The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Yes, yes, and YES! I have been a Tartt fan ever since I read The Secret History about 10 years ago. I enjoyed The Little Friend, too. Then I waited, and waited, and hoped she would one day write another novel. The Goldfinch surpassed my high expectations – obliterated them, actually – and has definitely become a contender for my favorite book of the decade. This novel was the high point of my reading year.
The Croning by Laird Barron. This book is as scary as anything I’ve read. Barron drew me in and then clobbered me with fear for his forgetful, aging protagonist, who always seems just on the edge of figuring out that his genteel life is built on the borderlands of a terrifying reality. I rarely reread books, but this one is one of those few that demands to be enjoyed multiple times.
Hannibal from NBC. This is one of the most beautifully filmed television shows I’ve ever seen. Stunning imagery and slow-burn storytelling.
Bates Motel from A&E. Again, gorgeously shot. Characters you can understand even if you don’t always like them, and a good blend of suspense and horrifying foreknowledge.
Drive. Hypnotic and stylish. When I write, I want to capture mood and setting as well as Refn does with this film.
Coming Down by The Dum Dum Girls. I really like the noisy, distorted guitar and sparse drum beats. They sound like a more aggressive Mazzy Star.
I Always Knew by The Vaccines. I heard this on New Girl and fell in love with the galloping drum and the quavering guitar. Wow. Just listen to it and see if you don’t end up singing along.
Line of Fire by Junip. Moody and enigmatic. I love the murmuring delivery and the thoughtful lyrics.
Waiting Game by Banks. Heavy on the synth and angst. The lyrics may not hold any surprises, but the package is dark and shiny and foreboding. For some reason it reminds me of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movies. And yes, I saw and loved both of them! Nordic noir rules.
Mountain Sound by Of Monsters And Men. A sunny, stomping rhythm that I have listened to almost every day for a month.
This smashed potato recipe from Jamie Oliver. My hubby and I made this for Christmas dinner and I’m already scheming about when we will make them again.
Call of Duty: Ghosts. We have played a LOT of multiplayer CoD. We’re not the greatest players ever, but we do okay with MW3 and Black Ops. Ghosts combined heavy hitting weaponry and maps with nowhere to hide. It’s a shoot-em-up that makes us feel like noobs again. Every match is intense.
What were your favorite discoveries of 2013? I would love to hear about what you read, watched, and listened to!