• What’s the Best Book of the Past 125 Years? We Asked Readers to Decide. (New York Times, 12-28-21)
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (Do read why they won.)
2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. 1984 by George Orwell
4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
5. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Science Fiction: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Horror: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Nonfiction: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Children’s Book: Watership Down by Richard Adams
Cookbook: The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
Self Help: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
Three writers — John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner — received nominations for seven of their books.
Other popular authors included James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood and Virginia Woolf, who each had five books nominated.
And readers nominated four of Joan Didion’s books: “The Year of Magical Thinking,” “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” “The White Album” and “Play It as It Lays.”
The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
• The most popular US library books of 2021 (Clarisa Diaz, Quartz)
• The 100 Must-Read Books of 2021 (Annabel Gutterman, Cady Lang, Arianna Rebolini, and Lucas Wittmann, Time)
• Best Books of 2021 (New York Public Library)
• 74 mini-reviews to help you find a great book to read next (David Bauer, Medium, 1-5-21) Book recommendations, from climate change to robotics, from food to superforecasting, from leadership to writing, and more.
• The best books for white people to learn (just a little) about Black people (Lawrence Goldstone, Shepherd for Authors)
• How will sharing book recommendations help me sell books?
THE BEST MOVIES:
• Best movies of 2021 (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post) Almodóvar just gets better, family films make a comeback
• The movies that wowed Post critics in 2021 (Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post)
• 30 Movies That Are Unlike Anything You’ve Seen Before (David Sims, The Atlantic, 5-30-20) These movies "are singular, whether they’re experimental documentaries, visionary works of animation, or labyrinthine epics. Each is unforgettable, and a reminder of cinema’s potential to flout narrative convention, subvert visual traditions, and find new ways to express timeless themes."
• Winter Movies 2021: Here’s What’s Coming Soon to Streaming and Theaters (Ben Kenigsberg, NY Times, 11-16-21) Get ready for originals like “House of Gucci” and “C’mon C’mon” or franchise updates like “The Matrix Resurrections” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.”
• 11 Overlooked Classic Films for a Pandemic Winter Old Rex Reed recommendations, posted12-11-21)
• Readers, Streamers, and Watchers (Marcy Davis’s great private Facebook group)
GOOD TV AND CABLE:
"Few shows get better over time and are worth recommending to new viewers after they're done—Schitt's Creek, Better Call Saul, and BoJack Horseman are rare examples." ~ Jordan Calhoun, The Atlantic, 6-22
BEST TV SHOWS OF 2021
• The 16 Best TV Shows of 2021 (Sophie Gilbert, Megan Garber, and Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 12-9-21)
“Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip With Sam and Graham" (Starz)
“Mare of Easttown" (HBO)
“Dickinson" (Apple TV+)
“The Chair" (Netflix)
“Ted Lasso" (Apple TV+)
“Hacks" (HBO Max)
“The White Lotus" (HBO
“The Underground Railroad" (Amazon Prime
“Reservation Dogs" (FX on Hulu)
“Only Murders in the Building" (Hulu)
“Squid Game" (Netflix)
“The Other Two" (HBO Max)
• The Best TV Shows of 2021 (Doreen St. Félix, New Yorker, 12-8-21) In no particular order:
"The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime)
“South Side” (HBO Max)
“Reservation Dogs” (FX)
“The White Lotus” (HBO)
“We Are Lady Parts” (Peacock)
“Philly D.A.” (PBS)
“Hacks” (HBO Max)
“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” (Bravo) which is morphing into a true-crime hit
“Love Life” (HBO Max) which gets the award for most improved Bonus Awards for Consistent Excellence: “Evil” (CBS)
“Bob’s Burgers” (FOX)
“What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)
“Work in Progress” (Showtime).
A shout-out to the shows that didn’t “make” the list.
The troupe on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is jelling in a way that is reminiscent of the Gilda Radner golden era.
Martin Short and Steve Martin have invented a vibe that I’ll call “uncle-core,” on the snappy Hulu murder mystery “Only Murders in the Building.”
The kinky historical fictions of “The Great,” also on Hulu, and of Apple TV+’s “Dickinson,” which is in its third and final season—and ending at precisely the right time—are consistently engaging.
HBO’s “100 Foot Wave” is a beautiful colossus; its director, Chris Smith, has merged an intimate look at the surfer Garrett McNamara with stunning footage of the sea in Nazaré, Portugal.
“Heels,” on Starz, a sentimental drama about professional wrestling, intriguingly mirrors the meta-theatricality of “Glow.”
“City of Ghosts” (Netflix),
“The Good Fight” (Paramount+), and
“Call My Agent!” (Netflix) kept me sane.
The noir humor of “Odd Taxi” (Crunchyroll), an anime, made me feel crazy—in a good way.’
• The Best Feel-Good and Feel-Bad TV of 2021 (Naomi Fry, New Yorker, 12-22-21)
BEST HACKS – HOW TO LIVE LIFE
• 100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying (The Guardian Saturday Magazine, 1-1-22) Whether it’s being polite to rude strangers or setting time limits to your apps, tons of ways to make life better, with little effort.
• How to Treat Skin Hyperpigmentation Naturally (Healthline) Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, red onion, green tea extract, black tea water, licorice extract, milk, buttermilk, tomato paste, orchid extracts, red lentils.
TOP ONLINE CONTENT (a few links to "best" and "top" lists)
• All the top (good, intelligent) radio talk shows and podcasts (McNees links)
• Great podcasts to listen to while your hands and eyes are doing something else (McNees links)
• Podcasts about health, health care, medicine and medical science (McNees links to best podcasts)
• A+ blog and newsletter roll (Writers and Editors)
• 25 Newsletters and Tools to Discover Shareable Content (Kevan Lee @Buffer)
• 31 Bookish, Brainy, Beautiful Blogs for Readers (Tracy O'Neill, NY Public Library)
• 17 Unique Places to Find Great Content to Share (Kevan Lee @Buffer)
• 14 Newsletters You’ll Want in Your Inbox (Anum Hussain @Buffer)
• Great search links (Writers and Editors)