T V S H O W S
While I’ve done this annual post 6 years running now, this year was by far the hardest to narrow down to my top 5 favorite shows. TV is KING, and I hardly have enough time to watch everything on my list. I’m sure you will all disagree with my picks … I’m okay with that, and would love to hear your thoughts. I’m even faltering at the last minute on my top 5 as I post this, but here we go.
5. This Is Us – NBC: I’m sure some of you will think I’m such a sucker, but this show has me wrapped around its little finger. I cry every single episode – to which Husband asks me why I watch, and I have no answer. I cry and laugh and am inspired and cry some more. Everyone can find something to relate to in the show, and it only keeps getting better. Lord help us all when we finally find out how Jack dies.
4. Master of None – Netflix: Another show that will make you laugh and cry and laugh some more. It starts out in the Italian countryside with all the pasta and wine, so maybe I was partially bias watching before our Italian adventure, but this show is just incredible. Aziz has created something so unique and heartwarming that it’s truly hard to put in to words. Just watch.
3. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Amazon: This show was hyped so much as “a new favorite for Gilmore Girls fans” that I was seriously skeptical. Well, look where it is on the list. It cannot be hyped enough! Set in 1950s NYC, it’s about a witty, newly single woman trying to make it as a comedian. The writing is outstanding and you will fall in love with Midge Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan, and want to watch it again and again. A new favorite it is.
2. Outlander – Starz: Why do I LOVE this show so much?! I honestly can’t believe it myself (since I often claim how much I hate period pieces), and can’t even remember why I started watching it, but I quickly became obsessed with the time-traveling love story. If you only watch it for Jamie Fraser, that’s enough for me, but whether you like it or not you’ll get sucked into the series.
1. Game of Thrones – HBO: Trust me, I’m as shocked as anyone that this is my number 1 … a show that has never been on my list before! We tried it when it first started, and I didn’t think I liked it. Then we re-started it and binged 4 seasons last year leading up to the latest, and holy cow, I couldn’t believe how hooked I was. This show has everything you could ever want in a show – and ended with a sultry/scandalous love story that left me breathless for the final season.
Honorable Mentions: Stranger Things, The Handmaid’s Tale, Younger (still one of my favorite comedies!), The Good Place (give this show a chance – I promise you won’t regret it)
B O O K S
5. Option B – Sheryl Sandberg: I’ve already written an entire blog post about this book, so I’ll keep this short. This book rips you apart, then helps put you back together again. I want everyone to read it – especially if you’re grieving or if you’re close to someone who is.
4. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng: This book and the next are very different than my typical reads, and I’m so glad I tried something new. Little Fires Everywhere is a slow burn. Literally. You see the ins and outs of two family dynamics and how they become intertwined. While there were several surprises throughout, the book mostly just leaves you contemplative.
3. Sourdough – Robin Sloan: This book is great and hilarious and I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s such an easy read about a young woman developer who turns baker through a funny happenstance. I learned a lot about sourdough starters (of which I knew nothing), and genuinely enjoyed this quirky book all the way through.
2. The Girls – Emma Cline: This book has been on my list for forever, finally became available at the library, and oh my gosh I devoured it! Set in 1960s California, the book follows a teenage girl who gets caught up in a cult that ends very very badly. I was fascinated not only with the cult, but also the transformation of the main character. If you’re interested in cults at all or just want a unique read that will pull you in, this is for you.
1. Lilac Girls – Martha Hall Kelly: I have two typical genres of favorite books – thrillers with female leads + WWII historical fiction. This is the latter, following three very different women throughout the war and how their experiences shaped them for years to come. It’s unique in it’s perspectives (one a concentration camp doctor and one a prisoner) and is written in such beautiful detail, that you will be transported in time and come back remembering how very thankful you are.
[You can read all my book reviews here.]
Previously, I have also shared my top movies of the year. However, I’ve stopped watching as many movies and focused on TV shows. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two top movies – Dunkirk and Wonder Woman. Both amazing in very different ways.
What were your top TV Shows, Books + Movies of the year? I’d love to know!
I love reading end of year lists. I love seeing the popular opinion on top movies, books, fashion, etc. and how it compares with what I think. Last year I shared my top 10 movies of 2012. I planned to do my top 10 movies of 2013, but as I was looking back I honestly couldn’t find 10 movies that I would want on my list. (yikes!) So I decided to shorten it and add a few of my other tops from this year as well.
Enjoy! Let me know what your favorites were this year!
M O V I E S
5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Catching Fire was my favorite book of the series, so they had a lot to live up to, and they did. 10 times better than the first movie and of course Jennifer Lawrence is flawless.
Skeptical at first going into this movie since I didn’t know a thing about it, I walked out in awe at how much I enjoyed it. Maybe because I can semi-relate to the rural Arkansas lifestyle or because Matthew McConaughey had his best performance I’ve seen. Either way, you need to see it.
3. The Spectacular Now
This is the best indie movie since Garden State. It’s beautiful, it’s touching, it’s heart-wrenching. You will fall in love with Shailene Woodley and newcomer Miles Teller and reminisce about your first love.
What a RUSH! Bad pun, I know, but I absolutely loved this movie. It made something I wasn’t interested in (racing) very interesting and you were hooked until the last second.
There literally are no words that can describe this movie. I didn’t think I was breathing the entire movie. Even after the movie I was unsure. Outstanding.
(Note: I’m still dying to see the following – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Wolf of Wall St., Inside Llewelyn Davis, Dallas Buyers Club, Saving Mr. Banks)
T E L E V I S I O N S H O W S
5. Parks and Recreation
Somehow I’ve gone several years without seeing this show and I’m kicking myself for it. However, binge-watching this over the summer might have been more fun. I love Tom Haverford … and Leslie Knope … and Andy Dwyer … and Ron Swanson … I love them all!
3. The Walking Dead
Yes, this is a great show, but maybe I’ve loved it this year more because we’ve started watching it every Sunday night with a group of friends and that makes everything better. (Husband will definitely be mad at me for not putting this first … but I just adore Mindy Lahiri and Olivia Pope more than zombies!)
2. The Mindy Project
This has by far been the best sitcom of the year. The first season was shaky, but this season has been hilarious. The addition of Peter and Cliff to the series has been brilliant.
Somehow this show just keeps getting better and better and better. I never know what to expect each episode, except for glamorous Miss Pope and her big glass of vino. #Olitz4Eva
B O O K S
5. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Practical, honest and smart, this book opened my eyes and gave me the power and perspective I needed to continue in my life and career.
4. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
A grown-up version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, this was an easy book to read, but with more depth and wit than you’d expect.
3. 7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
This book has changed the way I think about everything. Read it and challenge yourself. Learn about my challenge here.
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Intrigue, suspense, love, drama and it’s currently in works to be a movie starring Ben Affleck. I could not put this book down.
1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns by Mindy Kaling
I love Mindy Kaling. I love her writing style. I love her humor. I love her personality. Enough said. (Have I said how much I love her?)