Favorites of 2016

Thinking of my fave things of 2016 from books to music to movies to meals.  I love the end of year posts that critics highlight.

My favorite books of this year were Moonglow by Michael Chabon.  He is a beautiful writer and this book gives you a glimpse into his own life thru the story of his Grandfathers life.  The Mothers by Brit Bennett is a thoughtful novel about decisions made in life.  The Fire this Time: A New Generation Speaks Out by Jesmyn Ward is a must read.  Brilliant black writers including herself capture what it means to be black today in America.  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi that follows a black family seven generations from the Gold Coast to the present.  Not sure why this did not get the accolades it deserves.  It took awhile to get into by there are many gems in Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer.  The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Marajan looks directly into terrorism from where it starts to how it changes lives.

There was a time in my life where I was always discovering music.  Somehow I have not been as active on that end probably because everyone in my family is.  Makes me the co-pilot.  Although my favorites this year were Beyonce’s Lemonade from the music to the video to the way she launched it.  Brilliant understanding of how to launch music in the day of social media.  A Seat at the Table by Solange was another high note.  Love that two top albums were from two women who once played together and are sisters.  22, A Million by Bon Iver kept me coming back.  Blonde by Frank Ocean.  He is just genius.  I listened to much more but these were my top.

As always a year of new restaurants in NYC, in LA and also during travel.  My favorite food day of the year is the full day of dumpling eating we did with Ben Leventhal in the San Gabriel area of Los Angeles.  It was epic and we plan on doing it again this year.  Faves in LA were Cassia, Night + Market and Jon & Vinnys that I plan on returning to in 2017.  Faves in NYC were Mimi, King Street, Bessou and Lilia.  Had some good trips to Minneapolis, Nashville, Miami and Paris where eating is always top of the list.

Was extremely happy to see indy films come back on the scene where the directors tend to be the writers as well.  There are still a handful I want to see but here are my faves to date.  A Man Called Ove, Moonlight, Elle, Don’t Think Twice, Manchester by the Sea, Weiner, City of Gold, the 13th and I do want to give the nod to Jackie and LaLaLand.

Seeing art is always top of my list.  Black Mountain College at the Hammer Museum was incredible.  An exhibit of the last 75 years at the Walker Museum in Minneapolis.  Seydou Keita at the Grand Palais in Paris, Kerry James Marshall at the Met Bauer Museum, Pipilotti Rist at the New Museum and Dreamlands at the Whitney.  There were also many galleries that we enjoyed including our first trip to the Nogochi Museum were the highlights.

Didn’t see enough theater but Notes from the Field was brilliant.

My all time favorite meal this year was Thanksgiving.  I always love Thanksgiving but this year in particular was a big winner.  Family, friends and lots of delicious food and wine.

Except for all the insanity of 2016 the world of culture kept me thinking in different ways.

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    Used to be pretty vigilant about keeping a Best Of spreadsheet for music each year. Haven’t done it since 2014. Have no idea why.

    1. Gotham Gal


      1. kirklove

        Maybe. For me it’s time and other priorities mixed with a dash of laziness.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Age changes priorities

          1. kirklove

            #truth kids too! damn kids!!!

          2. pointsnfigures

            Reading this as I listen to The Band….

  2. Alison Winer Dinerstein

    So glad we were able to experience MIMI together. One of my NYC faves too! That dumpling thing sounds cray!

    1. Gotham Gal

      You would have in been in heaven.

  3. awaldstein

    What I had to do to make it through the year was to get up and take a few walkabouts visiting friends. On the coast and in Europe.Without friendship and family everything is hollow.Thinking that our networks are the same as friendships and family is foolishness.I live and work on the nets.I find solace and support in those true real connections.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I am with you Andy.

  4. panterosa,

    We seem to have similar taste in the visual arts. Bummed to have missed the Black Mountain show as it relates to my current work. When in Paris this summer, I recalled you had posted some exhibits, found the post and went to Keita show with my daughter. She is lucky to have known the Pippiloti Rist work from MoMA from when she was in preschool, and so we loved the show at the New Museum, and afterwards on the street she thanked me for always insisting on going to see art and keeping her cultured. She went back to see the Rist again with a friend.We saw the Marshall yesterday and she’s now interested to read Ellison.Art in all it’s forms is sanity.

  5. denmeade

    Thank you for sharing this. Your curiosity about new & interesting things motivates me to do more, other than read, I already do a ton of that. Here are my 2016 favourites (not all published this year) http://amyd.tumblr.com/post

    1. Gotham Gal

      great list. i am reading swing time right now.

  6. AMT Editorial Staff

    So glad you highlighted your favorite books! I just cut/pasted your paragraph and sent to myself (to consider for our next round of picks for my book club), to my mom who reads about 2-3 books a week and to my literary friend whose taste baffles me! Ha!