Best Media of the Year: 2016 Edition

Well, another year is in the record books, and like last year, I faithfully logged everything I read or watched over the course of the year. (For reference, here’s last year’s post.) How did I do this year?


Last year I read 16,401 pages. That was 38 books total. This year I only read 14,137. Though it was still 38 books, so I guess they were just shorter? I was sad that it wasn’t as many as last year though from a page count perspective, and so this year I’ve set a new goal: 52 books. One a week. It’ll be challenging for me to find the time, but that’s what goals are all about, right?

Of the books I read, the new ones I gave a 5/5 rating to were:

  • The Way of Shadows, and Shadow’s Edge, by Brent Weeks. The third book in the trilogy only got a 4. But I really enjoyed them as a whole. I’m a fan of Brent Weeks. Epic fantasy fun.
  • Bands of Mourning, and Mistborn Secret History, by Brandon Sanderson. Not just because the guy’s a friend. I’m a big fan, and it’s been fun to see what he’s been up to with the Mistborn series.
  • Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir. Interestingly, I really liked the book, but didn’t read on in the series. I just bought the sequel over winter break, though, so I plan to rectify that. Sword and sandal YA fantasy. Great stuff.
  • The Mormon Missionary, by Rob Lively. Read my full review here.
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. Just a fun read. Very quick for me too. Set in the present day, with a mystical bookstore and a cool code that needs cracking.
  • Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. Middle grade non-fantasy, and I still loved it. The story about a disfigured boy trying to figure out his way through middle school.
  • Pirate Hunters, by Robert Kurson. Non-fiction book about a modern day quest to find a sunken pirate ship. Great book.
  • Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. Non-fiction book about the 1894 World’s Fair in Chicago, and America’s first serial killer. Strange combination, but it works for so many reasons.
  • The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. Read the full review here.

So I only had 5 books that I gave 5/5 to last year, and this year I gave that rating to 11. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age?


Last year I watched 148 movies. 16,477 minutes’ worth. This year? Only 91 movies. 10,379 minutes. I’m not sure what happened to me. Maybe I’ll find I watched a ton more TV? In any case, the new movies I watched that I gave a 5/5 rating to were:

  • What We Do in the Shadows. Hilarious vampire mockumentary. Very bloody, but so so funny.
  • Inside Out. I’m assuming you’ve heard of it. Interestingly, it shared a number of similarities with my book, The Memory Thief.
  • Silver Linings Playbook. Drama. Eagles fans. Dancing. You wouldn’t think I’d love this movie. You’d be wrong.
  • Zootopia. I loved how they brought the concept to life. A fully realized world for animals. And a buddy cop movie. Go figure.
  • She Loves Me. This was the live broadcast of the Broadway musical. Really fun to see it from home.
  • In the Heart of the Sea. It worked for me. Just a classic adventure movie. Tapped into some childhood nostalgia, I think.
  • Concussion. Watch this and then go watch some football, and try to see if you can still enjoy it the same way. Very thought provoking for a football fan.
  • The Peanuts Movie. So, so good. So well done. I was blown away by how well they nailed this.
  • An Honest Liar. A documentary about a stage magician who exposes frauds, and then it turns into something more. Very interesting.
  • The Big Short. All about how the housing crisis turned our nation upside down. Enlightening and entertaining.
  • The Jungle Book. The live action version. Impressive, and its ending saved it.
  • Rogue One. Quite probably my favorite Star Wars movie.

So wait a minute. Last year I gave out only four 5/5 ratings, and this year I gave 12? That’s it. I’ve definitely gotten softer. And I didn’t even hand out *any* 0/5 ratings. I’m going to have to step up my game this year. Ugh.


Last year I watched 476 episodes. 20,822 minutes. This year? 454 episodes. 20,598 minutes. So pretty much spot on, which means last year I read less and watched fewer movies, but stayed constant on TV. I’m not sure where the movie watching went. I think it’s because last year I was watching movies when I exercised, and this year I watched mainly Magic: The Gathering drafts. (And I keep tabs on how I do in MtG drafts as well. I got worse last year by a bit. So all that watching did me no good. I think I’m going to have to switch back to movies mainly.)

New-to-me TV seasons that got a 5/5 from me at some point in the season:

  • Downton Abbey Season Six
  • Amazing Race Seasons Twenty-One, Twenty-Four, and Twenty-Five
  • Cheers Season Three
  • Daredevil Season Two
  • Person of Interest Seasons One, Two, and Five
  • Game of Thrones Season Six
  • Star Wars Rebels Season Two
  • Great British Baking Show Season Three
  • Clone Wars Season Two
  • Agents of SHIELD Season Three
  • Stranger Things Season One
  • Studio C Season Six
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Season One
  • WestWorld Season One
  • Band of Brothers Season One
  • Cutthroat Kitchen (the Judges episode. Go figure.)
  • The Pacific Season One
  • The Crown Season One

14 seasons that got 5/5 from me last year. This year I gave it to 22. In hindsight, I think this is because I shifted from giving shows and books and movies a rating out of 10 over to a rating out of 5. I don’t like the end result, so I’m switching back to rating things out of 10 again. We’ll see if that helps me get some of my taste back. Sigh.

Anyway. There you have it. A whole year’s worth of media. It should give you an idea of what I really like, at least. We’ll see what this next year brings. Hopefully more movies and books . . .

Thanks for reading!

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