Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the year stuff

Oh hey it's the end of yet another calender year. Time to do some retrospective type stuff. This was a big, nay, a giant year for me. Graduated from college, moved to a new state, started first year of medical school - pretty happening year. Events prior to my graduation in June appear way more distant than they actually are. Even though it has been only (!) six months since I graduated, it seems like an eternity ago. Everything before that is now shrouded in a sepia-tinted haze.

Enough reminiscing, however. Every newspaper, magazine and TV show does a Top 10 list right around this time. I am nowhere as significant as these luminaries of our mainstream media, so I will do a Top 4 list instead. I have given slightly more weight to books because reading is my preferred form of entertainment. Right then, here we go:

Top books that I read in 2011
(These are books I read, not ones that were published this year)

4. More Money Than God by Sebastian Mallaby: about the secretive hedge-fund industry, whose titans rake in eye-popping billions most years on intricate trades. For instance, one guy bought all the Palladium in Russia as part of a trade.

3. Chaos by James Gleick: "butterfly effect", fractals, Mandelbrot sets, colorful personalities and whimsical brainiacs make up this engrossing read about a fascinating field that can only be described as a hybrid of math and physics.

2. Patel: A Life by Rajmohan Gandhi: a superb biography about Sardar Patel, one of India's foremost political leaders who was instrumental in the country's fight for independence. He was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and played a crucial role in the early days of the nascent Democracy.

1. Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam: rockets, adversity, feel-good story. Hickam has a knack for making readers feel closer to characters. Boy growing up in the heart of coal country in the 50's dreams of working for NASA. Moving descriptions of a decaying town and a decaying industry and the perennial tussle between unions and bosses.

Top 4 movies I saw in 2011:

4. Crazy, Stupid, Love: good, goofy, light.

3. Muppets: surprisingly fresh, self-aware and incredibly clever.

2.  Captain America: makes a worn out genre look compelling. self-deprecation, wit, sap all in the right amounts.

1. Moneyball: I don't even care about baseball, but this movie made baseball seem infinitely exciting. Quite an achievement. Brad Pitt gets a special mention for his acting.

Top 4 TV shows I followed in 2011:

4. Parks and Recreation: not as funny as the third season, but still miles ahead of its competitors

3. Justified: a trigger-happy US Marshal reluctantly returns to his native Kentucky to a whole host of professional and personal problems. Tremendous acting by the whole cast. Shout out to Timothy Olyphant for playing lead Raylan Givens.

2. The League: a bunch of douchebags obsessed with fantasy football and their antics each week. Extremely funny and original.

1. The Wire: Finally got around to finishing this epic that depicts life in a troubled Baltimore, and aspires to capture a snapshot of America in the process.  A lot of internet space has been devoted by people far more accomplished about the virtues of this masterpiece. One of the best (if not the best) things ever made on TV. Everything about this show is perfect.

By the way, this was the 100th post for the year 2011. 

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