To close out the year, here are some of the things I most enjoyed in 2018! (Find previous years here.)
- The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich
- Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis
- Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
- The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative by Rolena Adorno
- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
- Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
- Lili Loofbourow on the female price of male pleasure and again on the incivility of anger
- B.D. McClay on Ash Wednesday & Valentine’s Day
- Kyle Chayka on algorithmic style
- Daniel Immerwahr on the Avengers
- Elizabeth Bruenig on work as church
Film & TV
- Capitu directed by Luiz Fernando Carvalho
- Annihilation directed by Alex Garland
- Gran Hotel created by Ramón Campos, Gema R. Neira, & Carlos Sedes
- Call the Midwife created by Heidi Thomas
- Sorry to Bother You directed by Boots Riley
- Bonus: they belonged culturally to last year, but I watched Lady Bird directed by Greta Gerwig and The Shape of Water directed by Guillermo del Toro back in January and loved both.
- “Zaire ′74: The Most Misunderstood Team in History,” We Came to Win
- Border Trilogy, Radiolab (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Articles of Interest, 99% Invisible
- “Freedom and Hostile Design,” Hi-Phi Nation
- “One Nation, Under Money,” More Perfect
- “Austenistan,” Rough Translation
- “The Rezneck Riders,” The New Yorker Radio Hour
- “The Water Is Wide,” Threshold
- Bonus: I binge-listened the entirety of The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong in March and it’s not perfect, but any podcast with this number of potshots at Aristotle is an instant classic.
- The Wolves
February 18, 2018
Studio Theatre, Washington, D.C.
- Love’s a Bitch (Don Gil de las calzas verdes)
February 23, 2018
Ruth Caplin Theatre, Charlottesville, Virginia
- P!nk: Beautiful Trauma Tour
April 19, 2018
John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia
May 14 and June 8, 2018
American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, Virginia
- Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
July 11, 2018
Neil Simon Theatre, New York, NY
- Virgil Boutellis-Taft & Anna Polonsky
December 16, 2018
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
- Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Reflections: Native Art Across Generations
The Fralin Museum of Art, Charlottesville, Virginia
- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse
Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.
- Permanent Redirect
- Permanent collection
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
- Painted in Mexico / Pinxit Mexici: 1700–1790
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Things I made
- “A Name Which No One Knows” in Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds: Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church, edited by Eve Tushnet (technically I wrote this in 2015, but it was published this year)
- Reviews of the #MetHeavenlyBodies gala and exhibit
- A trove of notes on Bartolomé de las Casas, which manifested itself publicly as this ode to decency in Mere Orthodoxy and this edition of my newsletter, Cartas de América
- “Writing in Public (on Purpose),” a guest lecture on digital identity at Washington & Lee University
- “Cowboy, Engineer, Saint: On the trail with St. José Brochero,” America
- This newsletter on indigenous nuns and this one on better hagiographies
- My informal intro to Latin American studies, part 1 and part 2
- Bonus: most of what I wrote this year was not-yet-published academic stuff. If you’re interested in reading my analysis of critical readings of landmark 15th-century Catalan chess poem “Scachs d’Amor,” my epic bibliographic study of Afro-Chinese Cuban communist poet Regino Pedroso, or my review of this black & indigenous Brazilian frontier history, hit me up.
Moments I had
- After two years of studying, I passed my M.A. comprehensive exams!
- I had my first radio appearance.
- I graduated.
- I got mentioned in the New York Times, which I will go ahead and admit was totally a bucket list item.
- I got to show my sister around Barcelona and Madrid!
- I taught a course of my own design (more or less) for the first time, which was incredibly fun. Shout out to my summer SPAN 1020 students!!
- I passed my Catalan reading exam, which believe it or not, I’ve been working slowly toward for eight years.
- I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time.