Year in Review (in a manner of speaking)

Year in Review (in a manner of speaking)

We Walked in Song

This year has been full, and before you check out and think that this is a post about all of the stuff I did this year written in open-letter format to my childhood sweetheart (whoa!) I think it's only fair to warn you that this post is about the great books, movies, music and other such things that came into my life this past year. Those of you who know me, know that I don't do favorites, but apparently I do year-end roundups. At least this year. I hope that in this showcase, you will find things that you recognize and love, things you couldn't stand, and things you've never heard of. Enjoy.

Music

New Bands (to me, at least)

Dr. Cramer and his wife took me under their wing during my last semester at Taylor. They invited me into their home, worshipped alongside me at church and played speed scrabble with me on at least one Friday night. They also introduced me to The Innocence Mission who gave me a song called Happy Birthday (as well as many others) to love. Their sound is lilting, ethereal and lovely with lyrics that leave you thinking, and, in my case, resonating.

A friend at school suggested that I get to know Over the Rhine, a band that has captured me with their heartbreakingly honest lyrics, well-sung songs and obvious emotion, among other things. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert last spring, contributing to the making of their new album, and falling in love with all the songs on it.

My brother introduced me to Mumford and Sons over Thanksgiving. I must admit that I was very skeptical about how popular they are, especially among the cool people that I know. However, upon giving them a listen, I've found much to love about these people, though Winter Winds remains my favorite song from the first listen.

Songs

I discovered that happiness can be achieved by many different sounds this year. Somehow, I've found that my ipod plays host to Taio Cruz' "Break Your Heart" and "Dynamite" as well as Damian Rice's "9 Crimes" and The After's "Light Up the Sky." Here are my top few songs. They have made up my soundtrack this year.

Over It - Relient K. This song, from their break-up album Forget and Not Slow Down, is beautiful musically, while also putting a finger on some of the things you have to tell yourself in order to move on, in any area of your life. I did a lot of moving on this year, and this song helped.

Light Up the Sky - The Afters. A song about looking for the hints of God's presence in life, even when it's not obvious.

Free Fallin' - John Mayer. (This is the live version, a cover) So often, during graduation and beyond, this song summed up what I felt.

This is the Future - Owl City. This song offers a hopeful look at the present. Much appreciated.

Needle and Haystack Life - Switchfoot. Perhaps the most unique look at uniqueness I've heard in a long while. It reminds me that there is a reason to keep searching.

The Laugh of Recognition - Over the Rhine. This is an anthem written to the men of my generation. I echo these words.

Happiness - The Fray. Such a melancholy, hopeful song. 

Breakeven - The Script. A very true picture of what a break-up looks like, rendered with love.

All right, I'll just admit it:

Mine - Taylor Swift. It made me cry the first time I heard it. There, I said it.

Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz. Good memories with a good new friend, and many since.

Film

Alice in Wonderland. This film stole my heart. I enjoyed the fanciful elements, and perhaps most, the Hatter quoting "The Jabberwocky" poem.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I cried. Though elements were not like the book, this film and the two preceding it should not be placed in the same category.

The Tourist. It got terrible reviews, but I really liked it. It made me think and twisted my mind around.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1). This movie was true to the book and moving without leaving me on a cliff hanging until next July. Truly worth-while for any fan of the books. If you're not a fan of the books, you won't get half of it. Fact.

Inception. My favorite movie of the year. This one also made me cry and made me examine my view of creativity. I actually blogged about this one.

Letters

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster. I loved the word-play, the subtle message. I truly wanted to go and hang out in this country and talk with people. The whole thing was delightful, and, I think, timeless. Written ages ago and still delighting people. Or so it seems.

I Was Told There'd Be Cake - Sloane Crosley. This was a funny, witty, somewhat irreverent but very relatable collection of essays written by a young New-Yorker talking about the things of her life.

A Walk With Jane Austen - Lori Smith. A memoir of one woman's journey through Jane Austen's country, works and her own faith.

Art & Fear - David Bayles and Ted Orland. A book about being an artist, even when it is scary. Filled with good reminders, and excellent encouragement.

Gilead - Marilynne Robinson. Lyrical fiction that made me forget that there were not chapters and reminded me of the power of love in the everyday, and of everyday in the everyday.

The Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling. I was never planning on being a fan, until I started reading these well-written books filled with good imagery, imagination and lessons that I often find myself relating to my own life.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery. Orginally written in French and filled with marvelous descriptions, it's a book about cream-fillings, and other things you can't see from the outside.

I look forward to another year of discovery, imagination and such things. Please feel free to send recommendations my way, and happy New Year to all. Thanks for reading.