It’s Friday night and I’m sitting in my familiar chair in my living room.
Earlier today, we drove just over 10 hours back home from visiting my family in Vegas, which sounds like a lot, but not so bad compared to the just under 14 hours it took us to get out there on Monday. My daughter Em did better than I did on both drives. I was annoyed with other drivers and grumpy about the fact that I-5 really needs a third lane. She was happy (as long as she had her music or Sesame Street to watch).
I feel like I shouldn’t complain seeing as thousands of flights were canceled this week, leaving countless people stranded. At least we were able to spend a few days at my mom’s house and enjoyed some quality time with my brother and his family.
All that being said, I’m grateful to be back home.
But I wasn’t about to write a full-fledged story this week.
Instead, I’m sharing various things I’ve consumed this year that have stuck with me for some reason or another. They’re not all things that are from 2022, I just happened to consume them this year. It’s not an exhaustive list because that would be too exhausting to compile, let alone read. I’m also too exhausted to set up referral links, so don’t worry, I’m not trying to get you to click on something so I can make a few bucks.
Note: this post might be too long to read in your email inbox, so click through to read the whole thing.
Okay, here goes.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
This novel has been raved about a lot this year, which is why I finally succumbed and read it. I’m glad I did because it got me on a fiction kick and subsequently led me to write my first fictional short story.
I (mostly) loved this collection of short stories. Saunders is great at creating memorable, quirky characters and coming up with premises that leave me wondering how the hell he came up with them. My emotions ran the gamut from forlorn to audibly laughing throughout.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Clair North
This was a fun and super creative concept for a novel. It’s like Groundhog’s Day on steroids and with more dystopia.
What is the What by Dave Eggers
This fiction-ish book was absolutely jaw-dropping. I loved how the book was formatted and switched from the present to the past as if the main character was telling his story to someone in the present. The raw humanity in this book is stunning.
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
I finally got around to reading this collection of short stories and wow. Just, wow. I see more Ted Chiang reading on the horizon for me.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
This was a re-read for me. Long-time readers of this newsletter know how influential this book has been for me. It’s still one of my favorites. I love his raw, unfettered prose and how unafraid he was to do things like break the fourth wall.
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
I had never read Vonnegut before. I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t what I read. That being said, I’ve thought about this novel a bunch since reading it, and that’s always a sign of great art.
My Recent Divorce and/or Dior Homme Intense by
This was the first piece I thought of when I came up with this list. You’ve never read a divorce story quite like this. Sasha combines his gift for prose with his deep knowledge of men’s fragrances. Read it, even if you’ve never been through a divorce or really care all that much about cologne.
my grandpa, my car, and also me by
A family history story at its finest. Hilarious, heart-wrenching, and heartfelt. One of my favorite pieces of online writing I read this year.
Really enjoyed this short story. Thomas writes excellent nonfiction essays, but I especially love when he delves into fiction.
The best parenting advice I ever received by
Love this essay and the advice is something I think about all the time, especially when out and about with a kid who has a disability.
This essay really nails how I feel about the state of a bunch of things as the year closes out. Étienne’s writing is also criminally underread, imo.
Seeking Approval is Chasing the Dragon’s Tail by
While Alex’s life experience is much different than mine, I often find myself nodding along as if he’s writing about me specifically. This was probably my favorite piece of his this year.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
I watched this movie four times this year. The first time, I watched it by myself. I thought that was a lot until I heard Questlove has watched it 15 times. The film is the epitome of uninhibited creativity. I’m also a sucker for well-done time travel stories.
I remember hearing this title and completely ignoring it because I thought it was some sort of action movie. But I decided to give it a shot after hearing an interview with the director Rian Johnson. And I’m glad I did. It was highly entertaining with almost Coen Brother-type characters. I just watched Glass Onion, which is sort of a sequel, and I enjoyed it too. I hope there are more to come.
This film from Jonah Hill is one I’ll be rewatching soon. He interviews his therapist, Phil Stutz, who has a unique (and compelling) way of helping his patients feel like they’re able to actually change themselves. He’s also hilarious. Check out this excellent write-up fromabout it here.
I’m a product of the 80s Just Say No campaign. For most of my life, I’ve looked at the vast majority of drugs in a very negative light. This documentary series opened my eyes to how psychedelics, in particular, can be therapeutic medicines that are vital and perhaps the answer to many of society’s ailments.
One of George Saunders’ short stories from his book Tenth of December in movie form. It wasn’t perfect, but I liked it. It was fun to watch Chris Hemsworth play a villain too.
One of my favorite new shows. It’s just done so well. It’s eerie and funny all at once. Can’t wait for season 2 (hopefully) soon.
Sad to see this show end. It was one of the most creative shows I’ve probably ever seen, with a wide range of styles, from more traditional storytelling to surrealist.
Everyone’s talking about this one, especially the recently released second season. I loved both seasons, though. It’s hilarious and dark and not totally predictable.
Nathan Fielder doing his thing. It’s so awkward at times. But so funny.
I’m okay with the rapper Lil Dicky not making music as long as he keeps making seasons of Dave. No, but seriously, he needs to release some music too.
This is a show I waited too long to watch. The premise seemed so dumb—a contract killer who wants to become an actor. But Bill Hader plays the character so well. And Anthony Carrigan who plays NoHo Hank steals so many scenes. I lol’d a ton while watching this by myself.
My wife hadn’t seen this series yet so we watched the whole thing. It’s still just as good as the first time I watched it.
Rick Rubin on the Lex Fridman and Joe Rogan podcasts
I could listen to Rick Rubin talk all day long. He’s like a punk rock guru, but also a grandpa? I already preordered his book—which was eight years in the making—and can’t wait to read it.
George Saunders interview on Talk Easy
I could also listen to George Saunders talk all day long. One of my goals as I get older is to be more like George.
Steven Pressfield on The Tim Ferriss Show
Steven is proof that you can still “make it” later on in life. I’m looking forward to reading his upcoming memoir.
Literally every Smartless episode
It’s one of the most popular podcasts for a reason. I start each week’s episode as I’m giving my daughter Em her meds around midnight on Sunday nights. It’s my weekly dose of laughter.
If you know anyone with OCD, or you’re just curious about it, this is a great episode to help you understand the brutal reality of suffering from this disorder more.
Literally every “Please Don’t Destroy” video from SNL
They’re all so bizarre and hilarious. I love that they exist. Three Normal Goths was one of my favorites.
I used to watch a lot of Casey’s daily vlogs. It’s been nostalgic to watch his latest videos, even though his vlogs weren’t published really all that long ago.
I’ve followed this Auralnauts channel forever. Their Star Wars parody stuff is good. This is all about if Obiwan had an alter-ego named Larry.
Domi and JD Beck: Tiny Desk Concert
It’s unfair how good these two are at their instruments at such a young age.
FKA Twigs: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
Her voice is hauntingly great, especially with the natural reverb of a cathedral.
One of the more powerful musical performances I’ve watched in a while. Ren is an artist that has been plagued by chronic health issues, yet still produced this raw, emotional video.
I’ve been a fan of this band for a long time now, well before they scored my favorite film of the year, Everything Everywhere All At Once. Their musicianship is top-notch and they truly have their own sound. “Vacancy” is one of my recent favorite tracks.
I’m a Chino Moreno stan from all the way back when my old band covered the song “Bored” from Deftones’ debut album during our first live show. His side project Crosses is a less aggressive-sounding band, but still features his iconic vocal stylings. “Vivien” is a recent favorite song.
Gorillaz is another band I’ve followed forever. They’re slowly releasing new stuff this year that expands on their distinctive sound. I’ve been enjoying the track “Baby Queen”.
Another band I’ve listened to for years (decades?). Their latest self-titled release is a bit more on the pop-rock side, although still very much them. I don’t think it’s their best album ever, but it’s good to see them still creating music. “Graveyard Love” is a stand-out track for me.
Whew, okay, so that’s it.
Well, not really. There was a bunch more. It’s amazing how much media one can consume over the course of a year.
When I first started compiling this list, I felt guilty about all my time spent unproductively. But then I remembered that they’re all influences on my own creative work.
On that note, this was my most popular post this year:
And this is the one I’m most proud of:
Now I’ll turn it over to you. What were some of the top things you consumed this year?
If you enjoyed this one, could you please let me know by giving the heart button below a tap?
Thanks for the kind words, Lyle. And more than that thanks for all of the great writing you have put out this year.
(Also I will be stealing this format for an end of year wrap up in 2023. Loved it)
Awesome list - esp the Atlanta-Dave tv show recs.
do you think they are similar?