I didn't send out a 2005 favorites list with my Christmas cards this year, partly because I've been terribly dilatory about the cards in general, partly because it was a somewhat difficult year for me and it felt wrong to be all happy-cheery about it. But there were a great many things and people that were happiness-inducing over the course of the year, so these are some of my Favorite Things that I First Experienced or Came to Appreciate Properly in 2005:
- Books: Atonement by Ian McEwan; The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer; Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke; Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff; Riders by Jilly Cooper; Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber; Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta; Permanent Rose by Hilary McKay; Gilead by Marilynne Robinson; The Big Love by Sarah Dunn
- Music: "Out There Live" by Dar Williams; "Tahquamenon Falls" by Sufjan Stevens; "The Book of Love" by Magnetic Fields; "September" by Earth Wind and Fire; Barbara Cook singing "Not a Day Goes By / Losing My Mind"; "Tupelo Honey" by Cassandra Wilson; "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads; the Postal Service's "Brand New Colony"; "Merrily We Roll Along" by Stephen Sondheim; "Pet Sounds" by the Beach Boys; "Good News for People Who Love Bad News" by Modest Mouse; "Changesbowie" by David Bowie
- Performances: "Play Without Words" at BAM; the twelve-hour Stephen Sondheim Celebration at Symphony Space; "SPAMalot"; "Altar Boyz"; Cassandra Wilson at SummerStage in Central Park; the New Yorker "Parting the Waters" benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims; "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"; "The Elements of Style" at the New York Public Library
- Movies: "Head On" (a German film about two Turkish immigrants who fight their way into love, hands-down the best thing I saw this year); "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"; "King Kong"; "The Squid and the Whale"; "Hitch"; "Hustle and Flow"; the Reverse Shot "Before Sunrise"/"Before Sunset" double feature; "Grizzly Man"; "The Constant Gardener"
- Things: my iPod Mini and iTunes; pedicures; my new PalmPilot (a Christmas gift); beer (which I'd had before, certainly, but never properly appreciated until I went to Germany); wireless DSL; chocolate-covered Key lime pie on a stick; Smart Cars; my website; the Llama Song; my Thomas Pink shirt and sparkly shoes; Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Activities: crashing the New York City Marathon; cooking dinner for friends; knitting; canoeing; kayaking; NaNoWriMo; blogging
Since I'm off to Edinburgh tomorrow, this will probably be the last night I post this year; so Happy 2006, everyone!