my sexuality. My entire family has theories about that. What they didn't know was that I loved the game in the same way that I love Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Anyhoo, here's a list of all the best for me this year.

BEST BOOKS OF 2016!

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. I loved this book so much that I've been hoarding all the Jeanette Winterson books whenever I find one in a used bookstore. In fact, one employee told me that her co-worker was hoping no one would find the ones I did so she could buy them later. V strikes again!

On Photography by Susan Sontag should be required reading.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon. Everything you could possibly ever want to know about depression. Also, the last chapter choked me up. I'm not a very hopeful person and Solomon gave me words of hope. This book helped me start to think of my depression as not a sentient being that worked against me but something that is inevitably always going to be a part of me.

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. I have tried and tried and tried to write a post about this, but it always ends up terrible. It's so difficult to express the sheer horror at how Kaysen was diagnosed and then thrown in a mental institution. The blatant sexism of her time is also quite shocking.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I love Esther Greenwood. God, I love her so.

Patience by Daniel Clowes. Risking self-annihilation to save someone from becoming a victim of their circumstances. There are aspects of this story that feel so fresh and original in a concept that has become very cliched.

Zazen by Vanessa Veselka. I think it's fairly safe to say that Della is a character I can completely relate to.

Books that were really pretty good as well

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell

The Mood Guide to Fashion and Fabric

Fairy Tale Fashion by Colleen Hill

Crush by Richard Siken

Books that verged on Meh

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (ultimately, the problem that I had with this book was that I had read The Noonday Demon, superior in every way possible)

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty

LEAST FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2016!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I had the same reaction as I did to all of the characters in Guy Gavriel Kay's first trilogy: when will all of these people die, and how slowly will it be?

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman. The fact that this was published is a little astonishing. A collection of unfinished short stories that were never fleshed out. Also, I wasn't triggered by anything.

How to Talk to Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman, Fabio Moon, and Gabriel Ba. The artwork in this is fantastic. It's just a shame that it's paired with a short story that goes nowhere and says absolutely nothing at all, other then women are strange creatures. I can assure you, men. I am not a walking, talking Venusian who intends to eat the entire male race through my fingers. Venu - I mean, Scout's honor.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Bennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. If I needed any reason to never enter this fictional universe ever again . . .

BEST FILMS I SAW IN 2016!

Les Vacances de M. Hulot (1953)
Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo (2012)
The World of Tomorrow (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Small Change (1976)
Zootopia (2016)
Carol (2015)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
Anomalisa (2015)
The Big Short (2015)
Fight Club (1999)
Judex (1964)

Out of this list of fantastic films, the best I've seen this year are The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Fight Club, and Judex. There is such a profound sense of loss in Kaguya that I found myself crying long after I had finished watching the film. Fight Club has a brilliant sense of humor and is everything but what I had been told it was. It's completely misunderstood in the same way that Apocalypse Now is misunderstood. This isn't some misogynistic film about expressing male rage - this is completely against that idea. And Judex! Oh, how I loved you, loony Judex! If you've seen any of the Batman films, there is so much deja vu within this film. Diana Monti was the obvious inspiration for Cat Woman. I want to make all of her costumes. I want to wear a cat suit in Diana Monti's honor. And there's so much fantastical lunacy to this film. Watching the innocent love interest float on water - I think I need to discover all of Georges Franju's dream-like visions.

Film Surprises

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens - this film was not supposed to be this good. Especially after the prequels, I had no hope for Star Wars past the original trilogy. And then.

Sing Street - the previews didn't do this film any justice, and I'm glad I had that one Phil Collins line to hang onto. Not a perfect film, but definitely better than I ever expected.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping - I usually can't take Andy Samberg in large doses. So much so that I've probably spelled his name incorrectly. However, Popstar mocks the music industry quite well.

Finding Dory - Again, I wasn't expecting to like this film as much as I did, but dammit, they had me at Septopus. I love Hank.

LEAST FAVORITE FILMS OF THE YEAR

Big Hero 6 - Baymax is the only reason to watch this film. Everything else surrounding him is a wave of mutilation.

Captain America: Civil War - too many characters, too many cliched plot points, and everything is just to set up one side against another, no matter how out of character these choices may seem. However, I loved Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and am happily awaiting that film.

Girl, Interrupted - Hoo boy. How can a book be so good and the adaptation be so horrible? For that matter, it stomps on the original message of the book and smears it across the floor of good taste. Hate is a strong word. But this film made me come close to that feeling.

Keanu - I love Key and Peale. This film just didn't live up to their usual sense of humor.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Please. Do tell me about your privileged, white problems while you are in the middle of Afghanistan. I really do care. Honest. Please, whine through two hours of the film.

BEST ALBUMS BOUGHT THIS YEAR!

Innocence Reaches by of Montreal!!!
Paralytic Stalks by of Montreal!!!
Skeletal Lamping by of Montreal!!!
The Magic by Deerhoof!!!
Breakup Songs by Deerhoof!!!
New View by Eleanor Friedberger!!!

Blackstar by David Bowie
A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead
Port Entropy by Shugo Tokumaru
Sister by Sonic Youth
The Out Sound From Way In! by Perrey & Kingsley
Chrominance Decoder by April March
Hanna by Chemical Brothers
Shields by Grizzly Bear
Rufus Wainwright by Rufus Wainwright ($3.99 purchase! Worth way more than that!)
Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel
Paris-Berlin by Stereo Total
The Else by They Might Be Giants

And that's all for the year! Thanks for sticking around and happy new year to all of you! Let's start the year off with something a little dark and gory! (You can take a guess at what that might be.)
  • Current Music: Kafe Mania - Deerhoof
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