a few of my favorite things

Austin Kleon says you shouldn’t write a ‘favorites’ list prior to December 31 because you’ll invariably find something unexpected that you love afterwards.  I’m glad I listened.

This isn’t a ‘best of’ for the year. The list below is a simple collection of things I enjoyed.

Books I couldn’t put down.

Music I listened to on repeat.

Films and shows that made me think, laugh, and tear up.


4th of July Creek by Smith Henderson – A reckless, but well meaning social worker + a paranoid family of feral misfits = a complicated and compelling tale.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – As good as advertised.

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Powerful. Sobering. Perspective-altering.

Blackout by Sarah Hepola – A tell-all memoir from a lifelong alcoholic. Terrific.

For The Love by Jen Hatmaker – Written for women, important for everyone. I really liked this book. The Jesus Kids’ and Poverty Tourism chapters stood out.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – This book is a couple of years old, but I only discovered it this year. What a story! Now on a short list of my all-time favorites.

How To Raise An Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims – If you’re a parent, educator, or thinking of becoming either, you should consider reading read this book.  Parents are encouraged to raise children to independence while leaving room for failure and abandoning the fragility mindset.  Great thoughts on college as well from the former Stanford dean.

Scary Close by Donald Miller – While scores of other men continue falling all over themselves to write yet….another….book….on….leadership, Miller is busy penning practical words that speak to the heart and mind. A textbook on relationships and how we should be treating one another.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson – Maybe the most important book I read this year. Here’s why.

A list of all the books I finished this year resides here.


American Dream – Miami Horror

Clearest Blue – Chvrches

Delilah – Florence + The Machine

Do You – Spoon

Dreams – Beck

Hurricane – Misterwives

Should Have Known Better – Sufjan Stevens


Dopamine – Borns

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine

Self-Titled – Coin

Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes

Then Came The Morning – The Lone Bellow


Boyhood – Although technically released in 2014, the vision to tell a story over 12 years and pull it off was tremendous. Ellar Coltrane is extraordinary.

Inside Out – Wow, Pixar got this right. Awfully enjoyable watching this through the eyes of a parent.

Meadowland – A story of unspeakable loss and the life that follows. Completely devastating.

SpotlightAll The President’s Men for a new generation.


The Americans – Season 3 – This stylistic period piece set among the Cold War’s backdrop is thoughtful and polished.

Homeland – Season 5 – Is it possible for this show to get any better? Its ability to portend events of global significance with uncanny accuracy continues to astound.

Master of None – Season 1 – Aziz being Aziz.

Rectify – Season 3 – A southern story of corruption, family dysfunction, and the hardships that befall a social outcast.


Novo Amor – Pretty much anything he’s done. I may be slightly biased, but Holland is terrific. His arrangement of Welcome to the Jungle is haunting.

U2: Innocence + Experience Live – The Paris attacks forced a postponement of U2’s scheduled performance in la Ville Lumière. The concert which followed was, in a word…powerful.

Making a Murderer – This Netflix documentary brings binge watching to a new level.  Intense, tragic, and addictive.

Just Like Christmas – Low – A terrific song by a band I was introduced to for this first time this holiday season.

So there you have it. Some of my favorites.

What moved you in 2015?

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