Top 5 Books I Read in 2016

Another year, another Top 5 list. It’s an ordinary thing to do as a new year and altogether a new reading list is underway. But I assure you there is nothing ordinary about the books I’ve singled out below. It’s because of their singular impact on me that, in turn, compelled me to pay them forward. As with last year, this list is a little more selective than my best films list (coming up shortly) and that’s because books require a little more time. Here are the top 5 books I happily dedicated my time to in 2016 and would happily do so again.

  1. Scrappy Little Nobody14-scrappy-little-nobody-w1200-h630

Up in the Air remains as one of my favorite movies of all time. So it’s with a bit of coincidence that I chose Anna Kendrick’s delightful collection of essays as my form of entertainment during my flight. At 30,000 feet, she was my row buddy, the two of us getting to know each other over complimentary snacks and drinks. I was wonderfully entertained by her charming wit and honesty, a voice she strikes pitch-perfectly (you bet your ass that pun was intended). Hollywood may be glamorous, but ol’ Kendrick isn’t afraid to point out how hideous of an institution it is. Beyond that, she traces us to her humble beginnings as a young starlet working full-time as a stage actress, then as a teenager awkwardly stumbling through her discovery years while occasionally being dwarfed by her own ambitions. The spotlight doesn’t make everything pretty; it simply shines a light on what desperately needs attention. Kendrick may not crave attention, but she’s certainly got mine.  Continue reading

5 Best Books I Read in 2015

I’ve never done one of these before and I’m ashamed to say it’s because I’ve put a lot more emphasis on TV and film, much to the detriment of the storyteller in me. But every once in a while I do have a book in my hands. What I’ve compiled here is a list of books that spoke to me on a personal level while expanding my world view (great books know how to strike a delicate balance between the two). These aren’t all exclusively 2015 releases, just ones that I stumbled upon over the year, though you might recognize one or two. However you want to define it, here are the 5 best books that I read in 2015.

  1. YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (almost) by Felicia Day 960

Geek-extraordinaire Felicia Day chronicles her very humble beginnings as a homeschooled child to her joyous discovery of online gaming – a subculture that often doesn’t welcome women with open arms, yet she embraced gaming all the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or a novice; Felicia Day strikes a conversational tone that makes you feel as if you’re getting to know her over dinner. She takes us through the inspiration behind The Guild – the web-series that launched her unique brand of all things nerd, the crippling pressure of spear-heading said brand, and processes her feelings on Gamergate. At the end, she leaves us with a thoughtful reminder that in the vile and Nyan Cat-ridden corners of the internet, we are all weirdos. Something about that is oddly comforting.  Continue reading