Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Favorites of 2008

2008 was the Year of the Herniation. I spent the end of January and most of February in a prone position, recovering slowly from a herniated disk in my neck. This was followed by the slow but steady development of an inguinal hernia that culminated in surgery in late July. All of this bed rest meant that I had plenty of time to read. I read 40 books in 2008. My favorites were Naomi Mitchison's Travel Light and Kate O'Brien's The Land of Spices.

The great but neglected Irish novelist Kate O'Brien was my great literary discovery of 2008. In her novels she skillfully and sensitively explores the tension between the demands of a strong traditional religious faith and the ordinary lapses and compromises of a life in the world, the tension between the coldness of renunciation and the heat of passion. Her books are about the struggle to love with the heart as well as the spirit, and to live a life that's rooted as well as flowering.

My great musical discovery of 2008 was Kate Rusby. I'll let her speak for herself. In this clip, after singing "Sir Eglamore," she introduces the next song in her lovely Yorkshire accent.

As usual, Clara and I saw few films in the theater in 2008. Two, to be exact. Martin McDonough's In Bruges and Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. Both were excellent. Also excellent was our DVD discovery of 2008, the brilliant Canadian series Slings and Arrows. And my favorite restaurant experience of 2008? The fabulous eight-course tasting menu and accompanying wine flight at La Belle Vie in Minneapolis. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. with sautéed langoustine with sweet corn flan and shellfish broth and Haton champagne and ending at around 9:00 p.m. with curried carrot cake with cardamon yogurt sherbet and carrot reduction and spätlese riesling. That may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Now on to 2009. Let the austerity begin.


Jim H. said...

"Austerity is its own reward"

-- some old rich guy

Shan said...

You may have beat me as far as number of movies seen in the actual theatre. No, wait--I saw three. Wow! That's the most by far since becoming a mom four and a half years ago.

I've heard from several sources that Slumdog Millionaire is a great film. Maybe we'll download it off iTunes some day.

Penelope said...

I've had "Sir Eglamore" running through my head ever since watching that clip several days ago. Well, yesterday it took a break, but this morning, with no prompting, it's back. Very infectious.

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .