25 books, 25 albums & 10 places to eat for 2014

I’m back for another roundup of books, albums, and eats that I would highly recommend you experience for yourselves.  Per usual, these lists are of things that I personally experienced for the first time in twenty-fourteen, and not strictly books, albums, and places to eat that debuted this year.

Please enjoy.

books | albums | eats

25 books for 2014

(1)

st lucy's home

St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell (2006)

(2)

safety of objects

The Safety of Objects by A.M. Homes (1990)

(3)

Why-Did-I-Ever

Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison (2001)

(4)

mezzanine

The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker (1988)

(5)

1004

10:04 by Ben Lerner (2014)

(6)

elect mr robinson

Elect Mr. Robinson For a Better World by Donald Antrim (1993)

(7)

wise blood

Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor (1952)

(8)

rachel papers

The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis (1993)

(9)

although-of-course_custom-68ada2df98079e3ca0df7dee75e4b597342ec285-s6-c30

Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky (2010)

(10)

birdsofamerica

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore (1998) *

(11)

rise and fall of great powers

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman (2014)

(12)

lucinella

Lucinella by Lore Segal (1976)

(13)

Chabon-Mysteries-of-Pittsburgh_24951562_001_Christies1-408x530

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon (1988)

(14)

vampires of the lemon grove

Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Other Stories by Karen Russell (2013)

(15)

one more thing

One More Thing: Stories and More Stories by B.J. Novak (2014)

(16)

who will run the frog hospital

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore (1994)

(17)

Wolf-in-White-Van-Cover

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (2014)

(18)

cant and wont

Can’t and Won’t (stories) by Lydia Davis (2014)

(19-20)

countdown city worldoftrouble_final

Countdown City (2013) & World of Trouble (2014) by Ben Winters

(21)

dud avocado

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy (1958)

(22)

your fathers where are they

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers (2014)

(23)

third policeman

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien (1967)

(24)

magic christian

The Magic Christian by Terry Southern (1959)

(25)

dept of speculation

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (2014)

25 albums for 2014, with audiovisuals

NOTE: 2014 was my second year as co-proprietor and curator of my own donation-dependent traveling library.  We had several hundred albums donated to us this year, and I (at least cursorily) listened to most of them.  So while I did do my fair share of music exploration independent of that, several of the items on this list are a direct result of the kindness of my community.

(1)

st vincent

St. Vincent by St. Vincent (2014)

* In an interview with Salon, Annie Clark explicitly stated that she read Birds of America while creating this album, and phrases like “birth in reverse” and “bring me your loves” were lifted directly from those stories.  Learning this (not to mention seeing St. Vincent live twice this year) enriched this album for me, as well as my reading of Birds of America.  Both, obviously, are highly recommended.

(2)

salad days

Salad Days by Mac Demarco (2014)

(3)

brian-eno-here-come-the-warm-jets

Here Come the Warm Jets by Brian Eno (1973)

(4)

black moon spell

Black Moon Spell by King Tuff (2014)

(5)

WYR0514tubejktnoguidlines

Sunbathing Animal by Parquet Courts (2014)

(6)

marry-me-by-st-vincent_-uafkz

Marry Me by St. Vincent (2007)

(7)

brian_eno_-_1974_taking_tiger_mountain_by_strategy

Taking Tiger Mountain by Brian Eno (1974)

(8)

they want my soul

They Want My Soul by Spoon (2014)

(9)

tom petty and the heartbreakers

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)

(10)

Tune-Yards-Nikki-Nack

Nikki Nack by Tune-Yards (2014)

(11)

held in splendor

Held in Splendor by Quilt (2014)

(12)

hit vibes

Hit Vibes by Saint Pepsi (2013)

(13)

Willie-Nelson-Shotgun-Willie-450408

Shotgun Willie by Willie Nelson (1973)

(14)

Thao-With-The-Get-Down-Stay-Down-We-The-Common1

We the Common by Thao & the Get Down Stay Down (2013)

(15)

real estate atlas

Atlas by Real Estate (2014)

(16)

milkeyedmender

The Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom (2004)

(17)

37526_de_la_soul_-_3_feet_high_and_rising_a

3 Feet High and Rising  by De La Soul (1989)

(18)

the-unseen-5019b2ea27b0f

The Unseen by Quasimoto (2000)

(19)

ShadowDJ-PrivatePressThe

The Private Press by DJ Shadow (2002)

(20)

RunTheJewelsRTJ2

Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels (2014)

(21)

logos

Logos by Atlas Sound (2009)

(22)

meters rejuvenation

Rejuvenation by The Meters (1974)

(23)

mumps etc

Mumps, etc. by WHY? (2012)

(24)

rising down

Rising Down by The Roots (2008)

(25)

red headed stranger

Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson (1975)

10 places to eat for 2014

(1)

birdhouse

 

My love for the guys behind The Bird House (and H-Town StrEATs) is nothing new, but Bird House gets the number one spot due to the sheer volume of fried chicken I’ve eaten since they opened.  “Fried chicken & badass sides” indeed.  Where else are you going to get shrimp and grits balls?

(2)

Cuchara_Restuarant_t580

 

I implore you to leave Cuchara in a worse mood than when you walked in.  Great food, vibrant atmosphere, incomparable art, and (at least both times I’ve gone) roving live music.

(3)

urban eats

 

I recently celebrated my (twenty-ninth) birthday at Urban Eats on the second day of their soft opening.  It was probably the single best dining experience I have ever had in my life.  And while that experience will be difficult to replicate, I fully intend for Urban Eats to become one of my go-to places to eat around town.

(4)

extshepherdpark

(5)

pita bites

 

Everything I’ve ever had from Pita Bites has been amazing, but the chicken shawarma and grape leaves lead the pack.  And the husband and wife who run it are two of the nicer fellow truckers I’ve encountered.

(6)

crisp_logo_w300

 

Go for the pizza and Friday night flights.

(7)

wokker tx ranger

(8)

ninfas on navigation

(9)

local foods

(10)

coltivare

 

Thanks for reading.  2015’s lists should look a little different, so make sure to come on back.  Hell, I may even write something else between now and then.

Cheers!

twenty albums, twenty books, ten trucks & ten restaurants for 2012

Albums / Books / Trucks / Restaurants

20 Albums for 2012:

(1)

dr_dog_be_the_void

Be the Void by Dr. Dog (2012)

(2)

alien lanes

Alien Lanes by Guided by Voices (1995)

(3)

channel orange

Channel Orange by Frank Ocean (2012)

(4)

Love This Giant by David Byrne & St. Vincent (2012)

(5)

dirty-projectors-swing-lo-magellan-608x608

Swing Lo Magellan by Dirty Projectors (2012)

(6)

key lime pie

Key Lime Pie by Camper Van Beethoven (1989)

(7)

young and old

Young & Old by Tennis (2012)

(8)

A Thing Called Divine Fits by Divine Fits (2012)

(9)

Lonerism by Tame Impala (2012)

(10)

wild-nothing-gemini-cover-art

Gemini by Wild Nothing (2010)

(11)

Underneath the Pine by Toro y Moi (2011)

(12)

nehru jackets

Nehru Jackets by Himanshu (2012)

(13)

three_eps

The Three EPs by The Beta Band (1999)

(14)

Radlands by Mystery Jets (2012)

(15)

sleigh-bells-reign-of-terror

Reign of Terror by Sleigh Bells (2012)

(16)

theesatisfaction-awe-naturale1

Awe Naturale by THEESatisfaction (2012)

NOTE: THEESatisfaction also released a free EP called THEESatisfaction Loves Anita Baker, which is also very good, and which introduced me to Anita Baker.  I picked up her album Rapture from the library, and made a remixed version of her original “Sweet Love” with THEESatisfaction’s “Cabin Fever Sweet Love”.  I’m quite proud of it, and you can download it here.

(17)

alabamashakes

Boys & Girls by Alabama Shakes (2012)

(18)

The-Drums-Portamento-608x608

Portamento by The Drums (2011)

(19)

Keep it Like a Secret by Built to Spill (1999)

(20)

Tom Tom Club (1981)

20 Books for 2012:

(1)

White Teeth by Zadie Smith (a gateway book if there ever was one, see below)

(2)

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

(3)

Cathedral by Raymond Carver

(4)

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

(5)

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

(6)

The Floating Opera & The End of the Road by John Barth

(7)

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

(8)

Post Office by Charles Bukowski

(9)

Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor

(10)

Short Cuts by Raymond Carver (previously)

(11)

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan

(12)

NW by Zadie Smith

(13)

Goodbye, Columbus & Five Short Stories by Philip Roth

(14)

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D.T. Max

(15)

The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith

(16)

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

(17)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

(18)

Fear of Music by Jonathan Lethem

(19)

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

(20)

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

NOTE:  This list was originally written for the HCPL blog on 12/5/2012.  The links in the covers and the titles will direct you to each book’s record in HCPL’s catalog, from which you can reserve any of the above titles.  While all of the titles are currently available from HCPL, I still consider it a basically authentic list.  However, in the last few weeks, I did read DFW’s Girl With Curious Hair (which, incidentally, is not in HCPL’s system), as well as his posthumous essay collection, Both Flesh and Not (which is), both of which would have made the list had I made it today.

10 Trucks for 2012:

(1)

The Rice Box

(2)

Stick It

(3)

Bare Bowls

NOTE:  As co-founder of an aspiring food truck (slinging food for thought) myself, it has been important for us to acquaint ourselves with the food truck community.  A lot of that has been simply acquainting food truck food with our bellies for the past ten months straight, sort of feeling out behind the scenes who we want to work with, and where, all the while enjoying some of the best food in Houston.  The folks who run these first three trucks have not only embraced our project wholeheartedly and welcomed us into the community, but they also make some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.  The following seven aren’t too shabby either.  Actually, as a general rule, if you see a food truck in Houston, you should probably stop and try their food.

(4)

Ladybird

(5)

Bernie’s Burger Bus

(6)

Eatsie Boys

(7)

Pi Pizza Truck

(8)

Coreanos

(9)

Koagie Hots

(10)

Good Dog Hot Dogs

10 Restaurants for 2012:

(1)

Roost

(2)

Beaver’s

(3)

BRC Gastropub

(4)

Nabi (RIP)

(5)

Pollo Campero

(6)

Torchy’s Tacos

(7)

La Fendee Mediterranean Grill

(8)

La Guadalupana

(9)

Santa Fe Flats

(10)

Les Givral’s Kahve

Thanks for reading, and here’s to 2013.  Cheers.