I Hated 2016 (But Here Are Some Awesome Things I Loved)
My Favorite Medium Writers, Books, Movies, and Disney Princesses imagined as potatoes just for kicks
I began writing on Medium in late February 2016 before the year turned into the equivalent of a small child with a wiffle bat clubbing baby seals slowly to death. Still, Medium has proved to be a fantastic platform that grew my readership from ZERO to close to 5,000 followers in under a year. If you haven’t abandoned your blog for Medium, punch yourself squarely in the mouth just like the cover of Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power:
Or just read this, because the stats alone don’t lie. The publication I write for (HeartSupport)got our entire previous years worth of traffic in one single post that gained traction when we started sharing our content. Yes. You read that correctly.
So with all that said, here’s a listicle of things you might enjoy from 2016 to kick off your 2017 the right way.
My (So Far) Favorite or Most Interesting Writers on Medium
In no particular order (but they’re worth following)
- Paulette Perhach — If you haven’t read her Story of a F*** Off Fund, stop what you’re doing and read it now. If you’re looking for a writer who can tell a story and keep you hooked, look no further (A little secret. I get to read her drafts sometimes and one of my favorites she hasn’t posted. I’m talking about that time you got a horse in the Peace Corps, Paulette!)
- Justin Cox 🍩 — All around nice guy. He’s kind of like a gonzo journalist in some ways, and I happen to love his stream of consciousness that comes out in his writing. I also want to enter into a bromance with him.
- Thaddeus Howze — I love a writer who can cover the history of comic books one day, then share about the history of Civil Rights and racism the next, and then write dystopian fiction.
- Stella J.— I respect the hell out of people who emulate vulnerability and authenticity. Stella’s writing is just that. If you can write online about how you got the clap, then you’re doing something few people would.
- Meagan Prins — I may be biased here as we write together on HeartSupport, but her work and storytelling is always top notch.
- Brian Geddes & Nassim Nicholas Taleb — Two fine gentlemen that know history quite well and write about it passionately.
- Todd Brison — I thoroughly enjoyed his piece on 22 Thing Men Should Know by 22 as well as his posts on life lessons and creativity.
- Nash Faulk — Read this story about Chicken Sandwiches and New Friends.
- Lindsay Robertson — She gets in at the 11th hour because I read her fantastic piece on when she almost became punk. Although as someone who loves punk, I’m sad she never got into that music scene.
Favorite Books I Read In 2016
I don’t think I can rank these as I loved them all, but Bonhoeffer may be the winner by a hair. I love fantasy, historical fiction, self-improvement, and biographies. These were the standouts.
- Traitor’s Blade by Sebastian de Castell — Imagine Alexander Dumas decided to make the Three Musketeers totally badass and incorporate magic, humor, and epic swashbuckling fun. Traitor’s Blade is Book One of the GreatCoats series. You will randomly find yourself fist-pumping at certain points in the book. I”m starting Book Two (Knight’s Shadow) tonight that’s how excited I am.
- Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas — Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran Pastor during WWII who went on to oppose Hitler and the Reich Church, eventually taking part in Operation Valkyrie (the plot to assassinate Hitler). If you want a solid lesson in history, to see where the world may once again be heading, and understand just how evil the Nazi’s were, this book will gnaw at your soul.
- The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown — This series was so influential to a friend of mine he wrote a song about it for his band. It is now one of their most popular live songs. You will find yourself skipping whole pages just to keep up with the story and action. You will also have an unnatural attachment to characters in the book. So what’s it about? Humans have colonized the stars and have set up a caste system based on a coloring and genetic enhancement. Red is the lowest color, whereas Gold is the highest. Gold’s rule with an iron fist, while Red’s believe they are helping to colonize Mars, but, in reality, have been enslaved for hundreds of years. The story follows a young man named Darrow who begins to infiltrate the Golds and lead a rebellion after losing his wife. This is sci-fi at it’s finest, ladies and gentlemen.
- Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay — While originally published in 1900, Guy Gavriel Kay is an outstanding wordsmith. Be forewarned, in all of his books, you will have no idea what in the hell is going on for the first few chapters. Press on, and be amazed. This story follows a group of rebels looking to overthrow two tyrants who also happen to be powerful sorcerers, one of which has used their magic to strike the name and history of Tigana from the minds of everyone in the world. Kay does an exceptional job making you hate characters, only to sympathize with them later in the book, effectively exploring the different moral shades of his characters.
- King’s Cross by Timothy Keller — Tim Keller is the new C.S. Lewis of the 21st Century. Using philosophy and frequently drawing on secular and academic sources to back his books, he is respected as pastor by both liberals and conservatives. This has earned him invitations to speak at innovative companies like Google (where gave a talk on marriage). This book explores the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ by examining the Gospel of Mark in addition to outside sources and exploring what it means for the 21st-century man or woman.
*Honorable Mentions: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and the Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin.
Favorite Movies I Saw
- La La Land — Everything in this movie was absolutely amazing from the music, lighting, color, tone, nostalgic throwbacks…I mean, everything.
Everything else was mediocre shit (except for Captain America: Civil War). Assassin’s Creed was really bad. Like Romeo Must Die bad. The best character in Rogue One was a robot (and you know it). Let that sink in a moment. Granted, I have not seen Hell or High Water. So there may be an edit to this. 2016 was pretty weak sauce for movies compared to other years so here’s looking to you, 2017 (Please God, let Logan be stellar).
Why Deadpool you ask then? Well, let’s see…It’s been nominated for two Golden Globes. It’s utterly hilarious. And it finally broke the PG-13 ridiculousness they’ve been doing over at Marvel. Plus, Deadpool proves to my wife once and for all that people do actually think I’m funny (people told her all they could think of were my insane jokes while watching the movie). Ryan Reynolds, you’re my missing half. Call me, bro. We’ll grab a beer and annoy our wives together.
Favorite TV Shows
- Stranger Things — I shouldn’t have to explain this one. Goonies meets E.T. meets Silent Hill. This might be the best thing that came out of 2016. It gave me all the member berries.
- WestWorld — Everything about this show won me over. It explores the themes of consciousness and what it means to be human while looking at abstract theological and humanistic concepts like God (or the invention of him). Just start throwing Golden Globes at the feet of Anthony Hopkins now.
- Game of Thrones — That bastard Ramsey Bolton finally got his. It made everyone happy to see the good guys finally get some love instead of George RR Martin giving the middle finger to our favorite characters. It also made me realize the power of long-form storytelling with Hodor’s backstory.
- Black Mirror — I love and hate this show. You can only watch a max of two episodes, but it illustrates the depravity of human nature and how technology is now intertwining to create horrific circumstances we bring on ourselves. As the creator puts it, “the episodes are all about the way we live now — and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.“
- Black Sails — The prequel to Treasure Island along with historical fiction and swashbuckling fun? Hell yes. Season 3 was a rip-roaring blast showing the rise of Long John Silver.
- DareDevil — While Season One still has one of the best fight scenes ever (that hallway, tho), Season Two gave us Jon Bernthal as the Punisher and that. was. awesome.
*Honorable mentions (because they were fun, but not great): The Flash, Arrow, and Walking Dead.
(Fair Warning: I love metal and screaming. This list is in order.)
- Comrades — Lone/Grey: I can’t even begin to describe my love for this album. Clean female vocals. Check. Clean Male vocals. Check. Metalcore screams. Check. Ethereal space rock vocal trance? Check. Paint the Sistine chapel to this? Check.
- The 1975 — I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it (This album is a GEM)
- Metallica — Hard Wired…To Self Destruct (Welcome back my friends. You were missed.)
- Erra — Drift
- Silent Planet — Everything Was Sound
Lastly…this should start off your 2017 correctly