Monday, March 07, 2011

Annual Books and Movies List - 2010

Every year since I started this blog, I have listed and rated the books I read and listened to and the movies I watched in theaters. I never got around to doing it for 2010 for some reason, mainly because I wasn't blogging much at all around the end of year. So, for myself as much as for anyone else, here is my list.

Just a note about methodology: The ratings are based on five stars being the highest. The books are ones I have read or listened to this year, some of them for the second or third time. I read (or listened to) 58 books this year, down from last year's record 67. Eleven were non-fiction; 56 were fiction.

Although five stars is officially my highest rating, if a book makes me say, "Wow!!" at the end, I might give it Five Plus Stars. Five Plus Stars should be rare; last year I awarded none of those. Either I read better quality books this year or I was feeling more generous as I read five books that got Five Plus Stars.

I only list 25 movies this year, down from 42 last year. The movies I listed are ones I saw in theaters because of my conviction that seeing DVDs at home on even large television screens is not experiencing the whole movie as it was intended by the directors of the movies. I can change. Having allowed The Wife and Son Number One to talk me into acquiring a large flat screen tv with a blu-ray DVD player and an on-line connection, I find that I am enjoying watching movies at home as much or more than watching them in a theater. Plus the convenience and low cost of watching Netflix, particularly their instant offerings, has meant that the vast majority of movies I am watching now are at home, so for 2011, I will list and rate those also. The movies marked Ebertfest were ones I saw at the Roger Ebert Film Festival here in April. Most of them were not in wide release and many are not even available on Netflix.


My book of the year is Generosity by Richard Powers

Five Plus Stars
Generosity Richard Powers
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
The Bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder
The Gravedigger's Daughter Joyce Carol Oates
The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

Five Stars

Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories Annie Proulx
Bridge of Sighs Richard Russo
Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
Country Driving Peter Hessler
Digging to America Anne Tyler
Good-Bye Columbus and Other Short Stories by Philip Roth
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
My Father's Tears: Short Stories John Updike
Noah's Compass Anne Tyler
Nonviolent Communication Marshall Rosenberg
The Art of Travel Alain de Bottom
The Maple Stories John Steinbeck
Zeitoun Dave Eggers

Four Stars

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers
An American Type Henry Roth
Elementals A.S. Byatt
Family Meeting Miles DeMott
Following the Equator Mark Twain
How Proust Can Change Your Life Alain de Bottom
Imperfect Birds Anne Lamotte
Jaybar Crow Wendell Berry
La's Orchestra Saves The World Alexander McCall Smith
Last Night in Twisted River John Irving
Letting Go Philip Roth
Pylon William Faulkner
Revolutionary Road Richard Yates
Sanctuary William Faulkner
She Got Up Off The Couch Haven Kimmel
Solar Ian McEwan
The Facts Philip Roth
The Good Boatman: A Portrait of Gandhi by Rajmohan Gandhi
The Help Kathleen Stockett
The Women T. Coraghessan Boyle
When She Was Good Philip Roth

Three Stars

Alaska James Michener
A Tale of Two Revolts Rajmohan Gandhi
Deception Philip Roth
Diary of A Pigeon Watcher Doris Schwerin
Ella Minnow Pea Mark Dunn
Girl With Curious Hair David Foster Wallace
In Dubious Battle John Steinbeck
Musicophilia Oliver Sacks
Songs Without Words Ann Packer
The Bean Trees Barbara Kingsolver
The Breast Philip Roth
The Clinton Tapes Taylor Branch
The Flying Troutmans Miriam Toews
The Professor of Desire Philip Roth

Two Stars

I Like You Amy Sedaris
My French Whore Gene Wilder
Once On A Moonless Night Dai Sijie
South of Broad Pat Conroy
Traveling With Pomegranates Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

Movies

Five Plus Stars

The Messenger (also my movie of the year.)

Five Stars

A Single Man
"Departures"
Song Sung Blue
(Ebertfest)
The Kids Are All Right
Trucker
(Ebertfest)
Vincent: A Life in Color (Ebertfest)

Four Stars


Babies
Barfly
(Ebertfest)
Crazy Heart
It's Complicated
Synecdoche, New York
(Ebertfest)
Up In The Air
Wall Street II
You The Living
(Ebertfest)

Three Stars

Dinner For Schmucks
Extraordinary Measures
I Capture the Castle
(Ebertfest)
Man With A Movie Camera (Ebertfest)
Morning Glories
Pink Floyd: The Wall
(Ebertfest)
The Last Station
The New Age
(Ebertfest)

Two Stars

Apocalypse Now Redux (Ebertfest)
Leading Ladies
Salt

3 comments:

Catch Her in the Wry said...

Barfly was always a favorite of mine and it's not available on DVD or streaming video (or at least wasn't a year or so ago).

forsythia said...

I'll have to check out Barfly."Barfly" was (one of) Grammy's nicknames for Gramp. "Trotbag" was another.

rdl said...

Wow, i am so impressed; but you make me fee like such a sluggard! :(