Friday, 16 December 2016

2016 Top Ten Lists - # 10

It's that time of year to start looking back at some of my favourite things of 2016. Unlike previous years when I've Topped Ten favourite actors/ actresses, TV shows and movies, this year I'm going to limit myself to my Top Ten Books and songs on my usb (of course, those songs I added only in 2016, either new songs or old). I do have favourite TV shows and actors and actresses (Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain) but we don't really go to movies as there isn't a good movie theater locally... well, one with comfortable seats for us). But I listen to my usb constantly; it's always in place in the car ready to go if I take the car anywhere. I tend to use in place of the radio. Jo does too. She has her own usb. We do like similar songs but our tastes also diverge somewhat. And, of course, I belong to Goodreads and a few book groups within so as I read during the year, I rate and review my books.

So, there you go. Over the next 10 days, I'll choose my Top Ten songs and books, of course starting with Number Ten today.

Number 10

Song Selection

I had to go through about 300+ songs that I've added to my usb this past year. It is a bit of a work in progress. Every few weeks I go through the BBC 2 Playlist and the song lists of various DJs; Sara Cox, Simon Mayo, Jo Whiley, etc. I move songs to my walkman, add new ones, delete ones I've had too long. It's lots of fun. Having said this, my list probably isn't all that perfect, but it might give you a bit of an idea of the types of music I've been listening too this past year(s). My number 10 song selection is from a new artist for me. Damien Wilson is an English musician who performed solo and also with many Progressive rock bands, including Threshhold, Headspace, etc. The song choice is one of his solo efforts, Thrill Me. The song was released in 2016. (Click on the song title if you want to hear it.)

Book Selection

I had 18 5-star books this past year. I don't think, based on the books I'm currently reading, that I will have anymore before year's end. A few of these 5-star selections that didn't make it to my Top Ten List include a couple by Michael Gilbert, Petrella at Q and Smallbone Deceased, both crime novels; Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas, an excellent horror novel; Margaret Atwood's Maddadam, the third book in the Oryx and Crake trilogy, etc.

My number 10 selection is a science fiction novel from Clifford Simak. It was a book I purchased on a whim. It just sounded interesting and I was pleasantly surprised when I read it. My review is below.

"Back in my university days, I took a Science Fiction novel course. One of the books we read was City, a story of the future where all that remains on Earth are dogs and robots. It was a beautiful, engaging, touching story. For some reason, I've never read another Simak book, until this past week. The Werewolf Principle, written in 1968, was a lovely surprise.
In the future, mankind sent ships into space to search the universe for habitable planets. Along with the ships were two unique humans (maybe telling you their uniqueness might take some of the joy of discovering it for yourselves, so I won't elaborate). Suffice it to say, that one of them returns to Earth, discovered in hibernation in a capsule.
Andrew Blake arrives, suffering from amnesia. Slowly he discovers himself and how he has changed over this 200 year journey. He is now more than Andrew Blake. Discovering how he has changed is part of the joy of this book; such an imaginative concept. I found myself saying 'Wow' many times. The book is thoughtfully crafted, intelligently written and the story and characters are all interesting and engaging.
It's so nice exploring Science Fiction again. The imagination and the stories are wonderful. I do like how Simak views the future, some concepts like the living homes are fascinating, and, yet, people still use coins and public phone boxes. I also liked the Brownies, the beings from another world who have settled on Earth and keep an eye on things. Everything about this story was fascinating. I had originally given it 4-stars, but as I write about it and think about it, it deserves more than that. It intrigued me, brought out emotions, both happy and sad, and just totally grabbed me, from beginning to end. It won't take me 40 years to read another Simak story."

So there you go, my first installment of my 2016 Top Ten Lists. Number 9 follows tomorrow.

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