I always prepare for my year-end wrap up by reading what I posted at the end of the previous year. 2017 was “a tough year.” 2018’s response? “Hold my beer.” School shootings, children separated from their families and dying in detention, horrific wildfires, daily awfulness from the Trump administration, and now a government shutdown with no end in sight. I’m more grateful than ever for the things that entertain me and keep my spirits up. Here’s my best of 2018.
My 2018 reading list began with the final five books in my Dorothy Dunnett marathon. I read a lot of Jack Reacher novels and two of Robin Hobb’s fantasy trilogies. I finished the year with a number of classics, including novels by Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot. I especially enjoyed The Physician by Noah Gordon. The nonfiction book that had the biggest impact on me was Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven.
I only saw five movies in the cinema, and three of them were in January. I most enjoyed Paddington 2 and Love, Simon.
I learned a good strategy for the library waiting list for new DVDs, so I’ve seen a lot more recent releases than average. 2018 movies I liked: Lean on Pete, The House of Tomorrow, Game Night, Alpha, Ideal Home, Ant-Man and Wasp, Blindspotting, and Crazy Rich Asians. The biggest disappointments were Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Hot Summer Nights. Older films that stuck with me after watching include War on Everyone (2016), and The Guard (2011). The weirdest film I watched was Mænd & høns (Men & Chickens) (2015).
Permission wasn’t a great film, but there was this:
François Arnaud, Rebecca Hall, and pancakes in Permission
Most of my television viewing was with DVD sets from library, continuing my trend of watching less live TV. I binge-watched Prison Break, and I finally saw the first season of Stranger Things. I really enjoyed The Heart Guy (called Doctor Doctor in Australia), Shetland (Scotland), Montalbano (Sicily), Anne with an E (Canada), and The Brokenwood Mysteries (New Zealand). Bodyguard kept me on the edge of my seat. The Last Post was worth watching for Jessie Buckley and Tom Glynn-Carney. I’m finishing out the year with Yellowstone, Gotham, and The Orville.
I’ll miss François Arnaud now that Midnight, Texas is cancelled, but he deserves a better series. Code Black deserved to continue, and I miss it a lot.
This year I made a real effort to get out to more live events. Living in San Francisco is expensive, but there are lots of free things, and Goldstar for discount tickets has been very useful.
I had a great time seeing Ed Sheeran at AT&T Park, and I also enjoyed concerts by Aaron Tveit, Ramin Karimloo, and Ola Bilińska.
It doesn’t count as a concert, but I did go to Stars on Ice with Olympic skaters and favorite songs from Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman.
Any live theatre is the best! I saw the musicals In the Heights, Into the Woods, A Walk on The Moon, Miss Saigon, and The Boy From Oz. My one play was We Swim, We, Talk, We Go To War. I also enjoyed the Black Arts Festival at ACT’s The Strand.
As for theatres themselves, I went for my first time to the Throckmorton, the Herbst, Marines’ Memorial Theatre, the Orpheum, The Rueff, Potrero Stage, and the Gateway Theatre.
I added a lot more theatre cast albums to my playlist, including Spongebob Squarepants, Mean Girls, Come From Away, and Hamilton. I love Eric & Happie’s Hamavdil, Michael Lee Brown’s EP, and Appleseed’s 21st Anniversary: Roots and Branches 3 CD set.
Let’s face it, Twitter is no longer as fun as it used to be. I deleted all but one of my accounts, and I seriously considered leaving the platform altogether. I’m still hanging on, because it’s addictive getting the almost-as-it-happens news.
My most popular tweet of 2018 was this year’s #DuvetKnowItsChristmas photo.
I spent a lot less time on YouTube in 2018. I mostly watched Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Trevor Noah.
Biggest Time Sucker Upper
I’m still spending too much time reading daily news briefs from The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. I enjoy the daily trivia from Now You Know. My favorite newsletter is The Levin Report from Vanity Fair.
My Entertainer of the Year
I didn’t obsess over any one actor, which is probably for the best. Honorable mentions go to Tom Glynn-Carney, Rodger Corser, Jessie Buckley, Richard Madden, George MacKay, Jack Lowden, Ben McKenzie, Charlie Plummer, Paul Rudd, François Arnaud, Adam Rippon, and Wentworth Miller.
This year’s Entertainer of the Year is Paddington Bear, because he’s kind to everybody. We all need more kindness, and that’s my wish for 2019.