Every December since 2007 we have posted an annual list of our pop culture favorites. The University of Illinois Press Best of 2016 edition is in alphabetical order by staff member’s last name.

*****

Jenn Barbee, Accounts Payable
Best Book that I read this year:
The Midwife’s Revolt by Jody Daynard
Favorite CD/LP/music download: “Stay” by Tyler Ward (feat. Cody Johns)

Favorite Film seen this year:  Zootopia
Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead & Game of Thrones
Favorite live performance:  Didn’t get to see any this year
Website I visit every day: Pinterest

Angela Burton, Rights & Permissions Manager
Favorite Book: I finally read the first Harry Potter book. And, yes, it is very good.
Favorite CD: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Favorite Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Favorite TV Show: Difficult People; Later with Jools Holland
Favorite live performance: The C-U Penguin Project’s production of Aladdin Jr.; C-U Theater Company’s production of Oklahoma
Website I visit every day: New York Times

Marika Christofides, Assistant Acquisitions Editor
Favorite Book: Marjorie Liu – Monstress (comic book series)
Favorite CD: Frank Ocean – Blonde
Favorite Film: The Wailing

Favorite TV Show: a tossup between Difficult People, You’re the Worst, and Crazy ex-Girlfriend
Favorite live performance: The Minotaur at the Krannert Center
Favorite Podcast: The Secret Ingredient
Website I visit everyday: The Financial Diet (a love-hate relationship)

Kevin Cunningham, Copywriter and Catalog Coordinator
Favorite Book: Simon Sebag Montefiore – The Romanovs
Favorite live performance/TV show: World Series, Game 7

Favorite Film: Arrival
and the first 2/3rds of Birdman; for inspiration by insane people: Jodorowsky’s Dune

Leslie DeLucia, Database Administrator
Book: Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series
Artist: JJ Grey & Mofro, “The Sweetest Thing” featuring Toots Hibbert
TV show: Chance, with Hugh Laurie

Live performance: “A Christmas Carol,” American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco (excellent), Lupe Fiasco, Canopy Club, Urbana, IL, October, 2016

Dawn Durante, Acquisitions Editor
Favorite Fiction Book: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, 2016)
Favorite Non-Fiction Book: Wendy Gamber’s The Notorious Mrs. Clem: Murder and Money in the Gilded Age (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016)
Catchiest music download: Drake’s “Hotline Bling”
Favorite Film: Can I just say that Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising was SO MUCH better then Neighbors.

Favorite TV Shows: Westworld (HBO), Luke Cage (Netflix Original), Conviction (ABC)
Favorite live performance: “A Conversation with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor” at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

James Engelhardt, Acquisitions Editor
Favorite live performance: Taste of CU (my first, if you will, taste of CU as a festive place)
Favorite podcasts: Stuff You Missed in History, Backstory, Garrett’s Games and Geekiness
Favorite parks: Fox Ridge State Park, Eisner Park
Favorite games: Scythe, Via Nebula, Oh, My Goods!

Julie Laut, Acquisitions Associate
Favorite Books: Nutshell by Ian McEwan, and Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Favorite CD: Leonard Cohen, You Want it Darker

Favorite Films / Comedy: Ghostbusters / Sci-Fi: Arrival / Drama: Queen of Katwe
Favorite TV Shows / For the whole family: Stranger Things (Netflix) / For the older members of the family: Westworld (HBO)
Favorite classic recipe newly discovered: Creamy Mac and Cheese
Favorite podcast: Hidden Brain
Favorite podcast episode: This American Life #599 (Oct. 23) “Seriously?”
Favorite new local business: Riggs Brewery, Urbana

Danny Nasset, Senior Acquisitions Editor
Favorite Book: A couple histories I enjoyed were The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve and Just around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination. While no 2016 novel thoroughly impressed me (Cathleen Schine’s They May Not Mean to, But They Do was the closest), I read Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano for the first time and now count it among my favorites.
Favorite album: Angel Olsen’s My Woman. A handful of Thelonious Monk records I was lucky enough to stumble across during a conference trip to Minneapolis have been one of 2016’s great pleasures. Thank you Electric Fetus.

Favorite Film: I narrowed it down to four of my favorites: Youth, Certain Women, Embrace of the Serpent, and The Wailing.
Favorite TV Show: Westworld (and to continue the HBO streaming lovefest, Vice News has become part of my routine)
Website I visit every day: The Guardian and NY Times mark my everyday stops, but I really like Brain Pickings, especially as an antidote to the depressing state of the year’s headlines. (Here’s to 2016…)

Michael Roux, Marketing and Sales Manager
Favorite CD: Michael Kiwanuka – Love And Hate

Favorite Film: Don’t Think Twice
Favorite TV Shows: Westworld, All In With Chris Hayes
Favorite live performance: Father John Misty, Champaign, IL, April 17, 2016
Website I visited every day leading up to the election:  538

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