Dispatches | December 01, 2009

There are only a few months left in the semester, and sadly, (for me, anyway) the blog posts left has chopped down to only a few.

I find this time of year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, almost surreal. It seems to me that it is never remembered for long. Characterized by grinding out to finish the projects and finding time for holiday shopping, it seems like if you blink you might miss it.

Here in Missouri it is getting cold and the hours of sunlight are shrinking. I spent Thanksgiving in Iowa and up there people are already having to scrap off morning frost from their windshield. I think this time of year is odd because when I have a moment of time, I look at to what’s coming and think about how this year has gone. It’s getting to be the time when movie and book critics have started to make their top 10’s of the year and decade. I think it’s not a bad idea, what’s a better way to remember the past than to rank it?

So here are a few of my tops that I read, watched, or just experienced for the first time:

Best thing I read: Grendel, by John Gardner

Between Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Illych and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment I needed a humorous intermission. Gardner’s book satisfied my humor, philosophical and literary needs. I’ve noticed that in the world of literary greats, Gardner is over looked, despite writing The Art of Fiction. Though he is more contemporary (Grendel came out in ’71), I hope he will be recognized more.

Notable runner up: The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemmingway

Best thing I watched:  “Up”

Okay, I will admit, I have not gone out and seen a lot of movies in theater this year. “Up” was one of the few, but it was possibly one of the best movies I have ever seen. “Up” managed to established a emotionally heavy story, within the first fifteen minutes, without any feeling of melodrama. And with the magical realism a house of floating away by balloons- some writer out did himself.

Notable runner up: “Watchmen” (that came out this year… right?)

Best thing I just plain experienced: Thanksgiving diner

Maybe it is a little rash to say I had one best thing that I experienced, but Thanksgiving is up there. I still feel full just at the thought of all the food I ate.

Notable runner up: TMR internship (thankfully, there are a lot of runner ups in this category, but TMR has been a incredibly beneficial experience).