Best of 2011

Stepping into 2012 and looking back, here is a summary of the best books/movies/TV-series I consumed in 2011. (These media were not necessarily published/released in the year.) An item appears in this list if it has remained especially memorable or useful to me or led to lots of intelligent discussion in this year. I hate Best-of lists which have a gargantuan 50 or 100 items. So, I have kept these lists as small as possible, while not restricting myself artificially to a certain number.

Best Books of 2011

A ho-hum year in books. I read only 13 books and could not make enough time to read as much as I wanted to.

Peking Diary: This is yet another gem from amongst the rare books I got from a retired professor who returned for good to her ancestral home in China. This book gives a first-hand experience of living in China during the revolutionary year of its formation.

Silas Marner: I read this book again after many years. It remains a purifying, almost spiritual experience.

Inside the Machine: A great introduction to microprocessors and computer architecture. The book was an epitome of good analogies, intuitive explanations, historical narratives and superb back-of-the-napkin illustrations. Such books give a fuller picture to the reader and make the knowledge recollectable and shareable. In the future, I will be on the lookout for such technology/science books.

Weight Training for Dummies: There are thousands of exercises you can perform using hundreds of kinds of machines and equipments in gyms. All of this used to be truly intimidating to me, even after using gyms regularly for 2 years! But after reading this book, I know which parts of my body to exercise, I can create my own workout routines and I can do this either with the diverse equipment at a gym or using just the floor at home. This book is the red pill to show you the world of exercises! 😉

Best Movies of 2011

A pathetic year in movies, I sat through a lot of mediocre once-watchable movies.

Eradu Kanasu: This is a classic Kannada romantic drama. They don’t make ’em like this anymore!

Heartbreaker: This French comedy-drama is a thrill ride! We liked it so much, we watched it again after.

Best TV Series of 2011

I had an unbelievably fantastic time with TV series this year.

The Wire (Seasons 1-5): If I had to pick only one item for the year, this would be it. I have spent a prodigious amount of my life watching American TV series and movies. But, The Wire is Americana quite like nothing I have seen before. This is the finest TV series I have ever (yes, e-v-e-r) seen!

Jeeves and Wooster (Series 1-4): Two powerhouse British TV actors (Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry) in their prime enacting one of the most enduring and rib-tickling works of British fiction (works of P. G. Wodehouse). Need I say more?

Game of Thrones (Season 1): Lush, gorgeous, scary and truly a world in itself. I cannot wait for Season 2!

Frasier (Seasons 1-11): Much like the wine Frasier is always tasting, this is a fine mature comedy, which I was finally able to appreciate.

I hope I will be able to read more good books and have better luck with movies in 2012. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Best of 2011

  1. Haas 2012-01-02 / 00:25

    Absolutely love the conciseness of the list 🙂 Will put those two movies in the must watch list 🙂 The Wire came highly recommended from so many sources this year that I will be giving it a shot soon.

    • Ashwin Nanjappa 2012-01-02 / 07:55

      Haas: I had to force myself to 2 episodes before I finally started to “see” the awesomeness of The Wire. It is so unlike regular TV series in its presentation that it requires a bit of effort in the beginning from the viewer. So, do not give up until you have finished a couple of episodes. Also, I highly recommend you watch it from a source which has subtitles, this is a must to understand it.

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