Monday, December 31, 2012

Fifty-Fifty Shades of Hooray

This week reminded me of finals week; rather, my nightmares from the past week reminded me of those stress-and-exams-filled periods of my school years. I experienced two jolted-from-my-slumber moments of hyperventilation, the first being that I had forgotten to adequately prepare for my chemistry and Spanish exams. ¡Dios mío! The cause of such panic? Without a doubt—knowing that I had to cram in three books and ten movies during the final month of the yearlong FiftyFifty.me project.

I’m happy to report that I’ve emerged no worse for the night-terror. I crossed the finish line having made it through book number 50 last night and movie number 50 right before a New Year’s Eve dinner date. And so there’s much to celebrate: the ringing in of a new year, completing a yearlong goal, and being part of a community of dedicated readers and movie watchers.

Many thanks to Jon Yang and Lilly G. for the idea and sharing the challenge with all of us, congratulations to my mother-in-law for completing the task early in December, kudos to my daughter for being the youngest participant in the project (and who came pretty darn close to reaching the goal), and let’s-do-this-again-in-2013 wishes to my wife and sister-in-law.

Here’s the list of books and movies I completed in 2012. (I’ve bolded my favorites/recommendations.) 


1. SuperFreakonomics (Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner)
2. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales)
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns (Mindy Kaling)
4. Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture (Peggy Orenstein)
5. The Geneva Connection (Martin Bodenham)
6. Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son (Tom Fields-Meyer)
7. How We Decide (Jonah Lehrer)
8. The Glamour of Grammar (Roy Peter Clark)
9. The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and Friendship (Jeffrey Zaslow)
10. The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball (Gene Wojciechowski)
11. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls (Rachel Simmons)
12. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food (Jennifer 8 Lee)
13. Take the Cannoli (Sarah Vowell)
14. Some Assembly Required (Anne Lamott)
15. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Jamie Ford)
16. Proust Was a Neuroscientist (Jonah Lehrer)
17. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail (Cheryl Strayed)
18. The Last American Man (Elizabeth Gilbert)
19. The Lover's Dictionary (David Levithan)
20. Cool, Calm & Contentious (Merrill Markoe)
21. The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband (David Finch)
22. A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)
23. Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball (R.A. Dickey)
24. Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-Five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer (Gwendolyn Oxenham)
25. The Pun Also Rises (John Pollack)
26. Soccer Men (Simon Kuper)
27. People Who Eat Darkness (Richard Lloyd Parry)
28. I Know I Am, But What Are You? (Samantha Bee)
29. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)
30. In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan)
31. You Are Here (Thich Nhat Hanh)
32. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed)
33. Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection (A.J. Jacobs)
34. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)
35. What's the Matter with Kansas? (Thomas Frank)
36. The Devotion of Suspect X (Keigo Higashino)
37. Dream New Dream (Jai Pausch)
38. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (Anna Quindlen)
39. Dark Place (Gillian Flynn)
40. Sharp Objects: A Novel (Gillian Flynn)
41. What the Dog Saw (Malcolm Gladwell)
42. Blasphemy (Sherman Alexie)
43. When You're Engulfed in Flames (David Sedaris)
44. Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage (Elizabeth Gilbert)
45. Salvation of a Saint (Keigo Higashino)
46. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Jane McGonigal)
47. Lizz Free or Die: Essays (Lizz Winstead)
48. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)
49. Radio On: A Listener's Diary (Sarah Vowell)
50. Let's Pretend This Never Happened (Jenny Lawson)


1. Step Brothers
2. The Best and the Brightest
3. Winged Migration
4. Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
5. 50/50
6. Tree of Life
7. Date Night
8. Once Brothers
9. Last Night
10. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
11. Trust
12. Revenge of the Electric Car
13. Rabbit Hole
14. The Descendants
15. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
16. The Vow
17. Like Crazy
18. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
19. La Delicatesse
20. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
21. The Artist
22. 21 Jump Street
23. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
24. Pelada
25. Moonrise Kingdom
26. Submarine
27. Friends with Kids
28. Hugo
29. 127 Hours
30. Sound of Noise
31. Helvetica
32. Source Code
33. Puss in Boots
34. The Five-Year Engagement
35. Take This Waltz
36. Ruby Sparks
37. Safety Not Guaranteed
38. Life of Pi
39. The Ides of March
40. Pan's Labyrinth
41. Your Sister's Sister
42. First Position
43. That Damn United
44. Sleepwalk with Me
45. Step Up Revolution
46. The Secret World of Arrietty
47. Rise of the Guardians
48. Pride & Prejudice
49. Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
50. Today's Special

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