2023 felt like five years rolled in to one. As I’ve been putting this list together, and enjoying the ones that all of you have made, I’ve been saying out loud “that was this year??? fuck.” over and over. In 2023 I honestly didn’t accomplish nearly as much I’d hoped at this point in 2022, and that is okay. I’m going into 2024 confident that I’ll make the changes and do the thing (ANGELA BASSETT DID THE THING WAS THIS! YEAR!!??)
This is my list of things in 2023 that brought me joy, or comfort. They might not have come out in 2023, but this is the year that I experienced them.
Favorite New Shows
- The Curse: I’ll be honest, I mostly love this show because of how much it makes my boyfriend cringe. He hides behind his fingers while we watch it, it’s delicious.
- Jury Duty: This seems like magic, looking back. The impossible task of getting the perfect casting for the main character, and ending up with someone as perfect as Ronald. I just know they’re going to manage to ruin this with a Jury Duty 2 that loses that magic, but this was a perfect season of television. James Marsden continues to be an under appreciated comedic king.
- Beef: I know the hype got knocked off one of the stars of the show, but WOW was this an intense season of TV.
- Succession: They did it. They finished the show in a way that no one really wins, it was perfect.
New To Me
- Somebody Somewhere
- Reservation Dogs
I spend a lot of time on the internet. This year saw the complete destruction of one of sites that I’ve poured the most into over the last ten years, Twitter. People like Ryan Broderick at Garbage Time have done a way better job of writing about the state of the internet. Just at the end of the year, my boss Anil Dash wrote his first piece for the Rolling Stones titled ”The Internet is About to Get Weird Again” and I really hope so 🙏
- If something is happening in the courts, any courts, I immediately go to Law Dork, run by the incredible Chris Geidner. He posts the documents (which seems like a low bar, but it isn’t!) immediately, and gives in depth analysis of what is happening. The coverage ranges from the Supreme Court to state level death penalty cases.
- If I’m watching elections or want to get more informed, I’m at BoltsMag. Their guides that let you know every single race happening are better than any other similar resource I’ve seen. Take a look at the Guide to 2023.
- I got a subscription to Dropout.tv for a month and watched all of the shows. Past Dimenion 20’s, Dungeons & Drag Queens (highly recommend), and game changer. It’s really fun to watch a group of talented improv folks play together.
- I read Today in Tabs, Platformer, and Garbage Day daily.
- A Thousand and One: I saw this early in the year, and it’s the one movie that really stuck with me. The ‘twist’ in the middle of the movie is so gut wrenching.
- Past Lives: This one hit me hard. We’ve all wondered “what if”, and dreamed about what if we’d made another choice. Wish I’d seen it at the SF Film festival, but saw it on a plane instead!
- M3GAN: It’s felt like a great year for horror movies not attached to major franchises.
- Joy Ride & Bottoms: I’m just so happy to see weird, raunchy comedies come back. Great year for women led comedies that made me cry laughing in the theatre.
Eurovision 2023 Revisited
Not my favorite year, honestly! Looking back at my predictions I wasn’t that far off. None of the songs from 2023 have made it into regular rotation in my playlists. Sometimes I’ll put on CHA CHA CHA and Loreen will sneak in with Tattoo instead of Euphoria.
I will be ATTENDING 2024 IN PERSON 🎉 for a few of the shows, and will have a listing up for my favorites as soon as I’ve got favorites.
This was not my best music year, and one of my resolutions for 2024 is to listen to more new artists. Artists that are completely new to me, and maybe some where I’ve seen the name and heard a song, but never sat down to listen.
One thing I did do this year was listen to a lot of Caroline Polachek.
I had a goal of 50 books read, and didn’t quite make it this year (39). In 2022 my goal was 50 and I overshot to 54, so I was hoping a magical year end push would get me there. I’m going to try again in 2024, with a focus on non-fiction to round out my general knowledge.
Some of my favorite books I read in 2023:
- The Spear Cuts Through Water: The format / pacing / structure of this book was strange. The primary adventure is two guys (told in third person omniscient past tense???) who are tasked with transporting the dead body of the goddess of the moon across the country to topple the emporeror, her husband. The inverted theatre, a performance space (told in second person present tense???) where ghosts watch the story play out in a dream realm. They frame a story of a modern day person (told in second person past tense??? it’s all very confusing!) whose life plays out over the course of the novel while he is told about the inverted theatre from his grandmother. It was a lot, and I’m sure I missed a ton, but I really enjoyed it.
- Infinity Gate: A Multiverse sci-fi epic that felt different than every other multiverse story that has come out in the last few years. Common many-world trope, but with the worlds having the opportunity to be wildly different. The worlds that branched more recently are similar to Earth, but the ones that branched further back might see another race of mammals having evolved to be the dominant species 🐰.
- 1177 b.c. The Year Civilization Collapsed: This was dense, but I learned a lot. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone who isn’t already interested in the topic (people who’ve fallen asleep reading the branches from the “Sea People” wikipedia page), but I’m glad I read it.
- A Fever in the Heartland: The sub head of this book is “The Klu Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them”. I honestly went into the book, having grown up in the South, knowing that the KKK did terrible things across the country. I knew they tried to take local seats of power, but I didn’t know how close they were to outright winning.