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Best of 2010 – Top 5 Books/Albums/Films

12/31/2010

Books

  1. William Gibson – Zero History

    This book is the culmination of the trilogy of present-day futurist fiction from Gibson, a great adventure through the streets of London and Paris in search of underground fashion and conspiracy.

  2. Freedom – Jonathan Franzen


    This is the first novel to live up to The Corrections, beautiful writing, horribly true to life characters, and a gift for capturing the modern American situation. Deeply human and flawed characters grappling with building a life, being parents, and finding meaning despite the unintended choices that lead us to our lives.

  3. Although, of Course, You End Up Becoming Yourself – David Lipsky

    Less a book than a fairly raw presentation of a 48 hour road-trip/interview with David Foster Wallace, a solid meal for anyone interested in the world of writers, the life of DFW, or interesting conversations about making a life for yourself.

  4. ReWork – 37Signals

    This is one of the most practical business/software books I’ve read in a long time – moving beyond the obvious lessons from Getting Real and digging into a number of interesting topics in the startup/software world. It’s a loosely structured book, a collection of 2-4 page essays, but a format I quite liked. Great essays on planning, communicating, managing scope, and company culture.

  5. An Engineer’s Guide to Silicon Valley Startups – Piaw Na

    This book is a must-read for any engineer or employee considering leaving the corporate track to take a job at a startup, breaking down how to evaluate different companies, negotiate compensation, and plan a career. I wish I had read this 2-3 years ago.

Music

  1. Sleigh Bells – Treats

    This album is the most interesting thing to hit my ear in a couple of years – Miller brings crunchy, noisy bass and distorted guitars and Kraus has haunting female pop vocals to create something genuinely new. The wall of sound is layered and crunchy, guaranteed to piss off your parents and your girlfriend.

  2. Slow Six – Tomorrow Becomes You

    Slow Six brings art to the arc of energy and pacing in this instrumental post-rock. The Night You Left New York builds for 2-3 minutes before hitting it’s full stride, delivering rhythm and complex layering of poignant violin over guitar. Painfully beautiful.

  3. Girl Talk – All Day

    Girl Talk brings it back to classic mashup glory harkening to The Night Ripper. Nothing surprising here, but beautiful blending of hip-hop vocals and drums with classic pop from the 90s/00s. I could knock points for being formulaic, but he gets it right and rocks a party.

  4. Zoe Keating – Into the Trees

    Zoe Keating’s second solo Cello project strikes off on her own from Rasputina, using classical instrumentation with sampled loops to fill out the sound in a one-woman band. The tools are old fashioned, but the concepts brought to the Cello here are very vibrant and modern. One of my favorite albums for deep thought, long trips, or early mornings.

  5. La Roux – La Roux

    I never thought I would love a band so rooted in 80s synth-pop, but the single Bulletproof knocks it out of the park on it’s own merits and there’ve been a slew of dancier remixes for your party pleasure.

Film

  1. Exit Through the Gift Shop

    This movie began as a documentary about Banksy and his art, but the documentary film maker was so dysfunctional and intriguing he quickly became the star of the show. What happens with a French film hack living in LA applies the art & PR principles of Banksy & Shepard Fairey to launch a street art career? Like Banksy’s work, this movie is a more compelling statement about the art world than the artists themselves.

  2. Hot Tub Time Machine

    This movie looked terrible on the surface, but took itself lightly enough to make a hilarious comedy. This is the cinematic version of all the 80s retro fashion and music we’ve suffered through in the 00s, but yet comes out a great film despite that. What would happen if you travelled back in time to inhabit your own high school life?

  3. Inception

    A classic, mind-bending sci-fi film like the first Matrix movie. Big name stars and some kitschy concepts still work well together to deliver an amazing amount of escapism that’s visually stunning.

  4. Social Network

    I’m a huge Aaron Sorkin fanboy and loved this film even though I’m sure it has little basis in reality, he wrote a great story. The topic of startup/software culture, dialog, and score by Trent Reznor made this a great story, even if it is a creation myth largely fabricated whole cloth.

  5. The Kids are Alright

    Mark Ruffalo does an amazing job with the lead role, clashing the crisis of growing-up/settling down with living life as a bachelor. These two lifestyles and lives come clashing together in the train wreck you can see coming, but the acting and portrayal were as beautiful as many moments were painful to watch.

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  1. 12/31/2010 at 5:34 pm
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