2021 in Favorites

The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa was my favorite book that I read in 2021. It was originally published in 1994 in Japan, but an English translation (by Stephen Snyder) was released in 2019.

I think this book is a masterpiece. An allegory for fascism? Or Alzheimer’s disease? Or maybe just the existential dread of a finite and temporary world? Maybe. It’s also about humans taking care of each other in a hopeless situation. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful and feels exquisitely crafted.

Related: everything I read in 2021.


Ignorance by The Weather Station was my favorite record of 2021.

Here’s a quick and incomplete checklist of my musical preferences: driving percussions, piano melodies, lush string arrangements, talented female vocalists who slip into confident falsettos, and former child actresses.

Well, check, check, check, check, and check. This record was such a treat to listen to this year.


For two days, in the middle of the post-vaccine, pre-Delta summer, I decamped to a cabin in the New Jersey pine barrens to refresh four decade-old friendships with some long talks, very light hiking, and a lot of food. This was all orchestrated by my lovely, lovely wife and it was very, very appreciated.

This was my favorite and only trip of 2021.


I didn’t write much this year, but I did manage to keep my weekly writing cadence for Alt Text going until July. That is… not a terrible result.

0002 Glass and Steel (or maybe 0006 Hills) was my favorite piece of writing of 2021.


This photo of the treeline reflecting off the water at Trap Pond State Park is my favorite photograph of 2021.

A butterfly flew past at the moment that the shutter opened. The lens gathered just enough light to see the yellow markings on its wings. Most of my photographic success relies on chance.

The full resolution image is available for anyone to use at Unsplash.

The treeline reflecting off the water at Trap Pond State Park. White clouds in the blue sky. A butterfly floats past.