First, here are my top 13 studio songs of '13. As I was putting together this playlist I realized that a few of these songs came out before 2013, but I didn't discover them until this year, and they got so much play in my studio that I'm including them anyhow. It's my blog, so I can make my own rules, right? (You have to have Quicktime running to make this playlist work, fyi. I've also included song links below, in case it doesn't work in your browser).
Miramare - Sons of the East - EP
Amsterdam - The Weatherman
The Truth Is a Cave - Through the Deep, Dark Valley
Bloom (Bonus Track) - Woodland - EP
Red Hands - R.E.V.O.
I Will Be Blessed - Every Kingdom (Deluxe Version)
She Lit a Fire - Lonesome Dreams
Just One - We Are the Tide
Shake It Off - Shake It Off - Single
Home - From Here to Now to You
She - Paper Hearts - EP
Only One - Only One - Single
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) - The Lumineers (Deluxe Edition)
My favorite two albums this year were The Weatherman by Gregory Alan Isakov (who put on an absolutely breathtaking show with the Colorado Symphony in November), and Through the Deep Dark Valley by The Oh Hellos (who I'm going to see play tonight to ring in the New Year - yay!!).
As for reading, I read a ton of books this year and can't really remember all of them, but a few stand out that are worth recommending. Here they are:
Favorite Art Book - E.T. Compton by Sibylle Brandes
This guy was a mountain climber and it shows in his paintings - he could paint mountains like no other, and this book is full cover to cover of beautiful images. I just wish it wasn't in German so I could actually read it! I also wish there were a book about his son, Edward Harrison Compton, as his paintings are even more amazing.
Favorite Outdoor Adventure Book - Be Brave, Be Strong by Jill Homer
I stumbled on this book in the kindle bookstore and bought it on a whim, and I was so inspired by Homer's telling of her adventures riding the Great Divide mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico. I've since read all of her books and am addicted to her blog - she writes as though she loves the landscape as much as I do, and I'm always inspired by her strength and persistence.
Favorite Psych Book - Mindset by Carol Dweck
I don't know how I ended up reading this book, but it was fascinating to me. I've always thought I was a fairly positive "you-can-do-it!" kind of thinker, but reading this really exposed a lot of the prejudices I have about myself (I'm a clutz, I'm bad at sports, I'll never be good at xyz). Reading through the ideas in this one made me realize that my thoughts were determining my outcomes in some of those areas. An interesting read for anyone, and I thought it was eye-opening as a parent too.
Favorite Non-Fiction - I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
This was a bestseller this year for a reason. If you haven't read it, go read it. The autobiography of an amazing girl, I also found it interesting as an account of Pakistan's history and culture. I didn't know much about the country prior to reading this, and it was fascinating to read it through the eyes of a young girl.
So, there you go - my recommendations from 2013. Do you have any books or music that stand out for the year for you? I'd love to hear suggestions from everyone!