Author Archives: beckchris

My Year in Books – 2022

In 2022, I continued to go through my Greatest Works of Literature list, a project I began back in 2011.  I’m now up to the mid-19th Century.  A big part of the year was spent reading four of the six books in the Barsetshire Chronicles, by Anthony Trollope. I had never read anything of his before, and he is now one of my favorite 19th Century authors. I occasionally detoured to the 21st Century to read books on nature and art, and one recent novel.  I was excited to read the book Loving Orphaned Space by my college friend Mrill Ingram (see my review HERE).

Here are the 21 books I finished in 2022, in order of publication date, with my 1-5 star rating.  Thanks to Goodreads for providing a space to keep track of my reading.

  1. The Betrothed – Alessandro Manzoni (1827) (4/5)
  2. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo (1831) (4/5)
  3. Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse – Alexander Pushkin (1833) (4/5)
  4. Père Goriot – Honoré de Balzac (1835) (5/5)
  5. The Charterhouse of Parma – Stendhal (1839) (4/5)
  6. Democracy in America – Alexis de Tocqueville (1835, 1840) (5/5)
  7. Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol (1842) (4/5)
  8. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket – Edgar Allan Poe (1844) (4/5)
  9. Walden – Henry David Thoreau (1849) (5/5)
  10. The Prelude – William Wordsworth (1850) (5/5)
  11. The Warden – Anthony Trollope (1855) (4/5)
  12. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert (1856) (4/5)
  13. Barchester Towers – Anthony Trollope (1857) (4/5)
  14. The Origin of Species – Charles Darwin (1859) (5/5)
  15. The Small House at Allington – Anthony Trollope (1864) (4/5)
  16. The Last Chronicle of Barset – Anthony Trollope (1867) (5/5)
  17. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting – Syd Field (1979) (4/5)
  18. What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World – Jon Young (2012) (4/5)
  19. The Hidden Life of Trees – Peter Wohlleben (2015) (4/5)
  20. Utopia Avenue – David Mitchell (2020) (3/5)
  21. Loving Orphaned Space: The Art and Science of Belonging to Earth – Mrill Ingram (2022) (5/5)

The Best of 2022: The End-of-Year Lists

I have compiled meta-lists of the best movies, TV shows, music, and books of 2022 by combining multiple end-of-year lists published in magazines, newspapers, and websites.  These lists provide a critical consensus of the year’s best.

Here are links to the lists:

Best Films of 2022
Best TV Shows of 2022
Best Music of 2022
Best Books of 2022

As a sneak preview, here are the most-listed items in each category:

Film: Aftersun
TV: Better Call Saul
Music: (tie): BeyoncéRenaissance and RosalíaMotomami 
Book: The Candy House. By Jennifer Egan

The Art of the Metaverse: Updating the Visual Arts Meta-Lists

I’ve updated the visual arts meta-lists by adding lists of best works of art from four additional art books.  This brings the total number of original source lists to over 34. The books are:

Jo Marceau & Ray Rogers, eds., Art: A World History (1998)
Phaidon Publishing, Art in Time: A World History of Styles and Movements (2014)
Phaidon Publishing, The Art Book (revised edition, 2020)
Robert Cumming, Art: A Visual History (2020).

The result of adding these four new lists is that many of the artworks have moved up or down in the rankings, and several dozen new artworks are now on three or more original source lists. Here are the updated lists:

Best Works of Art of All Time – Ranked: Part 1 (artworks on 6 or more original source lists)
Best Works of Art of All Time – Ranked: Part 2 (artworks on 4 or 5 original source lists)
Best Works of Art of All Time – Ranked: Part 3 (artworks on 3 original source lists)

And for those who prefer their art in chronological order:

Art History 101 – Part 1: Prehistoric Era – 399 CE
Art History 101 – Part 2: 400 CE – 1399 CE
Art History 101 – Part 3: 1400-1499
Art History 101 – Part 4: 1500-1599
Art History 101 – Part 5: 1600-1799
Art History 101 – Part 6: 1800-1899
Art History 101 – Part 7: 1900-Present

Some statistics about the meta-list:  There are nearly 700 separate entries, and many more artworks because some entries include a series of works.  There are 54 artists with three or more works of art on the list:

Artists with THREE works of art on the meta-list
Praxiteles (Greece, 4th Century BCE)
Antonello da Messina (Italy, 1430-1479)
Andrea Mantegna (Italy, 1431-1506)
Sandro Botticelli (Italy, 1445-1510)
Tintoretto (Italy, 1518-1594)
Frans Hals (Netherlands, 1582-1666)
Antoine Watteau (France, 1684-1721)
Jacques-Louis David (France, 1748-1825)
Caspar David Friedrich (Germany, 1774-1840)
Théodore Géricault (France, 1791-1824)
Eugène Delacroix (France, 1798-1863)
Gustave Courbet (France, 1819-1877)
Edgar Degas (France, 1834-1917)
Marcel Duchamp (France, 1887-1968)
Salvador Dali (Spain, 1904-1989)
Francis Bacon (Ireland, 1919-1992)
Jasper Johns (US, 1930- )

Artists with FOUR works of art on the meta-list
Fra Angelico (Italy, c. 1395-1455)
Paolo Uccello (Italy, 1397-1475)
Giorgione (Italy, 1473-1474/1477-1478-1510)
Hans Holbein the Younger (Germany, 1497-1543)
Nicolas Poussin (France, 1594-1665)
J.M.W. Turner (UK, 1775-1851)
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (France, 1780-1867)
Édouard Manet (France, 1832-1883)
Auguste Rodin (France, 1840-1917)
Paul Gauguin (France, 1848-1903)
Gustav Klimt (Austria, 1862-1918)
Umberto Boccioni (Italy, 1882-1916)

Artists with FIVE works of art on the meta-list
Jan van Eyck (Belgium, 1380/1390-1441)
Donatello (Italy, 1386-1466)
Giovanni Bellini (Italy, 1430-1516)
El Greco (Greece, 1541-1614)
Caravaggio (Italy, 1571-1610)
Diego Velázquez (Spain, 1599-1660)
Johannes Vermeer (Netherlands, 1632-1675)
Paul Cézanne (France, 1839-1906)
Claude Monet (France, 1840-1926)
Georges Seurat (France, 1859-1891)
Henri Matisse (France, 1869-1954)
Jackson Pollock (US, 1912-1956)

Artists with SIX works of art on the meta-list
Piero della Francesca (Italy, 1415-1492)
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italy, 1598-1680)
Francisco Goya (Spain, 1746-1828)

Artists with SEVEN works of art on the meta-list
Albrecht Dürer (Germany, 1471-1528)
Michelangelo (Italy, 1475-1564)
Raphael (Italy, 1483-1520)
Peter Paul Rubens (Belgium, 1577-1640)
Pablo Picasso (Spain, 1881-1973)

Artists with EIGHT works of art on the meta-list
Leonardo da Vinci (Italy, 1452-1519)
Vincent van Gogh (Netherlands, 1853-1890)

Artists with NINE works of art on the meta-list
Titian (Italy, 1488/1490-1576)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlands, c. 1525/1530-1569)
Rembrandt (Netherlands, 1606-1669)

I know what you’re thinking.  All those men… – where are the women?  Here are the 12 women artists on the meta-list. Each has one work of art on the list.

  1. Artemisia Gentileschi (Italy, 1593-1656)
  2. Berthe Morisot (France, 1841-1895)
  3. Mary Cassatt (US, 1844-1926)
  4. Käthe Kollwitz (Germany, 1867-1945)
  5. Hannah Höch (Germany, 1889-1978)
  6. Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907-1954)
  7. Meret Oppenheim (Germany, 1913-1985)
  8. Helen Frankenthaler (US, 1928-2011)
  9. Bridget Riley (UK, 1931- )
  10. Eva Hesse (Germany, 1936-1970)
  11. Judy Chicago (US, 1939- )
  12. Cindy Sherman (US, 1954- )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Posts About Buildings

I’ve created a photographic tour of the architecture of Boston, Cambridge and various other places in Eastern Massachusetts.  You can find it HERE.  The buildings are listed in chronological order and I’ve tried to find information about the style, the architect, and renovations, additions, and updates.  What I’ve discovered through my research is that a building rarely stays the same for its entire existence – later owners add, subtract, change the style and renovate, rehabilitate, and restore over time.

The photos are mine and were taken with an iPhone 13 Plus.  I tried to get interior shots when I could, but this was not always an option.

Your favorite building not on the list?  Write to me in the comments, and I’ll go take a look at it!  Maybe it will make an updated version of this site.

The Movie Quote Game – Part 1

Identify the movie for each quote:

Hints:
(1) Oldest film: 1933.  Most recent film: 1998
(2) Four movies have two quotes each.
(3) One quote is from a short animated film.
(4) Two quotes are from foreign language films.

Give your answers in the comments!

  1. “I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here.”
  2. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
  3. “Were they all done for your mother’s benefit?”/”No. No, I would not say ‘benefit.’”
  4. “Oh, you are sick!”
  5. “I gave her my love – she gave me a pen.”
  6. “I’m a little short on cash, but if you don’t mind just appetizers I’d love to take you to dinner sometime.”
  7. “He has his father’s eyes.”
  8. “I just went gay all of a sudden!”
  9. “Made it ma – top o’ the world!”
  10. “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”
  11. “Where are your hands?”/“Between two pillows.”
  12. “We all have it coming, kid.”
  13. “I wanna be Black…”
  14. “Greet the morning with a breath of fire…”
  15. “Asa nisi masa.”
  16. “No, you’re Don Francisco’s sister.”
  17. “Don’t drive angry.”
  18. “There’s no deceit in the cauliflower.”
  19. “Remember the night we broke the windows in this old house? This is what I wished for.”
  20. “You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.”
  21. “D-d-d-d-demon!”
  22. “Twas beauty killed the beast.”
  23. “You’re lit from within, Tracy. You’ve got fires banked down in you, hearth-fires and holocausts.”
  24. “I am big – it was the pictures that got small.”
  25. “We rob banks.”
  26. “I should ask the man whether he was a tree-frog.”
  27. “Mein Führer! I can walk!”
  28. “My complication had a little complication.”
  29. “Don’t be a luddy-duddy! Don’t be a mooncalf! Don’t be a jabbernowl!”
  30. “It’s like no cheese I’ve ever tasted.”
  31. “We felt that the institution no longer had anything to offer us.”
  32. “A boy’s best friend is his mother.”
  33. “How much do you need?”
  34. “It’s the end of the world…”
  35. “Stop being taller than me.”
  36. “You know, I’m a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump.”
  37. “Ethne – your feather.”
  38. “It’s showtime!”
  39. “I am not an animal. I am a human being!”
  40. “You want me to hold the chicken?”/“I want you to hold it between your knees.”
  41. “What have the Romans ever done for us?”
  42. “Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”
  43. “Plastics.”
  44. “Well of course we talk – don’t ev’rybody?”
  45. “He was some kind of a man.”
  46. “Match me, Sidney.”
  47. “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”
  48. “That rug really tied the room together.”
  49. “He can’t be a floozie. You’re a floozie.”
  50. “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.”

My Top 150 Albums – The Last.Fm List

In 2008, I joined last.fm, a music website (and app) that keeps track of the music I listen to on my computer and my smartphone (excluding Youtube videos), and also makes recommendations based on my listening habits.  Below are the top 150 albums I’ve listened to between 2008 and today (2/6/2022), based on last.fm‘s calculations.  I’ve listed the albums in order of frequency and have included a genre description (usually borrowed from Wikipedia).

After classical music (26 out of 150 albums), the genre I listen to the most is “indie rock” (20 albums). This term originated as a way to identify artists whose music was released by independent record labels, although it has now expanded to describe a brand of alternative rock music.  I’m not sure how alternative rock and indie rock differ.  If someone wants to explain in the comments, that would be great.  (For example, does an “indie rock” band stop being “indie rock” if it is signed to a major record label, even if the style of music they play remains basically the same?)

I also listen to music that is categorized as “indie pop” (eight albums) and “indie folk” (six albums) (including some overlap with “indie rock”).  Once again, I’m not sure I understand how the nature of the company distributing the music tells us anything about the music itself, other than to say that it differs (but how?) from mainstream rock, pop, and folk music.  Other big categories are jazz (18 albums), alternative rock (15 albums), blues (13 albums), and rhythm & blues (R&B) (13 albums).  The artists with the most albums on  the list are The New Pornographers and Aimee Mann, with five albums each.

Some caveats:
(1) These are not necessarily my favorite albums.  They are the albums I’ve listened to the most. Many of my favorite artists are not represented on this list.
(2) This is all music that I personally own – I don’t use Spotify, Pandora or other streaming services.
(3) I rarely listen to an entire album at once, so these ratings mean that I have listened to tracks from the album, not necessarily the entire album.
(4) I often listen to my music in “shuffle” mode. This means that albums with more tracks are more likely to be played, which biases the list in favor of the albums with the most tracks.  This also means that there is a bias in favor of albums with shorter tracks and against albums with longer ones.
(5) This list does not take into account CDs that I have played on my CD players at home and in my car.

  1. Antisocialites (2017) – Alvvays [indie pop]
  2. Challengers (2007) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  3. Memorial Collection (rec. 1955-1959) – Buddy Holly [rock & roll]
  4. Shostakovich: The String Quartets (2000) – Emerson String Quartet [classical]
  5. Debussy: Images, Etudes (2000) – Jean-Yves Thibaudet [classical]
  6. Complete Decca Recordings (rec. 1937-1939) – Count Basie [jazz]
  7. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (1962) – Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus/Otto Klemperer [classical]
  8. Together (2010) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  9. The Man and His Music (rec. 1956-1964) – Sam Cooke [soul/R&B]
  10. Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (2006) – Tom Waits [experimental/rock/jazz/blues]
  11. Art Angels (2015) – Grimes [dream pop/electronic]
  12. Chopin: 24 Preludes, Piano Sonata #2 (2000) – Evgeny Kissin [classical]
  13. Whiteout Conditions (2017) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  14. The Singles (rec. 1969-1993) – David Bowie [art rock/pop]
  15. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2014) – Courtney Barnett [indie rock]
  16. Lost in Space (2002) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  17. The Guitar Song (2009) – Jamey Johnson [country]
  18. Couperin: Les Nations (1965) – Quadro Amsterdam [classical]
  19. Alvvays (2013) – Alvvays [indie pop]
  20. No Direction Home: Bootleg Series Volume 7 (rec. 1959-1966) – Bob Dylan [folk/folk rock]
  21. New Moon (2007) – Elliott Smith [indie folk/lo-fi]
  22. Ligeti: Works for Piano (1997) – Pierre-Laurent Aimard [classical]
  23. The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson (rec. 1954-1964) – Sonny Boy Williamson [blues]
  24. Twin Cinema (2005) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  25. Bach: Mass in B minor (1977) – Bach-Collegium Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling [classical]
  26. Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice (French version by Hector Berlioz) (1996) – San Francisco Opera/Donald Runnicles [classical]
  27. The Suburbs (2010) – Arcade Fire [indie rock]
  28. The Early Years (rec. 1940-1947) – Bill Monroe [country/bluegrass]
  29. Britten: Peter Grimes (1978) – Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Colin Davis [classical]
  30. The Blanton-Webster Band (rec. 1942-1944) – Duke Ellington [jazz]
  31. Visions (2012) – Grimes [dream pop/electronic]
  32. West Side Story (1957) – Original Broadway Cast [classical/show tunes]
  33. The Great Twenty-Eight (rec. 1955-1964) – Chuck Berry [rock & roll]
  34. Cross Country Tour (rec. 1958-1961) – Ahmad Jamal Trio [jazz]
  35. Imperial Bedroom (1982) – Elvis Costello & the Attractions [new wave/power pop]
  36. It’s Blitz! (2009) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs [synth-punk/alternative pop]
  37. The Ultimate Collection (rec. 1959-1970) – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles [soul/R&B]
  38. Mozart: The Ten Celebrated String Quartets (1997) – The Franz Schubert Quartet [classical]
  39. Rameau: Castor et Pollux (1994) – English Bach Festival Baroque Orchestra/Charles Farncombe [classical]
  40. Piano Solos: Turn On The Heat (rec. 1927-1941) – Fats Waller [jazz]
  41. The Complete Aladdin Sessions (rec. 1942-1948) – Lester Young [jazz]
  42. Bachelor No. 2 (1999) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  43. 69 Love Songs (1999) – The Magnetic Fields [indie pop/chamber pop]
  44. Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014) – Angel Olsen [indie rock/indie folk]
  45. Music of the Crusades (1971) – Early Music Consort of London/David Munrow [classical]
  46. Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress (1996) – Chorus and Orchestra de l’Opera Lyon/Kent Nagano [classical]
  47. Poet of the Blues (rec. 1950-1954) – Percy Mayfield [blues]
  48. Tommy (1969) – The Who [hard rock]
  49. Afrocubism (2010) – Afrocubism [world/Latin/mande]
  50. The ArchAndroid (2010) – Janelle Monáe [progressive soul/alternative R&B]
  51. Whatever (1993) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  52. Have a Little Faith (1993) – Bill Frisell [jazz]
  53. The Genius of the Electric Guitar (rec. 1939-1941) – Charlie Christian [jazz]
  54. The Hazards of Love (2009) – The Decemberists [folk rock/progressive rock]
  55. Tippett: A Child of Our Time (1991) – City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/ Michael Tippett [classical]
  56. The Band (1969) – The Band [roots rock/Americana]
  57. I’m With Stupid (1995) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  58. Girls Girls Girls (rec. 1977-1986) – Elvis Costello [new wave/power pop]
  59. Beautiful Creature (1999) – Juliana Hatfield [alternative rock]
  60. Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2004) – OutKast [hip hop]
  61. Singles Collection: The London Years (rec. 1963-1970) – The Rolling Stones [rock/blues/pop]
  62. Blind Lemon Jefferson (rec. 1925-1929) – Blind Lemon Jefferson [blues]
  63. Egyptology (1997) – World Party [alternative rock/indie pop]
  64. Schumann: Kreisleriana, Carnaval (1995) – Mistsuko Uchida [classical]
  65. MASSEDUCTION (2017) – St. Vincent [art rock]
  66. Hide Away: The Best of Freddie King (rec. 1956-1970) – Freddie King [blues]
  67. Bolcom: Songs of Innocence and Experience (2004) – University of Michigan School of Music Symphony Orchestra/ Leonard Slatkin [classical]
  68. Mucho Macho Machito and His Afro-Cuban Salseros (1948-1949) – Machito & His Afro-Cubans [jazz/Latin]
  69. Stockhausen: Stimmung (1984) – Singcircle/Gregory Rose [classical]
  70. The Very Best of (rec. 1967-1969) – Aretha Franklin [soul/R&B]
  71. Trout Mask Replica (1969) – Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band [avant-garde/experimental rock]
  72. Forever Changes (1967) – Love [psychedelic rock]
  73. MAYA (2010) – M.I.A. [hip hop]
  74. Volume One (2008) – She & Him [indie pop/alternative country]
  75. Embryonic (2009) – The Flaming Lips [neo-psychedelia/alternative rock]
  76. The Soft Bulletin (1999) – The Flaming Lips [neo-psychedelia/alternative rock]
  77. The Number One Hits (rec. 1956-1969) – Elvis Presley [rock & roll]
  78. Schubert: Die Winterreise (1983) Haken Hagegard & Thomas Schuback [classical]
  79. That Lonesome Song (2008) – Jamey Johnson [country]
  80. The Classic Cobra Recordings (rec. 1956-1958) – Otis Rush [blues]
  81. Cadence Classics: Their 20 Greatest Hits (rec. 1957-1960) – The Everly Brothers [country rock]
  82. LIFTED or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002) – Bright Eyes [indie rock/indie folk]
  83. Beautiful Garbage (2001) – Garbage [alternative rock/trip hop]
  84. Who Is Jill Scott? (Words and Sounds Vol. 1) (2000) – Jill Scott [neo-soul/R&B]
  85. Uh Huh Her (2004) – PJ Harvey [alternative rock/art rock]
  86. Gold (2001) – Ryan Adams [alternative country/indie rock]
  87. Greatest Hits (rec. 1962-1967) – The Righteous Brothers [pop/soul]
  88. Closer (1980) – Joy Division [post-punk/gothic rock]
  89. Hot Fives & Sevens, Vol. 4 (Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines) (rec. 1928-1929) – Louis Armstrong [jazz]
  90. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2007) – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds [alternative rock]
  91. I and Love and You (2009) – The Avett Brothers [indie folk]
  92. Complete Chess Recordings (rec. 1950-1959) – Jimmy Rogers [blues]
  93. Riley: Salome Dances for Peace (1989) – Kronos Quartet [classical]
  94. Middle Cyclone (2008) – Neko Case [indie rock/alternative country]
  95. Schoenberg: Gürrelieder (2001) – Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Simon Rattle [classical]
  96. Alice (2002) – Tom Waits [experimental/rock/jazz/blues]
  97. Body and Soul (rec. 1939-1956) – Coleman Hawkins [jazz]
  98. Blonde on Blonde (1966) – Bob Dylan [folk rock]
  99. SMiLE (2004) – Brian Wilson [orchestral pop]
  100. 25th Anniversary (rec. 1939-1964) – Judy Garland [pop standards/show tunes]
  101. No Boundaries (1996) – Natalie MacMaster [world/Celtic]
  102. Flood (1990) – They Might Be Giants [alternative rock/power pop]
  103. Freetown Sound (2016) – Blood Orange [alternative R&B/experimental jazz]
  104. Offenbach: Les Contes d’Hoffmann (1950) – Choeur et Orchestre du Theatre National de l’Opera-Comique/Andre Cluytens [classical]
  105. Bartók: Six String Quartets (1988) – Emerson String Quartet [classical]
  106. In Exile Deo (2004) – Juliana Hatfield [alternative rock]
  107. The College Dropout (2004) – Kanye West [hip hop]
  108. Cripple Crow (2005) – Devendra Banhart [psychedelic folk]
  109. Galore: The Singles (rec. 1987-1997) – The Cure [gothic rock/post-punk]
  110. Electric Version (2003) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  111. Malibu (2016) – Anderson .Paak [soul/R&B/hip hop]
  112. Pure Comedy (2017) – Father John Misty [indie rock/indie folk]
  113. This World Is Not My Home (rec. 1985-1987) – Lone Justice [cowpunk/country rock]
  114. Próxima Estación: Esperanza (2001) – Manu Chao [worldbeat/Latin alternative]
  115. Toxicity (2001) – System of a Down [alternative metal]
  116. 16 Greatest Hits (rec. 1965-1968) – The Mamas & the Papas [folk rock]
  117. Before Today (2010) – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti [lo-fi/hypnagogic pop]
  118. Midnite Vultures (1999) – Beck [funk rock/R&B]
  119. The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes (rec. 1945-1948) – Charlie Parker [jazz]
  120. A Town Called Addis (2008) – Dub Colossus [world/dub/reggae]
  121. Dusty In Memphis (1968) – Dusty Springfield [pop/soul/R&B]
  122. New Amerykah, Pt. 1 (4th World War) (2008) – Erykah Badu [neo-soul/funk/R&B]
  123. Adams: The Death of Klinghoffer (1992) – Lyon National Opera Orchestra & London Opera Chorus/Kent Nagano [classical]
  124. Segundo (2000) – Juana Molina [world/folktronica]
  125. Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out (2005) – Petra Haden [indie rock]
  126. Kid A (2000) – Radiohead [experimental rock/electronica]
  127. Verve Jazz Masters 34 (rec. 1944-1962) – Coleman Hawkins [jazz]
  128. With the Beatles (1963) – The Beatles [pop/R&B/rock & roll]
  129. Beethoven: The Late String Quartets (1992) – Tokyo String Quartet [classical]
  130. Summer Sun (2003) – Yo La Tengo [indie rock/dream pop]
  131. Mental Illness (2017) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  132. Armchair Apocrypha (2007) – Andrew Bird [indie rock]
  133. For Emma, Forever Ago (2007) – Bon Iver [indie folk/indie pop/indie rock]
  134. Stravinsky: The Great Ballets (1963, 1973) – London Philharmonic Orchestra/Bernard Haitink [classical]
  135. Let England Shake (2011) – PJ Harvey [folk rock]
  136. Anthology (rec. 1960-1972) – Ray Charles [soul/R&B]
  137. Dear Science (2008) – TV on the Radio [art rock/indie rock]
  138. The Buddy Holly Collection (rec. 1954-1959) – Buddy Holly [rock & roll]
  139. Le Quintette du Hot Club de France (rec. 1934-1940) – Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli [jazz]
  140. The Fat Man – 25 Classic Performances (rec. 1949-1961) – Fats Domino [rock & roll/R&B]
  141. Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004) – Modest Mouse [indie rock]
  142. Third (2008) – Portishead [trip hop/alternative rock]
  143. White Blood Cells (2001) – The White Stripes [garage rock/alternative rock]
  144. Goodbye Jumbo (1990) – World Party [alternative rock/indie pop]
  145. King of the Blues Guitar (rec. 1966-1969) – Albert King [blues]
  146. The Information (2006) – Beck [alternative rock]
  147. The Definitive Blind Willie McTell (rec. 1929-1933) – Blind Willie McTell [blues]
  148. My Maudlin Career (2009) – Camera Obscura [indie pop]
  149. The Crane Wife (2006) – The Decemberists [indie rock/progressive folk]
  150. Sleep Well Beast (2017) – The National [indie rock/art rock]

Screen Test: The Updated Movie Lists

I added 10 more “best movies of all time” lists to the meta-list, bringing the total number of original source lists to over 36 (I lost exact count along the way!). The new lists (all from 2020 and 2021) were identified by Enrique, a Make Lists, Not War reader – thank you Enrique for your contribution to the website!

Here are the links to the updated movie lists:
Best Films of All Time – Ranked
Best Films of All Time – Chronological
Best Films of All Time – By Director

The new lists rearranged the meta-list considerably and added two dozen new movies, many of them recent releases.  I was surprised (and a bit disheartened) to see that Pulp Fiction is now tied for first place with Citizen Kane.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Pulp Fiction is an excellent movie, but I don’t quite see it as the best movie ever.  But that’s the fun of lists – you may not agree with the listers, but you can’t deny that Pulp Fiction was on 33 “best films of all time” lists.

Below are the 24 new movies I added to the meta-list (which contains films that are on at least four of the original source lists) as a result of the update. They include five women and four Black Americans; the world of movie directing is finally becoming diverse. There are also six winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

  1. The Gunfighter (US, 1950) Dir: Henry King (on 4 lists)
  2. The Passenger (France/Italy/US/Spain, 1975) Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni (on 4 lists)
  3. Gandhi (UK/India, 1982) Dir: Richard Attenborough (on 4 lists)
  4. Edward Scissorhands (US, 1990) Dir: Tim Burton (on 4 lists)
  5. Daughters of the Dust (US, 1991) Dir: Julie Dash (on 4 lists)
  6. Jurassic Park (US 1993) Dir: Steven Spielberg (on 5 lists)
  7. Forrest Gump (US, 1994) Dir: Robert Zemeckis (on 5 lists)
  8. Clueless (US, 1995) Dir: Amy Heckerling (on 5 lists)
  9. Titanic (US, 1997) Dir: James Cameron (on 5 lists)
  10. Life is Beautiful (Italy, 1997) Dir: Roberto Benigni (on 4 lists)
  11. Good Will Hunting (US, 1997) Dir: Gus Van Sant (on 5 lists)
  12. The Hurt Locker (US, 2008) Dir: Kathryn Bigelow (on 5 lists)
  13. Avatar (US, 2009) Dir: James Cameron (on 5 lists)
  14. Amour (France/Austria/Germany, 2012) Dir: Michael Haneke (on 4 lists)
  15. Carol (US/UK, 2015) Dir: Todd Haynes (on 4 lists)
  16. La La Land (US, 2016) Dir: Damien Chazelle (on 5 lists)
  17. Moonlight (US, 2016) Dir: Barry Jenkins (on 8 lists)
  18. Call Me By Your Name (Italy/US/France/Brazil, 2017) Dir: Luca Guadagnino (on 4 lists)
  19. Lady Bird (US, 2017) Dir: Greta Gerwig (on 7 lists)
  20. Get Out (US, 2017) Dir: Jordan Peele (on 8 lists)
  21. Roma (Mexico/US, 2018) Dir: Alfonso Cuarón (on 4 lists)
  22. Black Panther (US, 2018) Dir: Ryan Coogler (on 4 lists)
  23. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France, 2019) Dir: Céline Sciamma (on 4 lists)
  24. Parasite (South Korea, 2019) Dir: Bong Joon-ho (on 6 lists)

 

Permanent Records: The Updated Albums List

I’ve added three more “best albums of all time” lists to the best albums meta-list.  Thanks to Make Lists, Not War reader Keith Nutter for the update suggestions.  As before, the meta-lists includes every album on at least three of the original source lists.

Here are the links to the updated lists:
Best Albums of All Time – Ranked
Best Albums of All Time – Chronological
Best Albums of All Time – By Artist

In addition to rearranging the meta-list somewhat, the new lists added 35 new albums and 14 new artists.  Here are the new-to-the-list artists:

  • The Avalanches
  • Beyoncé
  • Dave Brubeck
  • Daft Punk
  • Fleet Foxes
  • GZA
  • Lorde
  • Madvillain
  • M.I.A.
  • Mobb Deep
  • Slowdive
  • Solange
  • Talk Talk
  • Vampire Weekend

The latest update has increased the number of recent albums on the meta-list, which is heavily weighted towards music of the 1960s and 1970s.  Here are the 15 albums on the meta-list from 2010 on.

  • Kanye West  My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
  • Arcade Fire  The Suburbs (2010)
  • Adele  21 (2011)
  • PJ Harvey  Let England Shake (2011)
  • Kendrick Lamar  good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)
  • Frank Ocean  Channel Orange (2012)
  • Kanye West  Yeezus (2013)
  • Vampire Weekend  Modern Vampires of the City (2013)
  • Kendrick Lamar  To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
  • Sufjan Stevens  Carrie & Lowell (2015)
  • David Bowie  Blackstar (2016)
  • Frank Ocean  Blond (2016)
  • Beyoncé  Lemonade (2016)
  • Solange  A Seat at the Table (2016)
  • Lorde  Melodrama (2017)

 

Classic Hits: The Updated Classical Music Lists

I’ve added two more lists to the classical music meta-lists.  This has added more than a dozen new pieces of music and three new-to-the-list composers:

  • Henryk Wieniawski (Poland, 1835-1880)
  • Umberto Giordano (Italy, 1867-1948)
  • Henri Dutilleux (France, 1916-2013)

The links to the updated lists are here:
Best Classical Music – Ranked
Best Classical Music – Chronological
Best Classical Music – By Composer
Best Classical Music – By Type of Composition

The full meta-list contains 656 pieces of music (659 if you count Wagner’s Ring cycle as 4 instead of 1.)  That’s a lot of music.  For those who may be intimidated by such a large list, I’ve created a miniature version that contains fewer than 70 compositions (see below).  This list includes only those pieces of music on at least 10 of the original source lists.  It is an odd and fairly conservative list.  The Germans and Austrians dominate. Most of the music is symphonic, with a number of operas, but there is very little chamber music and only one piece of solo piano music.  The vast majority of the music comes from the Classical and Romantic periods (roughly 1750-1900), with nothing from the Renaissance and nothing from any composers born in the 20th Century.  There in no Chopin (!?!), no Liszt, no Shostakovich, and only one work by an American composer.  But it is an interesting list nonetheless, and contains some of the best known, most popular, and most highly-regarded pieces of classical music ever written.  I’ve organized it by composer, with the composers listed in chronological order by date of birth.  For composers with more than one piece on the list, I’ve listed the compositions in chronological order. Enjoy.

Best Classical Music: Works on 10 or More of the Original Source Lists

Antonio Vivaldi (Italy, 1678-1741)

  • The Four Seasons (1725)

Johann Sebastian Bach (Germany, 1685-1750)

  • Cello Suites (approx. 1717-1723)
  • Brandenburg Concertos (1721)
  • St. Matthew Passion (1727)
  • Goldberg Variations (1741)
  • Mass in B minor (1749)

George Frideric Handel (Germany, 1685-1759)

  • The Water Music (1717)
  • Messiah (1741)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Austria, 1756-1791)

  • Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor (1785)
  • Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major (1785)
  • The Marriage of Figaro (1786)
  • Serenade No. 13 in G major “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (1787)
  • Symphony No. 40 in G minor (1788)
  • Symphony No. 41 in C major “Jupiter” (1788)
  • The Magic Flute (1791)
  • Clarinet Concerto in A major (1791)
  • Requiem (1792)

Ludwig van Beethoven (Germany, 1770-1827)

  • Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor “Moonlight” (1801)
  • Symphony No. 3 in Eb major “Eroica” (1804)
  • Violin Concerto in D major (1806)
  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor (1808)
  • Symphony No. 6 in F major “Pastoral” (1808)
  • Symphony No. 7 in A major (1812)
  • Symphony No. 9 in D minor “Choral” (1824)
  • String Quartet No. 14 in C# minor (1826)

Gioachino Rossini (Italy, 1792-1868)

  • The Barber of Seville (1816)

Franz Schubert (Austria, 1797-1828)

  • Piano Quintet in A major “The Trout” (1819)
  • Symphony No. 8 in B minor “Unfinished” (1822)
  • String Quintet in C major (1828)

Hector Berlioz (France, 1803-1869)

  • Symphonie Fantastique (1829)

Felix Mendelssohn (Germany, 1809-1847)

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Overture (1826)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Incidental Music (1842)

Robert Schumann (Germany, 1810-1856)

  • Piano Concerto in A minor (1845)

Richard Wagner (Germany, 1813-1883)

  • Der Ring des Nibelungen: 1. Das Rheingold (1854)
  • Der Ring des Nibelungen: 2. Die Walküre (1856)
  • Der Ring des Nibelungen: 3. Siegfried (1871)
  • Der Ring des Nibelungen: 4. Götterdämmerung (1874)

Giuseppe Verdi (Italy, 1813-1901)

  • La Traviata (1853)
  • Requiem (1874)

Anton Bruckner (Austria, 1824-1896)

  • Symphony No. 7 in E major (1881-1883, revised 1885)

Johannes Brahms (Germany, 1833-1897)

  • A German Requiem (1865-1868)
  • Violin Concerto in D major (1878)
  • Symphony No. 3 in F major (1883)
  • Symphony No. 4 in E minor (1884-1885)

Georges Bizet (France, 1838-1875)

  • Carmen (1874)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russia, 1840-1893)

  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb minor (1874-1875; revised 1879 and 1888)
  • Swan Lake (1875-1876)
  • Symphony No. 5 in E minor (1888)
  • The Nutcracker (1892)
  • Symphony No. 6 in B minor “Pathetique” (1893)

Antonín Dvořák (Czech Republic, 1841-1904)

  • Symphony No. 9 in E minor “From the New World” (1893)
  • Cello Concerto in B minor (1894-1895)

Edvard Grieg (Norway, 1843-1907)

  • Piano Concerto in A minor (1868)
  • Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 (1888)
  • Peer Gynt Suite No. 2 (1891)

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Russia, 1844-1908)

  • Scheherazade (1888)

Edward Elgar (UK, 1857-1934)

  • Cello Concerto in E minor (1919) (on 10 lists)

Gustav Mahler (Czech Republic, 1860-1911)

  • Symphony No. 5 in C# minor (1901-1902)
  • Symphony No. 9 in D major (1910)

Claude Debussy (France, 1862-1918)

  • Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1894)
  • La Mer (1903-1905)

Richard Strauss (Germany, 1864-1949)

  • Also Sprach Zarathustra (1896)

Sergei Rachmaninoff (Russia, 1873-1943)

  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor (1900-1901)

Béla Bartók (Hungary, 1881-1945)

  • String Quartet No. 4 in C major (1927)
  • Concerto for Orchestra (1943)

Igor Stravinsky (Russia, 1882-1971)

  • The Rite of Spring (1913)

George Gershwin (US, 1898-1937)

  • Rhapsody in Blue (1924)

 

My Year in Books: 2021

In 2021, I continued to work my way through the chronological “greatest books of all time” list, focusing primarily on books I already own (with occasional trips to the library).  I finished the 18th Century and moved into the 19th Century.  One of the highlights was the four volume Dream of the Red Chamber (also know as Story of the Stone), one of the four classic Chinese novels.  (I had previously read The Water Margin and Journey to the West/Monkey, two of the other classics.)  But I veered off the greatest booklist path a few times.  I read two books on recent biological discoveries – I like to keep up-to-date with science. I read some art books, as part of my recent obsession with art. And I read some history/biography.  My niece gave me a 2018 Frederick Douglass bio as a gift, so I read that and then of course I needed to read Douglass’s autobiography. And a friend raved about the first volume of Rick Atkinson’s American Revolution trilogy, so I checked that out as well.  Another friend loaned me The Pueblo Revolt, which helped provide historical context for our vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico in September/October.

Here are the books I finished in 2021 (in chronological order by publication date), with my 1-5 star rating:

  1. The Social Contract (1762). By Jean-Jacques Rousseau (4/5)
  2. The Vicar of Wakefield (1766). By Oliver Goldsmith (4/5)
  3. The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings (1774). By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (4/5)
  4. Dangerous Liaisons (1782) By Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (4/5)
  5. Confessions (1782). By Jean-Jacques Rousseau (4/5)
  6. Dream of the Red Chamber (Story of the Stone) (1791). By Cao Xeuqin (and Gao E) (5/5)
  7. Autobiography and Selected Writings (1791). By Benjamin Franklin (4/5)
  8. Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794). By William Blake (4/5)
  9. Kant: Selections (1770-1797). By Immanuel Kant. Edited by Theodore M. Greene (4/5)
  10. Faust: A Tragedy, Part One (1808). By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (4/5)
  11. Persuasion (1817). By Jane Austen (4/5)
  12. Faust, Part Two (1832). By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (4/5)
  13. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845). By Frederick Douglass (4/5)
  14. Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture (1976). By Frederick Hartt (5/5)
  15. The Pueblo Revolt (1994). By Robert Silverberg (5/5)
  16. Modern Art in the U.S.A.: Issues and Controversies of the 20th Century (2000). By Patricia Hills (4/5)
  17. Why Evolution Is True (2008). By Jerry A. Coyne (4/5)
  18. Speaking of Art: Four Decades of Art in Conversation (2010). By William Furlong (4/5)
  19. A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth (2015). By Peter D. Ward (3/5)
  20. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (2018). By David W. Blight (5/5)
  21. The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (2019). By Rick Atkinson (4/5)