November 08, 2015

interesting disclosures 5: the BEST things you can do or buy or think

a bedraggled guy on the street said to me: "smile! it's almost over!"

YES, this edition is long, but it has lists of the best things from 2015, so if you are strapped for time, you can skip to those for your gift-buying needs. (I give you permission to use these lists to buy gifts for yourself.)

I've been listening to music nonstop all day and night for days (here is the November playlist, by the way; it's titled "subject to change"), because I'm frantically trying to decide if I'll contribute to a big list of writers' picks for the best music of 2015. The initial deadline given by the music editor is Nov. 9 (tomorrow!), which sounds early and worth mocking, but the truth is that I started asking people for their favorite books of the year just before Halloween, so I don't have a leg to stand on. 
If you'd like to know, the best books I've read this year, in no particular order, are these:
Bright Lines, Tanwi Nandini Islam
Confession of the Lionness, Mia Couto
Disgruntled, Asali Solomon

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Sellout, Paul Beatty
The Turner House, Angela Flournoy
White Girls, Hilton Als
Those in bold were published this year, and you can find my reviews for some of them here. I will write more about these in the Post soon, along with my colleagues, who will share their favorites of the year, too. 
I've been posting quirky/amazing stuff on a semi-secret Facebook page. If you're into that kind of thing.

I don't know why I'm doing it yet. 

I posted one thing that I think a bunch of people found because I mentioned an immortal priestess who created Taylor Swift. So that was interesting. 

I'm grateful to have friends who have stretched my musical boundaries this year. I'm grateful to have friends who have inspired me to read a lot. I'm grateful to have friends who have inspired me to create. One such friend -- he qualifies in at least two of those three areas -- has taken something I've written and made it into an ebook, which is something he does professionally. This is an awesomely nice gesture that I don't even know how to repay. And so I think I'll share that with the next of these newsletters, which is somewhat nerve-wracking because the story he made into an ebook is not at all what you, who are reading this, might think I would write. 

Interlude: Do you, or does someone you love, currently have an unwanted owl in the kitchen?

One reason it's hard to decide about contributing to the music lists is that I listen to music weirdly and I know it. Lyrics disqualify music for me faster than ever. Planning to write an album you want me to buy? Do yourself a favor: Don't disparage women.

That's actually why I've decided to submit my list: This is a year of being the change.
Here is my list, subject to change before the year is out. It has changed at least once while writing this newsletter. (You can see my final list at in a few weeks, and you'll be among the very few who know exactly how much I waffled and changed my mind in the final weeks of the year! Exciting!)
Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit - Courtney Barnett
To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
No Cities To Love - Sleater-Kinney
So The Flies Don't Come - Milo
Multi-Love - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Oh Man, Cover The Ground - Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles
V - Wavves
White Men Are Black Men, Too - Young Fathers
Rose Mountain - Screaming Females
Return to the Moon - EL VY
The one I'm too chicken to put on my list: The Epic - Kamasi Washington
IF you want to know more about these albums, let me know, and I'll happily send you the longer version of this list, which has justifications and explanations and so on. 

I wonder which items won't be on the list in another week. 

What are you listening to?