It’s been a difficult year for many with such a divisive election, a spirit of fear hanging in the air, and the loss of so many cherished people that made a mark on culture and society. Perhaps the end of year lists that get published this time of year will bring us some collective joy. Here are a few of my top 5s. For something to be considered I had to read it, hear it, watch it, or see it myself. I’ve got two kids under the age of eight, so that limits some things (you’ll notice that when we get to the movies.) Each list is in no particular order, just Top 5. Here we go
Top 5 Television Shows I Watched
This is Us- the power of hope amidst the complexity of our relationships. I’m not afraid to admit I’ve shed a tear at almost every episode
Stranger Things-What’s not to love? 80s nostalgia, Winnona Ryder, and a mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat
Blindspot- This replaced The Blacklist as our guilty pleasure weekly thriller show
Gilmore Girls Revival- It was great to be transported back to Stars Hollow once again. I only wish that I could have banter as witty as Lorelai and Rory
Black-ish- Continues to feature some of the best social commentary that makes you think and laugh at the same time. Props to Anthony Anderson, who has come a long way from his days on Hang Time
Top 5 Albums I Heard
Chris Stapleton, Traveller– The man who made us remember what actual country music sounds like
Margo Price, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter- See above, except exchange man for woman
Drive By Truckers, American Band- Not afraid to take on the tough social issues of the day against a backdrop of powerful southern rock. Somehow made their best album minus Jason Isbell
Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide to the Earth- The awe and wonder of someone witnessing their first child’s birth is captured perfectly in this record. Don’t miss his version of Nirvana’ In Bloom
Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book- A record built around the artist’s faith, gospel harmonies mixed with powerful instrumentation
Top 5 Movies I Watched (realizing I need to see more movies)
Hell or High Water- I’m not a big fan of Westerns, but this was one solid film. The story of two brothers who will do whatever it takes to save the family farm
The Man Who Knew Infinity– A movie about math, that’s really about more than math. Our friend Ken Ono worked on this fantastic story about the power of possibility. Jeremy Irons gives a performance that is pretty close to perfect.
Zootopia- Remember that I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. This animated feature is for all ages, teaching us that we are not divided into predator and prey, but we are one.
Spotlight- Yes, I realize it came out last year, but I just saw it a few weeks ago. Wow, a sobering, powerful film.
Captain America: Civil War- Everyone loves a good superhero movie and to me, this was one of the best
Top 5 Books I Read
The Great Spiritual Migration, Brian McLaren If you want to know how Christianity will be practiced (and in many ways is now), this is an excellent and challenging read.
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson- A look at our justice system and how unjust it is towards many. A clear call to fix our broken (in many ways) justice system
The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni- I will utilize the learnings from this book for many years. Why do some organizations succeed while others fail? The key is culture and organizational health.
The Road to Character, David Brooks- There are deeper values that shape all of our lives. This books challenges us to rebalance the scales between our “resume virtues” and our “eulogy virtues”, using the stories of well-known and not so well known people.
Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance- A look at the lives of those who come from rural Appalachia, the challenges they face, and the perspective they have.
I’d love to know what you think of my list of hear what you would put on your Top 5.
All the best to you and yours in 2017