Life is just a bowl of cherries: 2012 best-of

Life is just a bowl of cherries: 2012 best-of December 31, 2012

I hope you find something to enjoy here! Last year’s best-of is here.


Best books read (nonfiction): Joseph Volpicelli and Maia Szalavitz, Recovery Options: The Complete Guide. A thoughtful, empathetic guide to finding a path which works for you. I read this shortly after I quit drinking and got a lot out of it. (This post was influenced by their approach.) I definitely recommend this if you have a drug or alcohol problem, wonder if you might, or love someone who might.

Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.

Dawn Eden, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints.

Maia Szalavitz, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids.

Dance Anecdotes: Stories from the Worlds of Ballet, Broadway, the Ballroom, and Modern Dance, ed. Mindy Aloff.


Best books read for the first time (fiction etc): Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The House of the Dead.

Dan Barden, The Next Right Thing.

Edmund White, Forgetting Elena.

Michelle Huneven, Blame. A low-level professor who’s had her license suspended for DUI comes to after a blackout to learn that she’s driven drunk again and killed two people. The novel follows her through the ensuing decades of punishment, repentance, service to others, and rebuilding–and then she learns that the story she’s known all these years about what happened in her blackout may not be entirely correct. There’s just great stuff in here about how we reconcile ourselves to our own lives and to one another, and what to do when very hard-earned meaning seems to be replaced by randomness. Some hard-edged glimpses of marriage, pride, shame, the shyness and uncertainty which can come with intense forgiveness… just a lot of really compelling material here. Not always handled perfectly, but well enough. It’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking book.

John Dalton, The Inverted Forest.


Best movies watched for the first time: A Separation

Kid with a Bike

Damsels in Distress



A Letter to Three Wives, The Naked City, Les Anges du Péché, The Steamroller and the Violin, Metropolitan, The Return, Oligarch (aka Tycoon: A New Russian), Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ward No. 6, The Face of Another, Resolution, Marked Woman, La Jetee, Serpico, The Dark Hours.


Best theater: The return of The New Jerusalem to Theater J. Sorry but it really was the best thing I saw–just terrific.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Round House Theater)

Jekyll and Hyde (Synetic Theater)

Sucker Punch (Studio Theater)

Time Stands Still (Studio Theater)


Best-ish posts or articles I read by other people (I’m sure I’m forgetting many of them): The Onion, “If Only I’d Listened to Virtually Anyone.”

Calah Alexander at Patheos, “The Long Road of Grace and Mercy.”

Timothy P. Carney at the Washington Examiner, “When a horrific rape leads to an innocent life.”

Laura Rena Murray at The New Inquiry, “Minor Cords.”

John L. Allen, Jr. at the National Catholic Reporter, “Three Myths About the Church to Give Up for Lent.”

Eliza Player at The Fix, “Junkies in the Hurricane.”

Not an article, but I remember this YouTube thing about same-sex attraction and love of Christ as being really sweet and endearing. …Ugh, I seriously can’t cut these two: Timothy P. O’Malley at Notre Dame’s Oblation blog, “Waiting for Gabriel: Learning to Pray Through Infidelity“; part two of an interview with Wesley Hill on “Young Evangelicals and the Culture Wars.”


Best blog posts: “To come first for someone”: A post on Gay Catholic Longing. A lot of people related to this, I think.

“Perhaps the most depressing of Jack Handey’s ‘Deep Thoughts'”: The tiger can’t change his spots. No, wait, he did! Good for him!

“What a Resurrection Really Feels Like”: How philosophers fail to recognize that they’re already Christians; or, the difference between faith and consolation. (And here’s a summary with Looney Tunes, and a short postscript.) And a sequel, which is much more practical.

“The Name of the Miracle of the Rose”: My current thinking on “identifying as gay.”


Best things I wrote (for other people): “Divorce Dilemma“: This is more or less how I see marriage and family issues now.

The Botany Club: Gay Kids in Catholic Schools“: A short version of my basic spiel about, uh, everything.

The Redeemed Surrealists“: In which I sort of review an art show.

The Death-Haunted Art of Friendship, Part I“: I liked the first installment of this series the best.

Sex and the City“: Ten years at a crisis pregnancy center.


Have a great New Year, you guys. And… the title of this post.

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