Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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Writer's Block: Top 10

Hey, my third post today! Can you tell I'm bored? :P This is something I'd been wanting to do anyway, though, and here's an excuse!

It's the time of year for "10 Best" lists. What's on your personal 10 Best—events, movies, music, anything—list for 2008?

Top Ten Albums of 2008:

1. Ditty Bops - Summer Rain
2. Ben Folds - Way to Normal
3. Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
4. Vermillion Lies - What's in the Box?
5. Black Francis - Svn Fngrs
6. Piñataland - Songs for the Forgotten Future, Volume 2
7. Colin Meloy - Colin Meloy Sings Live!
8. Magnetic Fields - Distortion
9. Sloan - Parallel Play
10. Dresden Dolls - No, Virginia

I haven't listened to some of these in a while, and it's possible my opinions will change when I do, but it's still a good indication as to what new albums I heard this year.

I'll also list books, but unlike the albums, none of these were actually RELEASED this year. That's just when I read them.

1. Collected Fictions, by Jorge Luis Borges - The stories varied in quality, but the best of them had a great surrealistic quality to them, and even the weaker ones showed some good writing. Of course, I read them in English translation, but I hope I didn't lose out on much by doing so, as I don't know Spanish.

2. The Once and Future King, by T.H. White - A quite philosophical and sometimes funny retelling of the Arthurian saga. I'm a little disappointed that Merlin disappeared so soon into the story, though, as I quite enjoy White's characterization of him as an absent-minded genius (one of my favorite archetypes, I must say).

3. Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift - A classic that it took me a little time to get into, but that clearly heavily influenced some of my favorite authors.

4. Asimov's Guide to the Bible, by Isaac Asimov - I got through this entire book (actually a combined volume, covering both the Old and New Testaments) surprisingly quickly. The science fiction writer examines the historical context of the Bible in an interesting way.

5. Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature, by L. Sprague de Camp - I came across a mention of this book on the Internet, and found it fascinating. It's a great skeptical look at stories regarding Atlantis and other lost continents.

6. The Astonishing Tale of the Gump of Oz, by Dennis Anfuso - It's somewhat amazing that, despite the relative obscurity of all but the first book, people are still writing new Oz stories. Just a testament to the power of the fairyland, I suppose. This is one of the better ones, featuring a search for the parts of the Gump, as well as a concurrent quest for Ozma's long-lost mother.

7. Question Quest, by Piers Anthony - I read a lot of Xanth books this year, but this was the best of the lot, giving the often silly fantasy land a real sense of history, and providing a background for the grumpy Good Magician Humfrey.

8. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley - What with all of the embellishments to the story by Hollywood and the like, it's interesting to read the original story, and find that the monster was originally conceived as a sympathetic and thoughtful character, not the hulking bolt-necked brute that popular culture often presents.

9. The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell - Finally got around to reading this, and I found its explorations of the similar themes in different mythologies quite interesting. I wasn't as thrilled by the psychological parts, but hey.

10. The Bible As History, by Ian Wilson - Unlike Asimov, Wilson seemed more determined to present a fair number of Bible stories as being true in their most basic forms, and so accepted some archaeological evidence that I've seen dismissed or at least questioned elsewhere. Still, a fascinating and lavishly illustrated volume, and one that will also remind me of waiting for bethje to get up while staying at Disney World. {g}
Tags: albums, books, lists, oz, top 10, writer's block, xanth

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