The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls, 2005
The Faraway Nearby, Rebecca Solnit, 2013
Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders, 2017
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, 2016
The Circle, Dave Eggers, 2013
TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS
It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders
2017 IN SUMMARY
Consuming media, especially reading books, can feel like a solitary experience. In 2017 I made a conscious effort to make media a shared and communal experience. From starting a free little library at my workplace, to joining book groups, seeking recommendations, attending author lectures and events, and even just watching current TV with other people… I really tried to use media as a way to connect this year. This yielded mixed results. On the positive side, it broke me out of my comfort zone and got me to explore media that I might not otherwise seek out. I’ve come to appreciate the role of media preferences in one’s identity — mine and others — and the importance of media in fostering connections and making conversation.
But while I watched, read, and listened to some great stuff in 2017, I also consumed some things that I really didn’t enjoy. In some cases, I did it just to be in the know (like what happens in OITNB, even though I did not like this latest season) . In other cases, it was out of obligation (book groups, author lectures). Or I was attracted to the mystique of what it was about (The Lobster, Diary of An Oxygen Thief… ugh ugh). Compiling my “top” lists I got kind of bummed out about all the time I spent this year on stuff that I didn’t really care for. But, I suppose it’s important that I know what I don’t like as much as what I do like. But in 2018, I’m ready to dive back into some good stuff.
I also made a conscious effort this year to read and watch more from diverse authors and producers. And women writers, especially. Rebecca Solnit was my favorite find in 2017. I read three books by her this year, and all were amazing. And Greta Gerwig. So talented. Lady Bird and Frances Ha were two of my favorite films.
2017 was also the year of podcasts for me. I could’ve listed 2+ more of my favorites. I’ve come to rely on podcasts for keeping up with the news (another goal of 2017) and for interesting ideas and great storytelling. S-Town had me feeling all the feels.
I also had fun indulging in lots of queer media in 2017. Nancy. Drag Race. Yasss. I even (reluctantly) started watching the L Word. Bringing it back to that whole media-as-a-shared-experience goal.
Oh, and I self-published my first poetry chapbook in 2017! In 2018 I hope to balance more input and output. It’s time to start sharing!