It’s time again. Only three weeks left in 2011, so it’s time to reflect, remember, and review. Last year I followed my friend, Corey Mesler’s example and did a 2010 Year End List. This year, after reading Karen Harrington’s posts, “My Favorite Things,” and “My Favorite Things, Part 2,” I was torn between which model to emulate. In the end I went back to the simple list. Some entries are serious, others are light. (The first entry on the list is in a league of its own, of course.)
Here goes, the Best of 2011:
Best family event: My daughter’s wedding at Seagrove Beach, FL (May) Photo shows our whole family together at the wedding: Jason, See, and their daughters, Grace and Anna, Kevin and Beth, me, Bill, and our oldest son Jonathan.
Best news: Our daughter, Beth, is having a baby girl next April!
Best novel I read: Pearl of China by Anchee Min. Runner-up: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Best memoir I read: Blue Nights by Joan Didion
Best book I read on writing and art: A Syllable of Water: Twenty Writers of Faith Reflect on Their Art (Emily Griffin, Editor)
Best book of poetry I read: Before the Great Troubling by Corey Mesler
Best addiction memoir I read: Drinking: A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp
Best anorexia memoir I read: Appetites: Why Women Want, also by Carolyn Knapp
Best book I read on my Kindle: It’s a tie: The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch and the Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Best new literary journal: Saint Katherine Review (who published my essay, “Watching”)
Best blog post by me: “Writing Memoir: Art vs. Confessional” over at Jane Friedman’s Writer’s Digest blog, “There Are No Rules.” (now archived)
Best new indie bookstore: The Hidden Lantern, Rosemary Beach, FL
Best new movie I saw: The Help
Best new TV show I discovered: Pan Am (not nearly as good as Mad Men, but I love the period)
Best series I can’t quit watching over and over: Law & Order SVU (Special Victims Unit).
Best older TV show I discovered: The Good Wife (once I discovered it, I bought Season 1 on DVD and caught up! I studied the deleted scenes to improve my writing, and did a post about it over at A Good Blog is Hard to Find.)
Best current TV show: still Parenthood (same as last year)
Best reality/contestant TV show: The Sing Off
Best new music video: Ronnie Dunn, “Love Owes Me One”
Best new music video runner up: Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter, “You and Tequila”
Best live musical performance: Jennifer Nettles and Ronnie Dunn at the ACM Girls Night Out (Ronnie sang Jennifer’s “Stay,” and then Ronnie and Jennifer sang “Let Him Fly”—my two favorite country singers together!
Best new cd: “You Get What You Give” by the Zac Brown Band
Best newly discovered singer/songwriter: David Wilcox
Best Broadway show I saw: “Memphis” (the musical) in NYC
Best writing events I attended: Yoknapatawpha Summer Writers Workshop (Oxford, MS, June), Fairhope Writers Colony Retreat (Fairhope, AL, June), Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop (Memphis, TN, September)
Best writing retreat: the month of November (Seagrove Beach, FL) where I almost finished my novel….
Best new restaurant in Memphis: Alchemy(in Cooper Young)
Best new OPI nail color: Get in the Expresso Lane
Best new leggings: Anne Taylor Loft. Runner-up: JJill
Best sunset: Seagrove Beach, Florida
What are your “bests” from 2011?