And so I present my totals for media consumption last year. (See what I mean about putting things off...)
Books (including completed multi-chapter fanfic):
It was a very good year for book-reading for me, probably due partly to my light work schedule since moving to Seattle. (Some may find my standards low. I admit I am not a fast reader.)
Remembering the Kana by James W. Heisig - This book has been a valuable resource to me for learning the hiragana and katakana syllabaries and really jump-started my Japanese language learning this year.
House of Crows by SilverShine - This is one of four Naruto fanfictions I read by this author this year (two are works in progress and therefore not included on the list). It's one of those addictive kinds of stories that you just cannot stop reading. I really love the way this author fleshes out the world and characters in her stories and builds great plots that seem like a natural extension of the canon—if a bit darker, more mature, sexier, and more friendly to female characters and romantic subplots. Basically, it's what good fanfic should be.
Republic, Lost by Lawrence Lessig - I've already written about this book in a previous entry, so I won't say much more. It's a very timely and important message, delivered in a way that's cogent and entertaining.
5 new as audio but familiar as books
This is a new category I added this year. I have listened to audiobooks in the past (mostly the Harry Potter books over and over again), but this year I listened to a substantial amount. I've found it's a great way to get boring chores like laundry and dishes done—just pop on my headsets and listen while I work!
I love all the re-listens and familiar books I listened to this year, but I think the most noteworthy books in this category would be those from the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, since this was my first encounter with them. I don't know if it's fair to say I “enjoyed” the books exactly. These stories are dark, violent, and emotionally intense. But I couldn't put them down, and after I was done, I felt compelled to seek out fandom-y stuff for them—so that should tell you quite a bit about how I responded to them. I am certainly looking forward to the next installment.
17 titles total – 2 new or stand-alone, 14 continuing, 1 ending
36 volumes total
This was a low year for manga. Not sure why exactly. There are several series on this year's list that were being published by Tokyopop, so even though those stories are not complete, I don't anticipate being able to continue them anytime soon, unless by some miracle another publisher picks them up. (A possible exception is Gakuen Alice, which I'm pretty sure has scanlations online. I might go digging them up if it remains in limbo much longer.)
Noteworthy manga/graphic novels:
Gakuen Alice vol. 14-15 - This story continues to hold my attention. If only another publisher would pick it up!
Story of Saiunkoku vol. 1-3 - A familiar story to me thanks to the anime, but I think I'm going to like the manga even better. In the three volumes I've read so far, I've been quite impressed.
Rasetsu vol. 5-8 - I've been enjoying this series more and mare as it starts to give more depth to the supporting cast.
Sand Chronicles vol. 8-10 (end) - A satisfying finale to a well-told coming-of-age story. I'm glad it followed the characters a bit into young adulthood.
Movies (including feature-length anime):
Movie-watching is way down this year, mainly due to having to cancel Netflix after I quit my job.
There were several big-name theatrical releases and DVD releases that I watched this year—including the two parts of Deathly Hallows—which I certainly enjoyed, but don't have much to say about at the moment.
The Secret of Kells – This is a beautiful animated film that I watched early in 2011 on connielane's recommendation. Elegant, moving, and very much worth the brief running time (less than an hour and a half).
They Were Eleven - This is an older (1970s) anime film, a space adventure/thriller with a hint of romance, that I first heard of at a convention panel by Anime World Order (a well-known anime podcast group). It was touted as a story with feminist leanings and a fore-runner of shojo manga, so I was intrigued. I watched about half the film at a convention viewing room (at a different con), but had to leave early due to circumstances beyond my control. Right before I left there was a plot twist that kind of threw me for a loop and made me question whether I wanted to finish watching the film or not. However, I researched a bit online and came across a review of the film that addressed that plot twist and made me decide to give it another chance. I'm glad I did, because in the end I really enjoyed the film as a whole, and I think it will probably remain one of my all-time favorites.
English Language TV:
10 titles total – 4 continuing, 5 new, 1 ending
116 episodes (counting each season of The Guild as one episode)
Noteworthy TV series:
After the end of season 7, I quit watching House, MD. I just wasn't enjoying the show anymore. I tried to pick up some new shows (Revenge and Once Upon a Time) to take its place, but ultimately couldn't get into them. Besides Glee, which I think improved quite a bit last year, the shows I enjoyed the most in 2011 were all outside the realm of US network television.
The Guild, seasons 1-4 - I believe this is my first web-based TV series. It's a bit raunchy for my taste at times, but it's still entertaining, and often painfully true-to-life—at least to a geek like me. (Although I'm not a gamer, many of the, um, issues the characters face are applicable to other kinds of geekery.)
Sherlock season 1, ep. 1-3 - LOVE this show. I think this modern transformation of Sherlock Holmes is just incredibly clever, and I have a huge crush on Martin Freeman. (Looking forward to The Hobbit, obv.)
Game of Thrones, season 1, ep. 1-10 - While there are aspects of the TV adaptation that I am less than thrilled with, overall I thought it was pretty good. The cast is great, and the visual representation of the world is well-designed.
3 titles total – 1 continuing, 2 new
Not much for anime this year. This may be partly due to lack of Netflix, but I think it also has something to do with getting a little tired of some anime tropes. In some ways, I kind of needed a break from the genre.
Both were Orlando Shakespeare Theater productions: A Midsummer Night's Dream and Pride and Prejudice. Both well-done, though I didn't love them as much as I loved 2010's Merchant of Venice.