Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of 2012

     Well it's been a banner year for my music and reading hobbies. I read 71 books this year which kind of amazes me (see what you can do when you don't watch TV?). I track my reading on the Good Reads website (Terry's Good Reads list) and I gave 5 stars to eight of the books I read in 2012, but I'd have to say that the top 3 were:
Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand) - the amazing story of a 1939 Olympic runner from California who joins the air force in WW2 but is shot down over the Pacific. Sets the record for survival in the ocean but is imprisoned in Japanese camps and undergoes tortuous treatment until the war ends. Totally captivating story.
Columbus and the Search for Jerusalem (Carol Delaney) - opened my eyes to the role of faith in Columbus' life and the motivation behind his search for a short cut to the East (wanting to raise money to restore Jerusalem and hasten the return of Christ). Well-researched but so very readable.
What Good is God? (Philip Yancey) - have always appreciated Yancey's writings though I think I kinda tired of them over the years, but this was fantastic. He bases his ideas on places he has visited around the world where he has been invited to speak. Wonderful insights and some amazing stories.
     Musically I worked through my listening list (in 2011 I compiled a list of all of the albums I own - about 1200 or so) and again was surprised that I had gone through over 500 albums when I added them all up. I do find some time to listen to new releases as well, although I'm a lot more selective. The 3 2012 albums that I listened to the most (and enjoyed the most obviously) were:
Fly from Here by Yes
Babel by Mumford and Sons
Birds of Relocation by Eric Peters
     I attended a fair bit of live music this past year and there's absolutely no way I could decide on a top three. Any of these concerts would qualify:
Noel Paul Stookey in St. Petersburg, Florida in February
Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo in Toronto in March
A whirlwind April weekend with Bruce Cockburn (Friday) and Josh Garrels (Saturday) in Grand Rapids, Michigan and The Choir (Sunday) in Detroit.
Tommy Emmanuel in Toronto
Yes at Casino Rama in July
Rend Collective Experiment in Leawood, Kansas (part of an excellent worship conference)
Don Ross at Harbourfront in August (including a Q & A workshop)
Don Harron/Charlie Farquharson at City Hall in September (this guy's truly a national treasure, and yes I got his autograph)
Gungor in Canton, Michigan in October (this might qualify as concert of the year)
Kevin Ramessar band (including Mike Janzen) at the Registry Theatre in town in November
Steve Bell Trio in Cambridge in December
Sufjan Stevens Christmas Extravaganza in Buffalo (runner up for best of the year)
     Looking back at this stuff is nice. It's been a great year. However a book I read recently is making me reflect on changing my reading habits, so I doubt I'll ever surpass this year's total. I look forward to completing my listening list in 2013. 400 albums to go should be attainable looking at last year's total - BTW those 500 albums only went until November, then I listened to 50 Christmas albums in December (yeah, I'm crazy!)

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