::Literate Blather::
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Our Favorites (and Not So Favorites) from 2008

Best Book

“The Good Thief” by Hannah Tinti

“The Good Thief” was one of those magical rides into a rich, imagined history of New England in the 18th century. The book combined elements of Dickens, Stevenson, and folklore to create the story of Ren, an orphan boy with a missing hand. He’s adopted by a thief named Benjamin Nab and that’s when the journey of self-discovery begins for Ren. There may have been more important books in 2008, but few captured the joy of storytelling as well as Hannah Tinti’s debut novel.

Worst Book

“Red Sea” by E.A. Benedek

The book was actually published in 2007, but the paperback was released in 2008. This clunky thriller was difficult to finish. The set-up about four aircraft being bombed in order to the international community from noticing a Middle Eastern ship carrying a nuclear bomb to New York defies logic. But it was the wooden, cliché characters that ultimately doomed this novel.

Best Surprise – Book

“Small Crimes” by Dave Zeltserman

This small press crime noir from Zeltserman packed an emotional wallop. The story about a small town ex-cop trying to go straight after a stint in prison explores the delusions that drive us all. It’s also a nasty little crime caper filled with liars, cheats, criminals, and strippers all out for themselves. It’s a throwback book that deserves to be read by anyone who loves crime novels with a wicked wit.

Biggest Disappointment – Book

“Yellow Medicine” by Anthony Neil Smith

I was expecting more from this crime novel about a corrupt deputy sheriff, Billy Lafitte, a Louisiana native now working in the wilds of Minnesota. However, the bad character of Lafitte gets in the way of the story, which has something to do with terrorists.

Favorite Poem

Christine Larsen’s brutal poem about domestic abuse “Senryrus for Dirtbags” grabs the reader by the throat. Powerful.

Our Favorite “Best Of” Lists

10 Bizarre Serial Killers in History

Includes a German church organist who killed more than 31 people and a British serial killer who went by the nickname “Jack the Stripper.”

8 Infamous Outlaws of the Old West

Find out the true stories behind Billy the Kid, Clay Allison, and Butch Cassidy

10 Superheroes with the Coolest Powers

The Vision, The Flash, Green Lantern and Thor head up the list of superheroes who have powers to envy.

Best Movie

“The Dark Knight”

Our pick for the best movie of the year is “The Dark Knight,” the second Batman movie featuring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader. This may be one of the darkest movies of the decade – and the performance by Heath Ledger as The Joker is simply mesmerizing. “The Dark Knight” is by turns an action movie, a character study, and an art film.

Worst Movie

“The X-Files: I Want to Believe”

As a fanatic of the long-running FOX-TV show, we were pained to have to select this mistake of a film as the worst of the year. But it is. There is so much wrong with “I Want to Believe” that it’s difficult to pick the worst parts – but let’s start with turning FBI Agent Fox Mulder into a bumbling half-wit.

Biggest Disappointment – Movie


The trailer for “Hancock,” the superhero movie starring Will Smith (who is becoming a big disappointment himself), had us on the edge of our seats. So much potential! Yet the actual product was so mediocre that we left the movie theater glum-faced. The film went from comic to tragic so fast that it simply lost its way.

Our Three Favorite Interviews

nterviewed more than 25 artists, scholars, and writers about a variety of topics in 2008. We thank them all for their time and passion. Here are three that we really enjoyed:

Ken Bruen

The bestselling author of Jack Taylor series and the new king of hard-boiled crime fiction gave us a stellar interview – complete with his classic Irish accent and wit.

The Feelies

One of our favorite alternative bands from the 1980s. Front man Glenn Mercer broke the news that the Feelies were back in the studio recording a new album right here on our humble site.

Media & Politics

No one has their pulse on the intersection of med
Linkia and politics better than Journalist and Northeastern Professor Dan Kennedy. His blog, Media Nation, is must read. You can see why in this probing interview.

Our Three Favorite Essays

The Threat of Bottled Water

Read about why bottling and shipping water is causing so much pollution in the world. Think local, especially about drinking water.

Addicted to Convenience

Before the collapse of the U.S. economy, we noticed how overworked U.S. workers had become addicted to services like lawn care, take-out restaurants, and Internet shopping in order to get things done.

5 Reasons to Vote Against Republicans

There are probably more reasons, but these were the five main points that put Obama in the Oval Office.

Our Favorite Music Posts

Guilty Pleasures: Songs You Only Listen to Alone

Don't let anyone see you reading this!

12 Gut-Wrenchingly Bad Songs

This list, of course, could be endless, but here are a dozen songs that we simply cannot listen to.

5 Underrated Bands from the 1980s

Yeah, these bands go to 11.

Labels: ,

Stumble Upon Toolbar StumbleUpon | Digg! Digg | del.icio.us | Reddit | Technorati Technorati | E-mail a Link E-mail
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
The Template is generated via PsycHo and is Licensed.