I read 55 books this year. 55% of those read from my Kindle , and about half of those were digitally borrowed from either the Autauga-Prattville Public Library ($15 a year for out of county membership) or the Fairfax Public Library ($27 a year for out of state membership). I regret that my local library no longer makes digital downloads available for the Kindle, but I did borrow 5 "real" books from them in 2018. I listened to 12 books this year, the best of which was Jason Reynolds' gut-wrenching, beautiful, provocative, hypnotic reading of his own work, Long Way Down. This is a novel in verse that I believe should listened to, because the sense of immediacy, the emotional wallop, is made even more profound in the hearing of the story.
I ditched 7 books last year, and gave too many of those significantly more rope than they deserved. So, I'll be going back to my 75 page rule for 2019. (I'm not kidding when I tell you I got fully 2/3 of the way through one of those books before breaking up with it.)
76% of my reading was fiction, and as top heavy as that number is, it it much, much improved from years past.
The following books got 5 star reviews from me in 2018. The only criteria I really have to give a book 5 stars is that when I finished reading (or listening to) it, I wanted to go grab somebody and make them read it, too. These are listed in the order in which I read them. (Hyperlinks go to my Goodreads reviews.)
Burning Bright: Stories (Ron Rash)
Destiny of the Republic (Candace Millard, read by Paul Michael)
Hannah Coulter (Wendell Berry)
Long Way Down (Written and read by Jason Reynolds)
I'll Be Gone in the Dark (Michelle McNamara, read by Gabra Zackman)
Odd Girl Out: My Extraordinary Autistic Life (Laura James)
Bone Music (Christoper Rice)
The Buddha in the Attic (Julie Otsuka)
The Punishment She Deserves (Elizabeth George, read by Simon Vance)
The Chalk Man (C.J. Tudor)
A Duty to the Dead (Charles Todd)
I saw 19 movies on the big screen in 2018. Favorites (linked here to their trailers) were:
We saw 11 plays this year; 10 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and one at Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center. The highlights were these:
Lion King (BJCC)
Every Brilliant Thing (ASF)
Gospel of Luke (ASF) - Note: I could not find a video clip that did it justice in any way, but if you ever have the opportunity to see Bruce Kuhn perform this where you are, go.
I attended 5 live musical performances this year, which included organ concerts and performances by the Montgomery Chorale. I enjoyed them all, but if I could have one experience over again, it would be the Total Praise concert performed by the Chorale at Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church. Not only was the music outstanding, it was true community experience, and one that I hope will be built upon in years to come. My hometown seems split down the middle in so many ways, and music - as it did in this instance - has the power to begin to knock those barriers down.
The biggest news here is that we finally let go of cable TV and now subscribe to Hulu Live, which includes every one of the networks (both live and archived) and most of the cable channels we particularly liked. The notable exception is BBC America, but the shows that my husband likes there that can only be watched there is also available for purchase via iTunes. That aside, we haven't missed a thing, including college football even when it's on some of the outlier channels.
But our favorite "new" thing is the monthly subscription we have to Acorn TV, which is a streaming service featuring mostly British series, both new and old. We have finished all seasons of the quirky Australian series 800 Words, and are currently enjoying working our way through Foyle's War, the remarkably stunning and unusual Suspects, and No Offense, which made us laugh about all manner of terribly inappropriate things through all the currently available seasons. I have marked my calendar for later in January, when a new season begins.
We treated ourselves to a total binge of Doc Martin via Netflix and were bereft when we got completely caught up, because the new season won't be around for nearly another year.
Notable documentaries, also watched via Netflix were The Staircase, and the utterly heartbreaking God Knows Where I Am.
What were YOUR favorites?