My Great Finds of 2012

A day behind but just as committed to keeping up this weekly Kuhnspiration challenge throughout the rest of the year. By the time this year ends, I will have posed 52 different questions – some personal and introspective, others completely pointless but fun to ponder…about everything from breakups and family memories to great vacations and dream dinner party guests.

This last week, I posed a question that asks you (and me) to take a look back at the year and celebrate great finds. Specifically, I asked:
What great discoveries did you make this year? (whether it’s a rock band, a new TV show you finally watched, an author, hobby, cuisine, etc.)

I explored a lot of new artists across media this year.

MUSIC
In music, bought my first Black Keys and quickly became addicted. Have since discovered the Avett Brothers courtesy of one fabulous author Colleen Hoover who introduced them to me throughout her wonderful book Slammed. I also loaded up on old David Gray CDs like crazy, and boy, was I happy about that. He’s become one of my greatest musical muses for writing…so thank you, David!

TV
Made a lot of great discoveries in TV this year — in particular, Walking Dead, which I was slow to the party in experiencing but once I did, I couldn’t get enough of it and caught up on all previous episodes in about a week’s time!  I was also thrilled to see really GOOD music-infused shows hit the little screen like Smashed and Nashville, two new shows who had better soundtracks in my opinion than most movies at the box office! This summer, I finally checked out The Tudors (all of my fellow Anglophiles told me I would love it, and they were so right. (I’ve already purchased all four seasons for my own collection, by the way, after watching them all summer long…thank you, ShowTime!) Not to mention I found my latest schoolgirl crush in Hollywood…they come along every few years or so… years ago, it was Alec Baldwin… then Noah Wiley…then George Clooney……and Aaron Eckhart…Viggo Mortinsen… now, my latest crush? Mr. Henry Cavill. Mmm. Introduced him in my recent blog about MY Top 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year (not him specifically, but the fact that he is my ideal choice for nabbing the part of THE Mr. Christian Grey).

MOVIES/ACTORS
Not too many huge discoveries here, although I will say that this is the first year that I finally “got” the big deal about Ryan Gosling. Any of my swooning girlfriends would swear that he was truly their favorite movie ‘stud” and I never understood that. Then, I finally watched The Notebook (yeah, I take a while to see this stuff sometimes…) and after seeing that, and Ides of March, okay, I finally get it. As far as great charismatic acting goes (looks are fine but not the key motivation), I was pleasantly surprised to discover Daniel Craig as James Bond (I did not see his first 2 as the character) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a few great performances from this year and some past movies that I happened to see including 50/50, a performance that really knocked my socks off. I will no longer look at this actor as the boy from that mediocre 90s sitcom that I didn’t watch. I will now seek out his movies.

BOOKS/AUTHORS
I never dreamt that I would even have this category listed this year. The biggest reading find for me in 2012 was… ME! I used to be an avid reader – as a kid and a college student in classic literature, plays and philosophers’ teachings. Then I grew up and found myself lacking interest in fiction – so I became a big reader of humorists, essayists and film personality biographies. But then after my work became more focused on writing, I stopped reading anything but magazines and newspapers. I didn’t have the patience, time or interest anymore – not even in non-fiction. Finally, a few years back, the Twilight Series changed all of that and I slowly crawled back into reading, checking out the Hunger Games Trilogy, beginning the Harry Potter series (ever so slowly) and the recommended book here and there like Time Traveler’s Wife, etc. But THIS YEAR, 2012… I truly found books again in a way that I had not before, and I attribute it to two main reasons — an unquenchable desire to write my own book and yep, E.L. James. Now, I have a disclaimer here first – Fifty Shades of Grey was not my favorite book that I read this year (nor were her sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) yet I will admit that I read all of them multiple times. What they did do however was lead me to a genre that really tapped into a mindset and character studies about people that I wanted to know and meet, stirred up emotions and feelings that these other books I had been reading weren’t able to do — and best of all, she led me to some authors who I actually enjoyed more, but had I not read and enjoyed her series, I would never have discovered them as well. Hell, in the past 3 months alone, I’ve read 17 of these books and many of them at least a second time!

  BooksAndBooksHeader

I hit upon some of the authors also in that same 10 Most Fascinating People blog — authors like Sylvain Reynard, Colleen Hoover, Tammara Webber, M. Leighton, S.C. Stephens, Jamie McGuire and others. Best of all, many of these are also authors who are fans and friends of Ms. James and vice versa – it is quite a supportive community and as an aspiring author heading into the contemporary romance realm next year, at least with my first book, I find that part most encouraging of all.

MISC – HOBBIES/FOOD/PLACES
Some other great finds this year for me personally —- well, I’ve really explored Thai cuisine more than ever, even going beyond my usual order of Pad Thai Tofu, and getting more adventurous to order more curries like Panang Curry more frequently. I haven’t really picked up any new hobbies in 2012 besides reading non-stop but did get to attend some events for the first time that I really enjoyed including the Florida Strawberry Festival (yep, it was my first time ever in 2012)…

StrawberryFest…as well as the Gasparilla Film Festival (a lot of fun) and the Greek Festival in Clearwater in the fall. I had always gone to a smaller Tampa event and was amazed at  how huge and well-orchestrated the Clearwater folks did with their event! Okay, I guess this was a milestone year for me for one hobby – I do like my wine and I have always been a white wine drinker, gravitating toward the sweet ones like Moscato and Riesling and the occasional sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio. But in 2012, especially during my late-night reading marathons, I became a big fan of…wait for it…of all things…MERLOT. I don’t know how it happened, I never saw that coming, but now that is my wine of choice when I read late at night. Go figure. Still determining my favorite brands. I welcome suggestions, by the way (keep in mind my budget is under $15/bottle please!)

So what about you? What were some great personal finds and discoveries that you made in 2012? I’d love to hear your list!  And as always, thanks for reading…

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
~Chris

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2 Comments

  1. […] books this year than ever before, but if I had to single out my favorite that I READ this year (and I highlighted quite a few of them recently in another blog), not that necessarily came out this year…it would be The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I […]

  2. […] My Great Finds of 2012 (Dec. 10) […]


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