We asked some of our students, faculty and alumni to pick their favorite books and movies from 2012…even if they didn’t come out in 2012…and there seemed to be a resounding groundswell of love for Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman, We The Animals by Justin Torres and the film Silver Linings Playbook…as well as about 500 other things, too.
Stephen Graham Jones Book: The Shadowed Sun, NK Jemisin. Movie: Cabin in the Woods.
Julia Watson Books: The Crimson Crown, by Cinda Williams Chima. Days of Blood and Starlight, by Laini Taylor.
Movies: Cabin in the Woods and Moonrise Kingdom
Gail Mackenzie-Smith Book: Alif the Unseen. Movie: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Deanne Stillman Books: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, Canada by Richard Ford. Movies: Lincoln, Argo.
Anna Weinstein Book: A Stranger Like You by Elizabeth Brundage. Movie: Pitch Perfect.
Leigh Raper Book: Suddenly, A Knock on the Door by Etgar Karet
Mary Otis: We, the Animals by Justin Torres for blazing language and emotional depth. Pina, the documentary about the life and choreography of Pina Bausch, directed by Wim Wenders, is inspiring, provocative, and beautiful to watch.
Sandi Reinardy Book: A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano; Movie: Lincoln
Elizabeth Crane: We the Animals by Justin Torres, tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed, The Scientists by Marco Roth, Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman. The Temple Grandin HBO movie.
Heather Scott Partington: Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, (and these new-to-me books: Columbine by Dave Cullen, Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola, and East of Eden by Steinbeck)
Stephanie Green Smalley Book: Building Stories by Chris Ware. Movie: Moonrise Kingdom, Sleepwalk With Me
Matthew Zapruder: Movie: Moonrise Kingdom. Book: What Light Can Do, essays on poetry by Robert Hass
Eileen V Austen: In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes, Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins and Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. Loved the movie Quartet directed by Dustin Hoffman and indie doc film The Invisible War.
Jim Jennewein: Books: Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From The GOon Squad, Elizabeth Crane’s We Only KNow So Much; The Alligator by Lisa Moore; Movie: Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Greco: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, Canada by Richard Ford, Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson.
Yennie Cheung: I’ve fallen way behind on both my reading and my movie watching this year, but here are my favorites: Book: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Movie: Moonrise Kingdom
Jennifer McCartin: Book: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, Zadie Smith’s NW. Movie: Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master
Kaitlin Elisabeth Hulsy: Movie: Cabin in the Woods. Book not from 2012: Ender’s Game. Book from 2012: Cinder.
Chema Guijarro: Read Sherman Alexie for the first time this year, so Reservation Blues or Tonto and Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven for the book. Movies: “Why Stop Now” & “The Avengers.”
Ross Helford Books: BLUEPRINTS OF THE AFTERLIFE – Ryan Boudinot, WE ONLY KNOW SO MUCH – Elizabeth Crane; Movies: “Cloud Atlas”, “The Hobbit”
Mickey Birnbaum: For the bumpteenth time, I have to offer up The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt; for movie, Rust and Bone.
David Ulin: My favorite was probably The Address Book by Sophie Calle.
Richard Cooper: Book: This is how you lose her, by Junot Díaz. Movie: Silver Linings Playbook. Guilty pleasure movies: Savages; and, To Rome with Love.
Pamela Diane Gilbert-Snyder: Movies– “Bernie,” “Monsieur Lazhar,” and “A Dangerous Method” (the latter might be a 2011 movie) Books: Non fiction: “We Learn Nothing” by Tim Kreider Fiction: “The Newlyweds” by Nell Freudenberger, and lots of other good books that are not from 2012, like “The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine” by Alina Bronsky (thanks MHS) and “The Favorites” by Mary Yukari Waters
John Schimmel: Why Does The World Exist? – An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt.
Maggie Downs: Movie: “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” It’s stunning — a magical, modern fairy tale. That said, I watched it on a 9-hour flight; a bag of peanuts would have kept me entertained. Books: Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine, Columbine by Dave Cullen, Damascus by Joshua Mohr, The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, Undress me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.
Lindsey Smithson: Books: Insurgent by Veronica Roth and Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President by Ron Suskind (it was published last year, whatever). Movies: Goon, For a Good Time, Call…, and Argo.
Cherisse Yanit Nadal: Books: Lament in The Night by Shoson Nagahara (1925 by way of 2012), This Is A Bust by Ed Lin (2008), Waylaid by Ed Lin (2002), Where You Lived by Tod Goldberg, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (2012). Movies: I Am A Ghost (HP Mendoza), Shanghai Calling (Daniel Hsia), Hunger Games (Gary Ross)
Ruth Nolan: 2012 titles: Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru….Mojave Desert Manhunt by our own Deanne Stillman….as for my other reading, all kinds of random things (National Enquirer, books about suicide and depression, and obscure California desert/Native American stuff I’ll spare you from unless anyone really wants to know)….as for films, things I find on Netflix and Amazon instant movie rental, in no particular order, preference or taste. But I did like the Beasts of the Southern Wild film. Refreshing. For some reason it reminded me of Pan’s Labyrinth.
Kate Pastoor Abbott: Fiction: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green; nonfiction: Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.
Nick Harmon: Movie: The Comedy
Athena Strouble Lark: Dare I say I didn’t finish a whole book this year, and my writing has suffered. Started Mercy by Toni Morrison, and Wenches by Delores Valdez, but could not get through them because I’ve been reading textbooks for class and to teach. I could tell you the best textbooks Norton’s Anthology of English Literature, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing by X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. The best movie is hands down, Django Unchained. Scenes of slavery like you’ve never seen before. I would call it a satire on slavery but that might be too harsh and in correct. Yet, seeing a free slave wreck havoc was delightful.
Mark Haskell Smith: Alif The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson was my favorite this year, although I also thought The Address Book was super cool.
Tod Goldberg: Books: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine, The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, We The Animals by Justin Torres, Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman, Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins and about 100 more. Movies: Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, and I absolutely loved the PBS documentary on Johnny Carson, King of Late Night.
Antonio Farias: Favorite Book: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu. Favorite Movie: Bless Me, Ultima directed by Carl Franklin.
Stacy Furrer: Recent favorites–Films: Exit Through the Gift Shop, Things We Lost in the Fire, Cloud Atlas. Books: End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe, The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson, and Clean Language, by Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees. (Clean language refers to keeping your metaphors to yourself when you’re trying to understand what another is saying–useful for interviewing and helping trauma victims.) Stunning book.