A slightly early happy and healthy New Year!

As I have done for quite a few years, here are some of the experiences I enjoyed this past year: what I listened to, what I read, what I watched, and more.


The best books I read this year:


  • The Last Folk Hero: Life and Myth of Bo Jackson by Jeff Pearlman
  • A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2013-2020) by David Sedaris
  • Transister: Raising Twins in a Gender-bending World by Kate Brookes (note: Kate is a friend of mine, but this is a great, and important, book)
  • Black Ball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and the Generation that Saved the Soul of the NBA by Theresa Runstedtler
  • Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran
  • Siren Song: My Life in Music by Seymour Stein


  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz

To keep up with current events, I scan three news apps and two sports apps every morning, and regularly read a few newsletters, my favorite of which are “Axios AM,” and “Axios PM,” Dave Pell’s Next Draft.


I watched a fair amount of TV during the year, and then quite a bit in December when I was recuperating from a medical procedure. (And on the subject of gratitude, I am tremendously grateful for modern science, for the medical professionals who helped me, for my friends, and for my amazing wife and kids who helped me more than I ever could imagine needing to be helped.)

I will stop watching a show if I don’t like it, so rather than listing my favorites, these were the ones I watched, all of which I enjoyed:

  • the final seasons of Peaky Blinders, Billions, Winning Time, The Crown, and Succession
  • the mini-series Shantaram (based on a book I read and enjoyed many years ago)
  • season 1 of The Last of Us
  • season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive (I knew nothing about Formula 1 racing before I started watching this series a few years ago)
  • season 1 of Break Point (I’m a big fan of professional tennis)
  • season 1 of Full Swing (even though I don’t particularly follow professional golf)
  • season 2 of the Bear
  • season 2 of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy
  • the limited series Jury Duty
  • season 3 of the very quirky How to With John Wilson
  • season 3 of Lupin
  • the limited series Beckham
  • season 5 of Black Mirror
  • season 2 of America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston (likely the most relaxing show I have ever watched)
  • the mini-series Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World
  • the Offer (the limited series based on the making of the Godfather, my all-time favorite movie – and the favorite movie of countless other people)
  • the mini-series, Lessons in Chemistry
  • the Ken Burns documentary series, The U.S. and the Holocaust
  • season 1 of The Night Agent
  • season 5 of Fargo (it airs once a week; more than half of the episodes have aired thus far)
  • The documentary, Bye Bye Barry (football fans: the greatness, and humbleness of Barry Sanders: wow, amazing)
  • season 1 of Wednesday
  • season 2 of Reacher (it airs once a week; half of the episodes have aired thus far)

We only went to one or two movies in theaters this year, but streamed some good ones, including: 

  • Armageddon Time
  • She Said
  • Oppenheimer
  • the Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (and 3 more quirky Wes Anderson films based on Roald Dahl short stories)
  • Gran Turismo

and the documentaries:

  • Albert Brooks: Defending My Life
  • Reggie
  • Navalny
  • It Ain’t Over (about Yogi Berra)

Listening (to Music)

My favorite new albums this year (with the name of the artists in parenthesis):

Bird Machine (Sparklehorse), Proof of Life (Joy Oladokun), Heaven is a Junkyard (Youth Lagoon), Lucky for You (Bully), and The Record (Boy Genius).

I listen to new music more than anything else. According to Spotify, my most listened-to artists included several I mentioned above: Bully, Sparklehorse, and Joy Oladokun, plus Anna Tivel and Margo Price, and my top songs included two from Youth Lagoon, and one from Begonia.

This Spotify playlist contains my favorite 2023 songs, including some from the albums listed above. There was so much great new music this year. I am also linking to this much longer Spotify list with more 2023 favorites of mine, many of which almost made it to the first list.

Listening (to Podcasts)

The links I have included are for the Apple podcast app. I imagine you can find most of these wherever you listen to podcasts.

This is the second year I listened to A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs. I’ve listened to every episode since I began last year with episode 99. It’s incredibly well researched and extremely interesting.

I have been enjoying a brand new podcast called The Puzzler. I have enjoyed every book by A. J. Jacobs, the co-creator of this podcast of fun, short, word games that comes out five days each week.

I also enjoy Heavyweight, a unique podcast where the host helps real people try to resolve long-time, bothersome, mostly relationship issues in their lives. I listened to it on Spotify, until it recently became available on Apple.

Newsworthy is a 10-minute daily podcast about the news of the day. I listen weekly to This American Life. Fresh Air has a wide range of interviews, many of which I listen to. Mike Pesca’s almost-daily, The Gist is excellent. I also listen to most of the episodes of the music podcasts: Broken Record, Hit Parade, and All Songs Considered.


Trips with family and friends, and to visit family and friends, are my single favorite thing to do. This year, we visited family and friends in Florida, Las Vegas, Arizona, Ann Arbor (MI), California, Portland (OR), Tacoma (WA), Montreal, and London. We added a wonderful vacation in Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam to the London trip.


I’ve always enjoyed making lists. Going back as long as I can remember, I have made lists of my favorite movies, books, and music (and within music, my favorite artists, albums, songs, and concerts).

I’ve often recommended making lists to help you to “Be Happy” – lists of what you are grateful for, what makes you smile, and your accomplishments. When I started posting these annual reviews, I realized they fit with the weekly happiness lists: Looking back at all I’ve learned, experienced, and enjoyed gives me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of gratitude, and makes me smile.

What did you read, watch, learn, enjoy? What are you grateful about?

My best regards for happiness, peace, and health for you and your loved ones in 2024,