We asked some of our students, faculty and alumni to tell us what moved them the most this year in the world of books and films. Looking for a noticeable theme? You should probably read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and it wouldn’t hurt if you picked up Tiffany Hawk’s Love Me Anyway. And, then, all of these books, movies, and TV shows, too:
*Athena Strouble Lark: Book: Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. Film – The Butler.
*Cynthia Romanowski: Films – Fruitvale Station, Frances Ha. Book: I Want To Show You More by Jamie Quatro
*Pia Chatterjee: I loved Tiffany Hawk’s Love Me Anyway. Also, Cutting for Stone, Life After life, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Favorite film: American Hustle.
*Matthew Zapruder: It came out in 2012 but Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell was the best movie I saw by far in a long time.
*Mark Haskell Smith: The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti was my favorite book this year. I’m in the middle of Jim Harrison’s Brown Dog which is excellent. I also liked the film Frances Ha.
*Kristi Daune-Edwards Rabe: Wrecked by Charlotte Roche
*Shannon Purchase: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
*David Ulin: Brown Dog by Jim Harrison, Darling by Richard Rodriguez, The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit, The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner, The Great War by Joe Sacco, Harvest by Jim Crace, Never Built Los Angeles by Greg Goldin & Sam Lubell, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, Tenth of December by George Saunders, White Girls by Hilton Als.
*Deanne Stillman: Death of the Black-Haired Girl by Robert Stone is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Tara Ison’s Rockaway is excellent and so is Love Me Anyway by Tiffany Hawk. For film, a cavalcade of riches: All Is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club, Mud (another McConaughey film, but from last year and better than DBC), Nebraska, Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr. Banks (not without problems but good – and rare – portrayal of a writer’s journey from book to movie)…
*Julia Watson MOVIES:Favorites seen: Frozen, The Heat, (Hmm. Seem to be missing something here? OH. Right.) Honorable Mention… The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (for getting right so much of what its predecessor got wrong) TV: So so good: Orange is the New Black, Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Masters of Sex. So so fun: American Horror Story: Coven, Sleepy Hollow, Chopped. So so guilty pleasure-y: Scandal BOOKS: Favorite books read in 2013 not actually published in 2013: The (utterly amazeballs) Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness.
*Gail Mackenzie-Smith My favorite movies have been TV shows this year. (A new category, perhaps?) Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, Sherlock, Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Derek…Gail Mackenzie-Smith: The Last Policeman and the second book in that trilogy, Countdown City, by Ben Winters.
*Ross Helford If there hadn’t been a Tolkien adaptation in theaters this year, “Inside Llewyn Davis” would have been my fave. Book? GOD IS DEAD by Ron Currie, Jr. and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.
*Eileen Austen Best Film – Dallas Buyers Club; Best Foreign – WADJDA; Best Doc – Dirty Wars. Best Book always tough but loved Hawk’s Love Me Anyway and recommend the little known but should be known Kirkus Star winner The Water Thief by Nicholas Lamar Soutter.
*Xach Fromson: Laird Barron’s The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All was one of my favorite reads this year, published in April.
*Yennie Cheung: My favorite book of 2013 was The Cost of Living by Rob Roberge, which was not only a great book but a wonderful example of how to apply just about every writing lesson Rob has ever taught me. In order to sound less like an ass kisser, my favorite book not published in 2013 was A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, which is pretty much the book I never realized I’ve always wanted to write.
*Pamela Diane Gilbert-Snyder: The only book I seem to have read this year that was actually published this year is Rob Roberge’s The Cost of Living, but even if it weren’t, it qualifies.
*Tiffany Hawk: Beautiful Ruins and Is This Tomorrow. (Raw and The Cost of Living are on my list for this and next week, so they’ll probably end up in 2014 based on what I’ve heard so far.)
*Stephen Graham Jones: The best novel I read this year was Jesse Bullington’s THE FOLLY OF THE WORLD, but it came out in Dec 12, actually. So I’ll say either Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT END OF THE LANE or (his) (“His?) issue one of SANDMAN: OVERTURE, which is doing things with the comic book page I have never seen, and am so excited about. For movies: YOU’RE NEXT and MUD, and I could never pick between them. For TV: no clue. I pretty much watch MAGNUM and COLUMBO and ROCKFORD, I mean, and THREE’S COMPANY when I can dial it up. though, that second-season opener for SHERLOCK, whenever that was, that’s easily tied with X-FILES’ “Jose Chung’s Abducted” for best TV episode ever, counting everything (except DEADWOOD, which always beats all). And season eight of DEXTER gets no points. Though I’m of course way loving THE LEGEND OF KORRA; it’s probably my one must-see thing on the small screen, these days.
*Lizi Gilad Silver: published in 2012 but– As Long As Trees Last by Hoa Nguyen
*Emile Barrios: Life After Life, Kate Atkinson.
*Antonio Farias: fiction: Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, by Benjamin Alire Saenz; At Night We Walk in Circles, by Daniel Alarcon; Pacific, by Tom Drury; The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers; non fiction:Thoughts Without Cigarettes, by Oscar Hijuelos; Surviving Survival, by Laurence Gonzales;
*Lindsey Smithson: I actually loved The Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling and I just finished Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright; it made for great 3am reading while feeding the baby.
*Heather Scott Partington: Hector Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries, Justin Torres’ We The Animals, Kate Milliken’s If I’d Known You Were Coming, Aimee Bender’s The Color Master, Kelly Luce’s Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, Michael Paterniti’s The Telling Room
*Maggie Downs: Favorite films of 2013: Blackfish, Her, Warm Bodies. Favorite books of 2013: Love Me Anyway by Tiffany Hawk; Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple; Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala; You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt
*Tod Goldberg My favorite books of this year were Mary Coin by Marisa Silver, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (which didn’t come out this year), My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (which also didn’t come out this year) and Whitey Bulger by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy. Favorite films: Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street
*Laurel Dean We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
*Natalia Cortes Chaffin: The People Who Watched Her Pass By by Scott Bradfield. Also not published in 2013, but a great novel to discover.
*Kari Hawkey: Books: The Color Master by Aimee Bender; A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin; The Joker by Andrew Hudgins; Growing Up Dead in Texas by Stephen Graham Jones; Guilty Pleasure: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Poetry Books: Calamity Joe by Brendan Constantine; Rough Day by Ed Skoog; Mayakovsky’s Revolver by Matthew Dickman; Love, An Index by Rebecca Lindenberg; The New Clean by Jon Sands. Film: Before Midnight, Blue Jasmine, The Butler, The Spectacular Now. TV: Orange is the New Black, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Hell on Wheels, The Walking Dead, Masters of Sex, Eastbound & Down, New Girl, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, Scandal.
*Anne Silva: Books: Rocket Girl, Some Girls, Gone Girl. Film: Saving Mr. Banks
*Eileen Roggin Shields: Though heavy-handed, Dave Eggers’ ‘The Circle’ is the novel of 2013 that has stayed with me the longest. Perhaps it most perfectly plays into my paranoia.
*Elizabeth Crane: We Need New Names (book)
*Mary Otis: Stories We Tell & Frances Ha (films)
*Gina Frangello: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
*Leigh Raper: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
*Bryan Burch: The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
*Aaron Hauser: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
*Patina Rogers: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
*Guy Nicolucci: Alfred and Guinevere by James Schuyler. Funny, sad and short
*Sara Morris Marchant: The Still Point of the Turning World by Emily Rapp
*Jim Jennewein: Prater Violet by Christopher Ishwerwood