2022 Review

Hey folks, just wanted to, for my own benefit mostly, summarize some of the things I’ve read, played, watched, and done in 2022 before we cleanse the palate and start anew. These aren’t in any particular order.

BOOKS

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: It’s a *big* book, and the contents can be sort of a drug-washed fever dream across a traumatized kid’s coming of age misadventures and internal dialogues. I don’t know if I’d ever read it again, but I’m glad I read it. Feels very Perks of Being a Wallflower meets On The Road with a fistful of Catcher in the Rye.
  • The Winemaker by Noah Gordon: Based in 1860s Spain, this novel details a man’s return home after a bizarre and dangerous series of events derailed his life. Has some harrowing, somber moments, but the best parts are when the protagonist intricately describes his experiences growing grapes and making wine. And I don’t even really like wine.
  • The Land Breakers by John Ehle: Ehle’s novel tells the story of an 18th century North Carolina valley that slowly becomes inhabited by rugged types of the inaugural American pioneers. Kind of has that Cormac McCarthy tone and prose, and I wonder if McCarthy was inspired by The Land Breakers (it was first published in 1964).
  • The Stroke of Winter by Wendy Webb: There are many thousands, if not millions, of books online that tout themselves as comfy, cozy mysteries, but very few get the formula right. This is one that does. It doesn’t go into tangents about baking cookies or include recipes, but it does make you want to drink tea on a snowy day with your dog near a fire while you ponder a haunted room upstairs.
  • Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian: In what was a great but infuriating read, this historical fiction novel leads us through the perils, trial, and outcome of a young woman in 1660’s Massachusetts who cannot catch a damn break while men are, as you’d expect from the time period, backwards, ignorant assholes from page 1 to the back dust cover. I enjoyed it, and it had a very satisfying, justice-fueled finale.

GAMES

  • Disney Dreamlight Valley: At a suggestion from a friend I gave this a shot, thinking it looked incredibly relaxing and low-energy. And it was! It’s kind of a Disney Animal Crossing thing, and similarly to it and other “run your farm” type games, I kind of petered out after awhile and the only thing left to do is redecorate the world. Still though, it’s far more fun than it looks on the surface.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: I took my sweet, sweet time re-playing RDR2 again, and you can read all about that experience here.
  • Rocket League: After a couple years off, I’ve thrown myself back into Rocket League again, and it’s still fun as hell. There’s some mild frustrations with the inventory system (and having all this legacy junk I can’t trade or sell) but it’s been splendid.
  • Halo Infinite: I still suck at Halo, even after 20 years of playing it.
  • Vampire Survivors: Definitely my personal Game of the Year. It’s an incredibly satisfying game that combines two of my favorite things: action roguelikes and pixel graphics. It’s opened up a lot of other similar “horde” survival games that I’ve played a lot of this winter (Soulstone Survivors, 20 Minutes to Midnight, Crimsonland, Tesla Force, Boneraiser Minions, among others). It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but hopefully it keeps the subgenre fueled for years to come.

MOVIES

  • The Shining (1980): I’d seen The Shining many, many years ago, but had never read the book and barely remembered much of the movie, so this October I threw it on and was blown away. I’m not normally a Kubrick fan, but this is his best, in my opinion, perhaps countered only by Full Metal Jacket.
  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Perhaps the last movie featuring Chris Pratt where he wasn’t an obnoxious charisma hole. Saved by my new fave actor dude Joel Edgerton.
  • The Green Knight (2019): Joel Edgerton’s in it for like 15 minutes and it made the movie go from a B to an A-.
  • The Hunt For Red October: A decent, yet inferior submarine film (Crimson Tide still holds the crown).
  • Barbarian (2022): *Justin Long moaning “yeah, bitch” as he measures the square footage of a murder room*

TV

  • Weeds (2005-12): Breaking Bad, but about marijuana and featuring way more sex.
  • Friday Night Lights (2006-2011): Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Unless you’re the main kid who gets his spine broken, then you lose the use of your legs.

MUSIC

  • “Strain Your Memory” – The Menzingers
  • “Edging” – blink-182
  • “Welcome to the Internet” – Bo Burnham
  • “Until I Found You” – Stephen Sanchez
  • “Black Summer” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “Good Guy” – Goldfinger
  • “For Evigt” – Volbeat
  • “The First Single” – The Format
  • “Will You Still Love Me?” – Chicago
  • “Tastes Like Pain” – Weezer

That’s all I can really think of for now. Ready to start a new year with new entertainment and media. So long, 2022.

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