I already made a post about the best books I read this year, but I’ll be brief here: the best non-fiction I read this year was David Goldblatt’s The Ball Is Round and the best fiction I read this year was Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine. But I spent the most time with Pablo Alabarces’ non-fiction (a body of work in the sociology of soccer that is in large part the basis of my senior thesis) and with Jorge Luis Borges’ fiction (the subject of a course I took at NYU Buenos Aires this semester).
Best movies watched for the first time
Ida (2013): I discussed this movie here after seeing it on Avenida Corrientes in August. But I cannot stress how important this movie is, both in general and to me. “Their attitude toward memory is one I have always instinctively shared: it just seeks acknowledgment. It seeks repatriation of bones.”
Relatos salvajes (2014): This movie was dark and funny and pent up with the kind of wild frustration you don’t recognize as Argentine until you live alongside it. Wonderful, horrible, sunny, strange.
Nueve reinas (2000) and El aura (2005): I watched Fabián Bielinsky’s two films for my Argentine cinema class. I compared their manipulations of the policial (crime) genre for my final paper, which I genuinely enjoyed writing. (I dig neo-noir.) They’re special to me not just because they’re fantastic movies, or because they’re little pieces of the country I’m getting to know and love so well, but because they represent the huge effort that I’ve put into studying outside my comfort zone this year. Movies are something I’ve long admired and enjoyed but never really given proper attention to as an art form. That class was one way of giving that a go, and I learned a lot from it. Just listening to my brilliant classmates (and the cinephiles among my friends) has been instructive, and it is slowly changing the way I see things. (Next up: Fotografía y literatura en América Latina, which is going to be difficult as hell and will definitely make me overthink every photograph I see for a few months. Get ready!)
In the Mood for Love (2000): A visually stunning love story that’s hard not to fall in love with.
Movies that were quality, but not favorites: Gone Girl (2014), Che parts one and two (2008), La vida loca (2008), Des hommes et des dieux (2010), The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003), Rosetta (1999)
Movies that were favorites, but not quality: Annie (2014), Camila (1984)
Fall Out Boy at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland
Giselle at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hamlet (Globe on Tour) at Teatro San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Waiting for Godot (feat. Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen!) at the Cort Theater, New York, New York
Les Misérables (feat. Ramin Karimloo!) at the Imperial Theatre, New York, New York
The Glass Menagerie at the Booth Theater, New York, New York
Coppélia at the New York City Ballet, New York, New York
“El círculo caminaba tranquilo,” Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina
“Degenerate Art,” Neue Galerie, New York, New York
“Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea,” National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
Best posts or articles by other people
“The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie” by John Jeremiah Sullivan at The New York Times
“Does Your Church Like Gay People?” by Wesley Hill at Spiritual Friendship
“The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic
“Bonfire of the Inanities” by Jacqui Shine at The Awl
“The Dream-Time of the World Cup” by Supriya Nair at Roads & Kingdoms
“Sixty-Nine Days” by Héctor Tobar at The New Yorker
“Xavi Hernández, the football romantic” by Sid Lowe at The Guardian
Best posts or articles by me
It was definitely my breakout year. I can’t wait to hit the ground running next year…I’ve been jotting down ideas all exam season!
“Off the Literary Reservation,” The American Conservative
“Why World Cup Culture Wars Vindicate American Soccer,” The American Conservative
“Christina Rossetti’s Lenten Life,” First Things
“The Fashioned Self,” First Things