Saturday, December 17, 2005

Second Annual Ralphies

It's time for the 2nd Annual Ralphies. (Last year's Ralphies can be found here.) Feel free to join in.

Best NONFICTION BOOK I read this year: Fergus Millar, The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.—A.D. 337 (Harvard, 1993). Anyone who is interested in the New Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls, early Christianity, early Judaism, or the sociolinguistics of late antiquity should read and absorb this book.

Best FICTION BOOK of the year: This is probably the only book I read that was actually published in 2005, but it deserves the award anyway: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. My first impression can be read here.

Best MOVIE of the year: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I'm hardly objective, since I'm a big C. S. Lewis fan. But I can say this: Not only was I not disappointed, I was deeply moved.

Best CD of the year: (I'm still learning not to say "album" or "record.") Illinois, by Sufjan Stevens. Nothing else released in 2005 comes close to this extraordinary collection. Still, Chavez Ravine by Ry Cooder is worth mentioning, as is Faded Seaside Glamour by the Delays. (You don't need links, do you? Can't you find these yourselves? OK, here.)

Song of the year: "Nearer than Heaven," by the Delays. Sublime, glorious pop music. Find a sample on this page. (Update: listen to the whole thing streaming here under "Audio.")

OK? Tag! Any blogger who reads this post is It; let's hear your own lists.

UPDATE (12/19): Thanks for the comments below. Further lists have been created by Rick Brannan (see Rick, I got your name right this time) and Joe Cathey, as well as Chris Riley in the comments. (To check out Chris's excellent art and photography, see his blog.) As for Jim Davila's suggested category: I'm not sure I read a book in my field that was published in 2005, although many looked very interesting. In fact, I hope to read Jim's book before much more time elapses.

UPDATE (12/29): More lists, from Targuman and Loren at The Busybody. Super! Keep 'em coming.

UPDATE (12/31): More Ralphies from Danny Zacharias, Jim Davila, and MattDanTodd. Also, in case you thought my taste in music was idiosyncratic or perverse, check out the Best CD choice of 2005 from Pitchfork, the online arbiter of all things cool and nondweeby.

UPDATE (1/2): Last but definitely not least: Tyler Williams weighs in, complete with cool 3-D rendering of a "Ralphie" award. Awesome.


Jim Davila said...

Hey Ed,

Thanks for this. I'll try to post my list before the new year. May I suggest an additional category? What what the best scholarly book you read in your field which was published in 2005?

Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...


I posted on this on my blog. Thanks for tagging us.

Chris Riley said...

Best FICTION BOOK of the year: I don't read enough but when I do I make it count. I nominate ABARAT: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker. The world cringed and flinched when the news broke a few years that Mr. Barker had signed a four book deal with Disney. What most didn't know is that Clive had over the last 10 years jumped further into the fantastical side of fiction and strayed from horror. Oh the disfigured beast and people with fish bowls attached to their head are still there, but the stories don't focus so much on the macabe as they do human emotion and how it reacts in amazing circumstances. Anyway this man can do no wrong. He also release an art book this year. Excellent oil paintings.

Best MOVIE of the year: It was my favorite book as a child and now my favorite movie of 2005, The Lion the Witch and the Wardobe. Just the title envokes so much imagery and adventrously warm thoughts. Maybe it's because I read it as a child but this story is so dreamlike. Mr. Lewis has a way of making words so malleable that you feel as though you are watching a movie and not reading a book. The movie had the same effect. I forgot about the special effects and CG and got lost in the story all over again. The kids playing..well umm the kids, were excellent. They knew their parts and played them well. I had imagined that first scene in Narnia by the lamp post with Mr. Tumnus so many times I knew it was going to be let down, to my suprise it wasn't. Perfect. It played out just like it had in my youthful mind so many times. Thank you for not ruining my favorite story.

Best MP3 of the year: (I'm still learnin not to say CD).
OH there are so so so many. Having such a varied taste I'm all over the place with this. Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails both had new releases this year. The DM release being the better of the two. In Martin Gore style he dug deep into his sorrow and created new DM classics like "A Pain That I'm Used To", "Lilian", and "The Darkest Star". Classic Depeche Mode.
Also check these bands new releases.
1. M83
2. Boards of Canada
3. Royksopp
4. Garbage
5. Ohmega Watts
6. Infusion
7. Gorillaz
8. Descendents: Cool to be You (ok so this is a few years old but it was their first new release in a decade. These guys still kick it with songs like Talking, Nothing with You, One More Day, and Dreams.

Song of the year:
M83/C'Hantel - Run Into Flowers (U.N.K.L.E. Reprise)/The Realm (Accapella)
This song may actually be from last year but It carries through to this one. So amazing I can't describe it. Think of the feeling you get when the car heater is blowing on frozen fingers mixed with some hot coco, a blanket from grandma, and warm sunny childhood dreams. Now blend.

Unknown said...

Excellent idea! I'll be blogging on this later today, methinks :)

Targuman said...

And here is mine!

Loren Rosson III said...

Hi Ed. I finally got around to my own list here.

Alcibiades said...

Can you say more about what was so outstanding about Fergus Millar's book. What aspect of the sociolinguistics of antiquity does he discuss?