Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 Round Up, Part 3--creative input

Okay, this is really the last post about 2008. I'm a number guy and a list-maker (mildly compulsive, perhaps...), so the end of the year is great time for tallies. I keep track of how many books, movies, and plays I take in every year, which I look on as sort of creative compost for the mind.

Here's how I did in 2008:

Movies watched: 46 (my goal was 52, but I coached my daughter's travel soccer team this year, which meant I coached about 20 games and ran about 40 practices. All that time has to come from somewhere.)

Favorites: Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, Juno.

I had a goal of reading a handful of screenplays, but came up empty on that one.

Plays (and readings of plays) watched: 14. (In the old days, before kids, I might see 75 plays and readings in a year, but that's not possible anymore. Plus, this year, I intentionally dialed back some of my playgoing--I just needed a break (my goal was only 12). This year, I'd like to see a lot more. Luckily I have a StageSource membership, which gets me access to free tickets, because, to be honest, I can't afford to buy tickets to plays very often (see previous post on income).

Favorites: An Ocean of Air by Rough & Tumble, and the Rhombus plays in the Six Views Festival we put on.

Plays read: 9. (my goal was 4. Which I know is very unimpressive, but I've been more into reading books than plays lately.)

Favorite: August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. Intense, high-energy, and obviously theatrical. Reading Doubt by John Patrick Shanley was a big disappointment for me--it just seemed so theatrically uninteresting, and though the stakes are high, part of me felt like it's getting done a lot because it's really cheap to stage (small cast, no set). (Heresy, I'm sure.)

Books read: 29. (my goal was 24. I'm a slow reader, sad to say. And busy with a lot of stuff (see above).)

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
  • Into the Wild and Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • The New Kings of Non-Fiction edited by Ira Glass
  • Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • Master and Comander by Patrick O'Brian
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
  • Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
I know that's an excessively long list of favorites (especially since I only read 29 books) but I liked all of these a lot. It helps that Tracy reads more than twice as much as I do, and knows what I like, so she filters out the other stuff. And I've gotten terrific recommendations from friends.

So that's a bunch of the stuff that went into my head. I'm curious to see what will come out in 2009.

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