Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best of 2011

Welcome, all, to my end of year special in which I review the best pop culture had to offer in 2011. All right, the best of pop culture that I managed to stumble across which, let's face it, isn't all that much. And, all right, also it's just stuff I managed to stumble across this year. Some of the items on my list have been around for a while but the cave in which I live occasionally prevents me from finding these things earlier.

But whatever. I'm making a list of my favorite books, movies, music and television from the past year. And, as a special treat, I will find a way NOT to mention my shiny Jayne hat or my eternal love for all things Whedon.

Oh. Well, never mind that last part...

Shall we start the list?


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Here's a reprint of my review of this novel: There are no words to express just how goddamn beautiful this book is. It’s magical and gorgeous. I love her characters, I love the setting, I love how Stiefvater’s words weave together this tapestry of… I want to saw ‘awesomeness’ but to use that word is just not right because I think this book transcends awesomeness. It’s the kind of book that inspires me to write and I shall read it every year from now on. Maggie Stiefvater, I bow down to your brilliance. Oh, and one more thing: Apparently, this novel will be made into a movie. Please, movie people, do it right. Otherwise, I might have to kill you with my brain.

Where She Went- Gayle Forman. The sequel to her novel “If I Stay”. I wasn’t sure where this novel was going to go but I’m so glad I picked up it and went along for the ride because I really did love it. It was simply a fantastic read. I always love emotions when they’re raw and messy and that was definitely the case with this book. Of course, I thought the story dragged just a bit in the middle when Adam and Mia were reunited. Too much chatter and I wanted to get back to the internal messy emotions. But still, a wonderful, wonderful novel that made me swoon.

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. All right, so technically I haven't even read this book yet but still, I know it deserves a place on this list. I hope to be reading it in the coming year. Please, if you have read it, no spoilers in the comments. If you do, I may have to kill you with my brain... (by the way, I hear Martin has posted the first chapter in the next book on his site. And I hear it's around 6,000 words. Yowzah!)

by John Green- I know his books have been around for a while but I just started reading them this year. If you haven't read this author, I highly recommend you remedy that NOW. Right now. Go ahead. I'll wait. His latest novel, The Fault In Our Stars, will be released on January 10th and I can't wait.


Adele- Specifically her album '21', specifically the tracks "Rolling In The Deep" and "Someone Like You". Not very original, I know, as this album as appeared on just about every Top 10 list this year but I still love it.

Florence + The Machine- Specifically the album "Ceremonials", specifically the tracks "Seven Devils", "Leave My Body" and "Shake It Out"

The Black Keys- Specifically the album "El Camino", which technically I haven't yet listened to but come on. It's the Black Keys and they're awesome. Ergo, so will this album.

Birdy- Specifically her debut album "Birdy", specifically the tracks "Shelter", "Skinny Love" and "Without A Word". I've already listed videos for the other two songs in this blog so today, I'll feature "Without A Word." It's really lovely.


Ryan Gosling in "Crazy. Stupid. Love."

I didn't see very many movies this year but here are some I did see and loved enough to put on this list:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two.

Come on. This cannot be a surprise. I waited for months to see the movie and on the day of its release, I went and sat in a very long line for hours just to get into the theater. All right, so yes, I found the epilogue a little cheesy but this is a great wrap up to an awesome film series.


Again, maybe not my most original selection but this was one funny movie. I heart Kristen Wiig.

Crazy Stupid Love.

I loved this movie. And not just because Ryan Gosling took off his shirt. A very funny, touching movie.


The Walking Dead- I don't even like the horror genre. I mean, not even a little bit and yet, I can't get enough of this show. It is freaking terrifying and I seriously can't watch it before I go to bed because I have zombie nightmares all night long. And yet, I can't get enough. The only thing that would make it better is if Andrea was eaten by Walkers and Darryl got his own show.

Community's "Remedial Chaos Theory" episode. This was the ep where the gang hangs out in Troy and Abed's apartment and order a pizza. It doesn't sound very awesome, I know, but it's the roll of a die that makes this episode great. The Glee themed episode, The Apocalypse Redux episode and the one where Jeff and Shirley play a lot of foosball also deserve a shout out. Very mad at NBC for taking this show off the schedule.

How I Met Your Mother's "Bad News" episode. This was the countdown episode that led to the news of Marshall's father's death. Hilarious and heartbreaking.

Happy Endings- My god, I love this show. I think "Secrets and Limos" is one of my favorite episodes (love Jane's line "I'm not entirely sure I'm not the universe") but the one where Megan Mullally shows up as Penny's mother is pitch perfect. Big shout out to my brother and sister-in-law for introducing me to it!

Parks and Recreation- Pretty much any episode. There is so much hilarity to be found in this half hour. I'd like to give a special shout out to the episode where Donna and Tom take a depressed Ben shopping for a Batman costume as well as the End of the World episode.

What were some of your favorite things from this past year? Oh, and be sure to tune in tomorrow when I take a look back at my goals and resolutions from 2011 and see just how well I did...


  1. I'm posting my best of soon. And if you have a thing for Gosling, you'll have to see Drive, although I don't believe he takes off his shirt. (Not the kind of thing I'd remember!)

  2. It turns out in Dance with Dragons that it's disco dancing. Oh, I should have put spoiler alert before i told you that.

    Ryan Gosling seemed to be in a lot of movies this year. Might be a little overexposed. Have you seen the video of him when he was in a boyband aged ten? Born to be famous.


  3. oh my goodness CRAZY STUPID LOVE was an amazing movie! i expected to get bored halfway through, but instead laughed so much i felt like i'd done a bajillion stomach crunches when the movie was over!

  4. I love Adele and The Walking Dead.
    Have a great New Year!

  5. Cool list. I almost completely concur. I don't read as much as you, so I haven't read these books yet. But they're all on my will-read-someday list. Love Florence, and you introduced me to Birdy some time ago, for which I thank you. I really didn't think the last HP movie was great, but your other movies and TV picks certainly are. Community makes me laugh just thinking about it. The human foosball kick will live on.

  6. Woah...Martin posted the first chapter of the Winds of Winter? Holy crap...I'm off to take a look right now.

  7. My best things are on my blog. But, thank you for a shirtless Ryan Gosling. Because that makes every blog post. You could have stopped there:)

  8. Love your list, but I prefer a shirtless Chris Hemsworth to Ryan Gosling. I know I shall feel the wrath of Ryan fans everywhere, but I can't help it. I lost my mind when he took off his shirt in Thor. ;)

    Fave music had to be LMFAO, Adele and Black-Eyed Peas. Never heard of the Black Keys, but I'll be sure to check them out. I know, where have I been? LOL

    Books, well I discovered Junot Diaz this year and I love his world of Dominican and American cross-culture. I also love This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park.

  9. I agree with lots of things on your list but I would have to add 'Justified' to the best in TV. Happy New Year

  10. Have you ever watched the vlogbrothers's videos with John Green and his brother? They're hilarious.

    Happy New Year! :)

  11. @Alex- Drive is on my Netflix list. And I'm looking forward to seeing it. Even if Ryan Gosling doesn't take off his shirt.

    @Mood- All right. Now I'm going to have to kill you with my brain.

    @Vic- That's a great description of how I felt at the end of Crazy Stupid Love too. Great film.

    @Shelly- Thank you!

    @Brent- HP7, Part Two could've just been Daniel Radcliff (or, preferably Alan Rickman) sitting on a stool reading out of a phone book and I still would've loved it. Very glad to know there's another Community fan out there...

    @Michael- That's what I hear. I haven't gone out to the site to see for myself because I haven't read the last one yet. But if it is there, I hope you enjoy it!

    @Christa- You're welcome for shirtless Ryan. I'm sure we'll be seeing him again. =)

    @Melissa- Definitely check out The Black Keys. I can't comment on Chris Hemsworth because I haven't yet seen Thor. Another movie on my very long Netflix list.

    @Susan- I've heard a lot of good things about Justified. One of these days, I'll get around to watching it.

    @Golden Eagle- I haven't watched any of those videos but I have heard they're hilarious.

  12. I really need to read A Game of Thrones. My brother gave it to me long before the HBO series started and made me swear to read it, but I just haven't.

    And I'm sorry. I can't remember what else I was going to say. I got distracted by Ryan Gosling.

  13. @Karen- I know exactly what you mean. And yes, definitely read a Game of Thrones. It's the start of a brilliant series.