It’s the end of another year, and also the end of another decade. If you’re worried that I’m going to make you endure a ten-year retrospective like every other content creator on the internet seems to be doing, let me put your fears to rest: I’m not. I can barely remember what I did ten days ago, let alone ten years ago. And while you might be entertained by a cringeworthy look back at my pre-teen years, that’s a trip down memory lane I’m gonna pass on.
As is tradition though, I am going to wrap up 2019 with a look back at my favorites from the year. I promise you I’ll keep it concise, so without further ado, on to the lists!
Top 5 Albums
5) The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical Original Cast Recording – Music/Lyrics by Rob Rokicki
Favorite songs: Prologue/The Day I Got Expelled, Good Kid, Bring On The Monsters
4) Pressure – Wage War
Favorite songs: Who I Am, Grave, Forget My name
3) Constellations – August Burns Red
Favorite songs: Existence, Indonesia, Crusades
2) Hadestown Original Broadway Cast Recording – Music/Lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell
Favorite songs: Why We Build The Wall, How Long?, Wait For Me (Reprise)
1) Eclipse – Wolves At The Gate
Favorite songs: Drifter, The Sea In Between, Counterfeit
Top 5 Books
Not counting re-reads! If you’d like to see more of my favorite reads from 2019, check out last week’s 12 Days of Christmas tag!
5) The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros
Originally read as classwork, but I fell in love with Cisneros’s storytelling, language, and ideas about creativity.
4) A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab
Schwab has yet to disappoint me – I loved this book and its trilogy for its snarky characters, unique magic, and expansive worldbuilding.
3) Save The Cat! Writes a Novel – Jessica Brody
One of the few writing craft books I’ve found helpful, this not only gave me a “map” for outlining my fantasy project, but inspired me to do so.
2) Rebel – Marie Lu
More than just a nostalgic return to some of my favorite characters, Rebel gave me new protagonists to love, a new setting, and a story that stands well all on its own.
1) Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim
A well-developed female protagonist that finds her power in a way that’s different from her literary peers, an world that comes alive on every page, and an endearing supporting cast are just a few of the things that made me fall in love with this book.
Top 5 Video Games
5) Slime Rancher – Monomi Park (PC)
Cute and relaxing open-world game that had just enough direction to keep me strategizing how to best care for my adorable slimes.
4) Untitled Goose Game – House House / Panic (Nintendo Switch)
Allowed me to live out my dreams of being an obnoxious, self-serving, and chaotic creature with no consequences.
3) Tetris 99 – Akira / Nintendo (Nintendo Switch)
Finally gave me a battle royale game I didn’t suck at and allowed me to impress my family and friends with my above-average Tetris skills on the big screen.
2) Transistor – Supergiant Games (PC)
Beautiful visuals and music, plus a combat system that kept me on my toes and looking for new ways to win battles. Oh, and a story that broke my heart.
1) Celeste – Matt Makes Games (PC)
The most difficult and most rewarding game I played this year. Celeste became more than just something to play, but a personal challenge to prove to myself that I could finish it. More thoughts about it here.
Top 5 Movies/TV Shows
5) Stranger Things (Season 3)
Great to have a season set in the summertime, plus it introduced one of my favorite new characters.
4) Detective Pikachu
A “live action” Pokemon movie that brought some of my favorite creatures to life in a way I hadn’t seen before, plus an entertaining storyline.
3) The Dragon Prince (Seasons 2-3)
These two seasons really turned up the quality of the show, expanded the world, and brought us fascinating character arcs across the board.
2) My Hero Academia (Seasons 1-3)
Intriguing premise with a broad cast of characters – each with their own personalities and dreams – plus an amazing soundtrack to boot.
1) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This unique animated movie excelled in doing something new with a tired genre and a tired character. It’s even better the second time around.
Top 5 Blog Posts
These are just my favorites that I wrote, in chronological order.
A Thank You Note (March)
In celebration of International Women’s Day, I wrote a thank-you note to the women who have inspired and encouraged me throughout my life.
Seven Siblings from Stories (April)
A round-up of my favorite sibling relationships in books and TV shows, because let’s face it: not all writers know what it’s like to grow up with a brother or sister.
Roasted Reads | 6 Thoroughly Disappointing Books (October)
I unleashed my inner snark to roast some overhyped books and started a new conspiracy theory about James Patterson.
The Hardest Photo I Ever Took (October)
Some reflections on body image and self-confidence and how that’s changed over the years.
Climbing My Mountain | Thoughts on Celeste (November)
Why one of the most difficult video games I played this year became one of my favorites of all time.
Favorite Moments and Memories
Participating on a panel at the Humanities Symposium (February)
We presented on a panel about Young Adult Literature and the Common Good. You can watch my 5-minute presentation here.
Publishing in The Peregrine and the Swinging Bridge Magazine (May)
One of my short stories was published in the campus literary journal, and I had an article published in the campus magazine!
Traveling in France (May/June)
I participated in a school trip to France, where we stayed for three weeks to learn about French culture, religion, and politics. More about it in my France recap post.
Rocking out at summer concerts (June/July)
August Burns Red, Silent Planet, Anberlin, Wolves At The Gate (twice!), The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Phinehas, Norma Jean, and Fit For A King.
Serving on the missions trip (July)
Our team worked hard to tear down and replace an unsafe front porch for a family in need in western Pennsylvania over the course of a week.
Attending Blimey Con in Nashville (August)
Got to meet the team behind the Blimey Cow YouTube channel, did some sightseeing, and met a lot of awesome people down in Nashville.
Cosplaying at the Harrisburg Comic-Con (September)
Finally finished my Breath of the Wild Link cosplay and wore it to the local comic-con with some friends of mine.
Visiting my friend Noelle (November)
Drove out to see my friend Noelle (and her cat, Everest) for a weekend that included plenty of exciting adventures.
Presenting at an academic conference (December)
Two of my classmates and I presented papers at a Medieval and Early Modern Studies undergraduate conference.
Touring Washington D.C. with my family (December)
Met up with my aunt and uncle’s family in Washington D.C. to do some pre-Christmas sightseeing.