Monday, 20 December 2010

The best of 2010 - books, films and TV

I spent a precious half hour yesterday morning curled up in bed reading the New York Times' end of year cultural round-up. I don't know about you, but I love reading these retrospective features and the way they put the year into context. (I know how hard they are to put together, too - when I worked on a magazine and we had to sum up our 'top 10s' from the year come December, no-one could remember a thing and we had to rack our Christmas party-addled brains to recall what had actually gone on in the industry. There was always something major that got left out and, naturally, people complained about it in January.)

So, anyway, this year I thought I'd put together my own personal roundup. I can't give you any kind of meaningful comment on art, dance or sculpture - I'm just not THAT cultured, I'm afraid - but I can give you films, books and TV. Without any further ado, my top cultural picks from 2010 are:

1). The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. The greatest living writer in my opinion, and still at the top of her game.
2.) The Help by Kathryn Stockett. A gripping read, and a real eye-opener about life in the Deep South in the not too distant past.
3). The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. I love this writer. Black Swan Green is fabulous but this story set in 19th century Japan, though long and complicated, is also rather brilliant.

1) An Education. Entertaining and thought-provoking coming of age story. I loved it.
2) The Social Network. Very clever and laugh-out-loud funny - whatever the veracity of its potrayals.
3. Toy Story 3. Still brilliant - and now the boys know who Woody and Buzz are too.

1) Mad Men. Season 4 was superb - particularly the scenes between Don Draper and Peggy. Still far more nuanced and intelligent than anything else on TV.
2.) The Ugly Betty finale. I always enjoyed this series, and was sad when it was cancelled. But I think they got the ending right (UK viewers, I don't know if this has aired, so I won't spoil it).
3.) Sherlock. I only caught this recently, but thought it was great - make some more, please. So much better than the dreadful Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes film, which I also saw this year.

So what were your favourites? Was 2010 a vintage cultural year for you?


Mwa said...

Wait... I remember culture. Wasn't that something I used to put on my sandwiches?

Shirley said...

Great choices for your "best of 2010" list!! I am just about to read "The Help" for a book club read. Can't wait! I've heard so much about it!!

Iota said...

The Help, and The Education - I'd agree with you on both of those. Otherwise, I'm doing that thing of trying to remember the year but failing, that you describe so well.

geekymummy said...

I haven't read "the help", must do so! Loved the other two books you mentioned, especially the David Mtichell, he is one of my favourite authors of all time, just amazingly talented. I also loved "The hand that first held mine" by Maggie O farrell (which may not have been from last year, I just read it last year!)

For next year I have high hopes for "Mary Ann in Autumn" the long anticipated Armistead Maupin book, the last in the tales of the city series. I'm hoping Santa gets that for me!

TV wise Mad men is a favourite here, and we also love "the wire". Gritty, real dialogue, excellent acting, American TV at its best.

Movies, well We also loved an education and toy story three and we didn't watch any other current movies at all. We just watched Woody Allens "manhatten murder mystery though (from the 1980's) and it was bloody brilliant!

Calif Lorna said...

I've just been given The Help by my neighbour - looking forward to reading it.

nappy valley girl said...

Mwa - Could be, especially if you were putting mouldy stilton there?

Shirley - hope you enjoy it. It's a great one for book clubs.

Iota - I actually try to write down books I've read now, in a notebook, so as not to forget. Only I forget to do that, too...

Geekymummy - Ah yes, I really enjoyed the Maggie O'Farrell too. Had forgotten that one.

Lorna - I can almost guarantee you will.

Sally said...

I love one from each of your categories - The Help was fantastic, I adored Mad Men and I think Social Network is one of my favourite films ever.

So I might have to explore some of the others I've not heard of!

Metropolitan Mum said...

An Education was lovely, but so was Somewhere (I saw it late December, so that makes it an 2010 film for me, even though it's still in the cinemas).
Do you know what? I just realised that I can actually contribute to this discussion, i.e. I actually did go to the cinema and did see a film. More than once. Hurray!!! I am slowly getting out of the complete mummification. Time to have another baby ;)

A Modern Mother said...

I've seen/read three on your list. I must check out the others. Happy New Year Nappy.

nappy valley girl said...

Sally - ah, great minds obviously think alike.

Met Mum - I started having movie nights out with a couple of girlfriends this year. Otherwise I would never go!

Susanna - happy new year too, and yes, do check them out.