2014: Year in Review

Publishing a 2014 round-up on January 6th, because I’m just that classy.

Here’s a bunch of stuff I liked this past year! Maybe you will like it too!

Books

I read 62 books in 2014! Top picks:

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman. Not just Gaiman’s best work in some time, but probably the best thing I’ve read in ages, honestly.
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami. My favorite of the Murakami I read this year, though I also read Sputnik Sweetheart (great!) and 1Q84 (pretty good!) for the first time. He’s one of my favorite authors, and this novel is a great starting point if you’ve never read him before.
  • Railsea, China Miéville. An amazing post-apocalyptic fairy tale that transposes seagoing culture and the mythology of Moby Dick onto, well, trains. Miéville is another author whose entire oeuvre I pretty much adore, and I honestly can’t choose a favorite between this one, Perdido Street Station and The City & The City.
  • Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks. It is bittersweet to finish reading the Culture novels for the first time, a series I discovered belatedly last year (for the sad reason of the author’s death). They’re genius, a bit reminiscent of M. John Harrison in subverting space opera tropes to tell a very human story in a transhumanist, post-scarcity future. Definitely recommend. (Start with The Player of Games, probably, though Consider Phlebas is technically the first.)

I also quite enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy, To Say Nothing of the Dog (Connie Willis), Leigh Alexander’s GDC memoire, Why Girls Are Weird (Pamela Ribon), and The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafón). Greg Egan’s collection Oceanic is just $2.99 on Kindle (as is a lot of his back catalog); if you’re into SF and haven’t read his work, you’re missing out. His novel The Clockwork Rocket was another really good thing I read last year.

Biggest disappointment? Mark Helprin’s In Sunlight and in Shadow.

2014 is also the year I got over my long-standing aversion to the concept of ebooks and bought myself a Kindle, which I was surprised to find I absolutely adore.

Music

Heavy rotation in 2014: Lorde — Pure Heroine, Foster The People — Torches, The Limousines — Get Sharp, The Blow — Paper Television. I became the last person in the known universe to discover Tegan and Sara, and now I can’t stop listening to The Con.

The Capital Cities, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery is possibly the only new music I got into in 2014 that actually came out in 2014.

Oh and of course lots of Bootie mashups! Best of Bootie 2014 just came out and is, as per usual, the cream of the crop.

Games

I played and enjoyed: Rogue LegacyCounterfeit Monkey, Depression QuestKentucky Route Zero, Dragon Age 2 (better than people gave it credit for IMO; loved this article about it). Replayed Fez. Got obsessed with A Dark Room. Played the hell out of AC: Brotherhood. I also (talk about being late to the party) started Myst for the first time (though I seem to recall attempting it when it was new and getting stuck..) and it’s great but I haven’t finished it yet. >_>

Movies

I watched 35 movies (which is a lot of movies for me!). Favorites: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Life of PiNever Let Me Go, Burn After Reading, The Lego Movie, The Book of Life.

Tried, but failed, to like Interstellar and The Big Lebowski.

Some Other Great Things
Misc

In 2014 I did 39 yoga classes (an average of one every 1.3 weeks — not too shabby). I biked ~600 miles.

I saw a bunch of theatre, including Sleep No More (twice! it was so good!) and Into The Woods at the SF Playhouse. Meow Meow at the Berkeley Rep was enthralling. Saw two Cirque shows (Amaluna and Kurios); the former was better but they were both good. Failed to Escape from a Mysterious Room (but had a blast trying).

I flew over 50,000 miles, traveling to Boston, Budapest, Iceland, NYC, Park City UT, Albuquerque, Australia and New Zealand. According to TripIt, I was traveling for 78 days in 2014! My favorite of those places was probably Budapest (a surprisingly happening place with a TON of character), but Sydney is a close runner-up. I think there are definitely more trips to Australia in my future.

Other stuff worth noting: I started my full-time gig at Automattic, and 10 months in I still make this face about my job pretty much every day: :D. I went on some rollercoasters for the first time ever and even enjoyed them (well, except Space Mountain. Space Mountain was effing terrifying). I acquired bouncy stilts. I started this blog!

2015

I don’t really do resolutions, but I’ve decided my intention for 2015 is to be less busy, and get more done.

And maybe finally organize my digital photos? LOL nah probably not.

2 thoughts on “2014: Year in Review

  1. Mark Helprin, oh no! I haven’t read the new one but when he’s good he’s so very good. I think I’ll still have to give it a read. Maybe going in and assuming it will be disappointing will make me enjoy it more??

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    • Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I wouldn’t have found it so crushingly disappointing if I didn’t adore Winter’s Tale so very much, so, yes, that’s a high bar… but I think even taken on its own “merits”, it’s just not a very good book.

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