January 1, 2007

BEST OF 2006:

We've periodically asked what everyone was particularly enjoying reading, watching and viewing--how about the stuff that struck your fancy in 2006 (whether it was published this year or you just found it this year):




Thanks to Qiao Yang:


Sadly, it seems past time to let the tiger out of the cage (polar bear?) on Lost, but Mike Daley got me hooked on:

And, thanks to DVDs, you can go back and watch great older series, including British ones that never made it here:

Turbulent year for books was a page-turner: Accusations, including fraud, plagariasm and cooked-up identities, created a scandalous year for the once-genteel publishing industry. (Josh Getlin, 12/29/06, LA Times)
Books 2006: The cream of the year's bumper crop is particularly satisfying (JOHN MARSHALL, 12/29/06, Seattle P-I)
It’s all true: A year in non-fiction (JON GARELICK, December 20, 2006, Boston Phoenix)

Seth Mnookin | Feeding The Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top | Simon & Schuster | Mnookin, a Vanity Fair contributing editor (and former Phoenix contributor), spent more than a year behind the scenes at Fenway Park, during which he had unfettered access to all layers of the Red Sox organization. Covering the tumultuous 2005 season, he lays bare the workings of one of the biggest and most beloved franchises in sports. At the same time, one of his central theses is that, despite the three-ring-circus atmosphere and incendiary fan interest, this is in many ways — sorry, folks — just another baseball team. [...]

Lawrence Wright | The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11 | Knopf | Wright revisits and expands on his earlier excellent reporting for the New Yorker, not only chronicling the origins and the inner machinations of al-Qaeda but also offering an analysis of the complex, almost symbiotic relationship between Osama bin Laden and his number two, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. Much of this ground has been covered in other books, but nowhere in a more accessible and engaging narrative.


Posted by Orrin Judd at January 1, 2007 11:54 PM

Best book:
Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the road to 9/11"

Posted by: John J Coupal at December 29, 2006 11:38 AM

Glad to see the Apples made the music list. You might want to check out Marbles, which is Robert Shneider's side project. If you like the Pet Sounds/Rubber Soul/Sgt. Pepper vibe of Apples, you should like Marbles as well. There is a new Apples release scheduled for February.

Another more recent release I am listening to a lot is "The Loon" from Tapes 'n' Tapes. The Loon has made a few smarty-pants critics lists this year, but don't hold that against them. I might go and see them tonight at First Avenue if I have the energy and the show doesn't get sold out.

The two best movies I saw this year were United 93 (the theatrical release, not the made-for-tv movie), Little Miss Sunshine, and The Prestige.

Posted by: ted welter at December 29, 2006 12:43 PM

Yes, thanks for turning me on to the Apples, who I like best of the collective.

Have you heard the new Decemberists, Crane Wife? I don't get the whole story, but the tunes are good.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2006 12:57 PM

DVD -- "Upstairs/Downstairs" -- Fantastic.

TV -- "Lost" -- Sheepishly admit to being hooked.

Cable TV -- "Good Eats" -- Makes me laugh more than anything since "The Odd Couple" and I want one of those of dinosaur spritzers.

New Fiction -- "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. Very well written; keeps you guessing almost to the end; kinda lame Hollywood ending, but I bought it.

Movies -- we keep trying, but no winners this year.

Posted by: erp at December 29, 2006 2:00 PM

The Crane Wife is lyrically a little confused, but has some really beautiful musical moments.

Sufjan Steven's "The Avalanche" also has some very fine songs on it (along with some filler, but even the filler from Sufjan Stevens is quite listenable).

Did you catch the Austin City Limits with Sufjan Stevens?

Posted by: ted welter at December 29, 2006 2:01 PM

Yes, but The Wife and I were both cracking up at those butterfly costumes. A tad precious...

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2006 2:02 PM

With the exception of Red Sox baseball on NESN HD and perhaps Kim Possible, Good Eats is the best thing on tv.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2006 2:06 PM

oj. We ring out the year in total agreement on "Good Eats." Never heard of Kim or the Red Socks.

Posted by: erp at December 29, 2006 4:53 PM

Anyone who likes science fiction should try Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross.

I watched, and wanted to like that Nero Wolfe series, but the rep company aspect annoyed the heck out of me. A mysterious woman client would show up, and I'd say "Wait a minute, that's the same woman from the last episode with a different hairstyle!" And it was, but viewers were supposed to ignore it. I liked the actors, but having the same people play different roles creates false clues and so is a huge mistake for a mystery series.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 29, 2006 4:55 PM

We especially like the company aspect, makes it like old time radio.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2006 8:23 PM

Book: "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus," by Charles C. Mann. An engaging synthesis of current views on pre-Colombian America and the achievements, interactions, and decline of the native Americans. I especially appreciated his evisceration of the 'pristine fallacy.'

TV: I've started watching 'Da Vinci's Inquest' which has a convoluted multi-thread story line and many deeply flawed characters.

Posted by: jd watson at December 29, 2006 8:51 PM

Gilead is the best book I've read in years and years...

Posted by: b at December 30, 2006 1:03 AM

jd, where are you finding "Da Vinci's Inquest?" Netflix came up empty.

Posted by: erp at December 30, 2006 9:25 PM

Books: Thanks to oj for Quo Vadis and The Fire and the Sword

Movies: I agree with erp. Nothing this year.

TV: House, Monk, and Scrubs. I also love Good Eats.

DVDs: Looney Tunes Golden Collection volumes 1-3. Volume 4 is on its way.

Posted by: Bartman at December 31, 2006 9:13 AM

Let me add a jazz recommendation: Ted Nash's CD "In the Loop."

Posted by: Foos at December 31, 2006 7:32 PM

Happy New Year, all!

Redefining Sovereignty wins more than Honorable Mention; it wins the Prescient Prize for 2006. Congratulations, OJ and may blessings and wisdom be given to us all. I pray that God will give us all courage in the new year.

And thank you for another very good year of Brothers Judd!

Oh Brave New World with such brothers in it!

Posted by: Qiao Yang at January 1, 2007 12:31 AM