Here are some of my favorites things of this past year:
Django Unchained – A blaxploitation spaghetti western taking place during slavery, 2 years before the Civil War. HANDS DOWN the best movie of the year!!! A bit controversial. I won’t say much because I’m currently writing a longer review/sub-textual criticism of this movie, but all I have to say is … There’s Quentin Tarantino, and then there’s everybody else.
These aren’t books that were necessarily released last year, but they are quite recent and I had to opportunity to read them in 2012.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking– Blink by Malcolm Gladwell is a great book with an interesting perspective on how the mind works. The author explains research on how we make split second decisions in response to what we see and it is very thought-provoking. He has a journalistic style that is nice and reviews academic search in a way that is easy to follow.
There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra (by Chinua Achebe) – I’ve always been a huge fan of Chinua Achebe since his legendary novel and one of my all time favorites “Things Fall Apart“. With him being one of the most preeminent voices in African literature, I’ve always looked forward to reading his work. It is a first-hand eye witness account of the Biafran war where Achebe raises the thorny issues of corruption, mediocrity, political ineptitude, genocide and ethnic hatred. Highly recommended for those interested in African history. Read it and weep for innocence and humanity!
NW by Zadie Smith – Zadie is an up and coming great writer who is slowly establishing herself as a juggernaut in the literary world. This book is a poetic and passionate tale that spins multiple siblings story lines together with great detail. I’m slowly becoming a fan of hers.
On Purpose by Purpose – This is actually an album by one of my homies and it has become a favorite of mine. It is Purpose’s debut mixtape and it captures the essence of why we were all sent here on earth. The production is amazing, subject matter of each song is solid, the overall theme is biblically sound and Purpose’s flow is steady and impressively versatile. Highly recommended and watch out for more from Purpose.
Undun by The Roots – Although this album was released in December 2011, many people found out about it in early 2012 due to it grassroots release. The Roots offer an exceptional concept album that narrates the story of a hustler in reverse, from death to birth. Intelligently written and composed. To all those who think that hip-hop is neither melodic nor creative, Undun shows otherwise.
FAVORITE TV SHOW
BOSS (starz) – This is a new series that I stumbled upon online and I can’t believe how it is unjustly unknown by many. Yet it is one of the best dramas across the Atlantic. It revolves around the Mayor of Chicago, Tom Kane, brilliantly portrayed by Kelsey Grammer, who is diagnosed with a mental illness but manages to keep it from his constituents and is constantly faced with crisis and scandals. This series mounts in intensity episodes after episodes and the actors are very convincing, the characters are interesting, and in the image of Mayor Kane, this series is marked by a majestic and deep cynicism. A breathtaking series. One of the best of the year! a must see!
FAVORITE PERSON OF THE YEAR
Felix Baumgartner – Austrian skydiver and jumper is the first man to break the sound barrier in free fall on October 14, 2012. After five years of preparation, This aerial “daredevil” jumped from out of space, from 39 000 meters high, eventually reaching a speed of 1 341.9 km / h, or 1.24 times the speed of sound. During the fall, which lasted 4 minutes 20 seconds, the parachute broke two records: the highest altitude reached by a man in a balloon, and the highest skydive, a record that stood since 1960. An achievement of this magnitude does not happen overnight. Felix Baumgartner did not wake up one morning and say “today I will break the sound barrier.” He and his team have been working for 5 years to achieve this goal. Before his historic leap, he had already made two jumps to prepare for this. Some see in this event a well orchestrated marketing operation by Red Bull, which it is certainly, but I chose him as my favorite person of the year because in this i see 1) The passion of a man and the realisation of his dream, and 2)The fact that behind every great achievement, there is an incredible amount of sacrifice, preparation, commitment, hard work and courage.