(I asked the Infinite Guest hosts a few questions about 2014. They answered. First up: A Tiny Sense Of Accomplishment‘s Jess Walter.)
In some ways 2014 felt like a year of anxious dread, almost like the establishing scenes in a movie about the apocalypse. Riots over police brutality against black suspects, dire warnings about the environment, an economy that still feels shaky, the threat of ISIS in a still-destabilized Iraq and Syria … it’s not just that it’s been a scary year. It’s that the year ends with so much feeling unresolved.
So maybe it’s strange to do that end-of-the-year thing, picking a favorite movie and book of the year. But great art is great art. I loved Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. I thought it revealed the basic artifice of movies through naturalism, and that great unused element, time. It’s incredibly moving to watch the actors actually age over the twelve years that he made it. It also has a great soundtrack. There were any number of books I loved in 2014, starting with Jenny Offill’s wry, sad, minimalist novel, The Dept. of Speculation. The best sandwich of 2014 was a tuna melt I ate in Austin, Texas at 3 a.m.