These are a few of my favorite things (of 2018)

2018 has been a jumbled mess of a year. I started, stopped, and started this blog so many times and I’m sorry. Here are some random things I liked this year. Cue Julie Andrews. ** These are not things that came out in 2018, just things I consumed in 2018.**

Books:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is a lovely story about an old curmudgeon (best word of 2018) who finds a place for himself. I wrote a full review here.

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean is the first romance novel I read all year that didn’t fetishize toxic masculinity, which I loved. I went through a major romance phase during wedding reception planning mostly because I needed something easy to read and emotionally upbeat to keep the stress at bay. Loved this and was so frustrated it was a new release. Now I have to wait for the next ones to be published!

The Humans by Matt Haig is an odd story about an alien who takes control of the body of a human mathematician. It’s weird and funny and heartwarming and I wrote a better review here as well.

Vintage Youtubers:

This is one of my newest favorite categories of thing I’m in love with. I’ve been collecting vintage pieces here and there my whole life and never put together that I could just be a vintage lady until I found this community of people.

The Closet Historian is one of my favorite vintage Youtubers. She has practical and informational videos sprinkled with sewing tutorials and projects. She’s super cool.

Angela Clayton is a fantastic costumer and I love watching her sewing videos where she talks through her process. It’s way more advanced than anything I’ve ever attempted, but still fascinating.

Podcasts:

The Adventure Zone is hands down my favorite podcast of all time. I started listening 2 years ago and am finally up to date as of November of this year. That may be a bit intimidating if you’re looking for a new podcast, but it is seriously the best D&D playthrough podcast I’ve ever listened to. Your mileage may vary, but also… this one is the best.

My Brother My Brother and Me is one I started listening to because I fell in love with the boys from The Adventure Zone. This is the podcast they started originally and it is a hysterical advice series. They also made a TV show that is the most hilarious thing I watched all year.

Last Podcast on the Left was a podcast I became obsessed with after a “ghost tour” I did in Chicago and wanted to learn more about H. H. Holmes. They make miniseries about specific topics surrounding the occult, serial killers, cults, and other semi-related dark topics.

Music:

To close out this probably longer-than-it-needs-to-be post, here is a smattering of music that I would recommend.

Top track: Ghosted – Get Some

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

Lucius – Nudes is my favorite album of 2018

Bodhi Presman – The Presman Farm

Marc Rebillet’s Idealogue series

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Every morning for the almost four decades they had lived in this house, Ove put on the coffee percolator, using exactly the same amount of coffee as on any other morning, and then drank a cup with his wife. One measure for each cup, and one extra for the pot–no more, no less. People didn’t know how to do that anymore, brew some proper coffee. In the same way as nowadays nobody could write with a pen. Because now it was all computers and espresso machines. And where was the world going if people couldn’t even write or brew a pot of coffee?”

★★★★★

It took me such a long time and I finished it right at the end of the year, but I think I may have found my favorite book of 2018. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman follows the story of Ove, a curmudgeonly old miser who doesn’t get along with anyone. Of course, Ove is forced to interact with a wide variety of colorful characters and one small cat that Ove is not at all pleased about. Backman weaves a beautiful tale and breathes life into even the seemingly simplest of characters. The chapters jump back and forth between Ove’s present day and his past to tell a beautiful love story between a quiet, principled man and his vibrant, caring wife.

The Good:

  1. Who doesn’t love a great redemption arc? Throughout the story, Ove transitions from depressed old miser to depressed old miser with empathy and a dash of self-awareness.
  2. I’m really not into cars, but there is a surprisingly beautiful theme throughout the book that ties Ove’s relationships to his relationship with his Saabs. In fact, just go to chapter 28 and read the whole thing. Backman weaves such a fantastic parallel between Ove and his neighbor Rune’s cars that you don’t even realize what his original point was until the end of the chapter and everything clicks into place.
  3. It is written beautifully and the translator did a fantastic job.
  4. “He never understood why she chose him. She loved only abstract things like music and books and strange words. Ove was a man entirely filled with tangible things. he liked screwdrivers and oil filters. He went through life with his hands firmly shoved into his pockets. She danced.”
  5. It’s just so sweet and sad and I hate it and I love it for making me feel these things.

The Bad:

  1. The ending is pretty cheesy. Don’t get me wrong I still bawled my eyes out and enjoyed it, but it was still kind of corny.
  2. I just can’t handle the death of a spouse trope. So many tears!
  3. End of list.

In conclusion, if you are ready to cry go read this. I obviously couldn’t go into too much detail to keep this spoiler-free, but just trust me. Read this.