Every December since 2007 we have posted an annual list of our pop culture favorites. The University of Illinois Press Best of 2015 edition is in alphabetical order by staff member’s last name.

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Jenn Barbee, Accounts Payable
Favorite Book: Second Sons Trilogy (Lion of Senet, Eye of the Labyrinth, & Lord of the Shadows)
Favorite CD: Adele 25
Favorite Film: Minions Movie
Favorite TV Show: Awkward


Favorite recipe: Turkey Taco Soup
Website I visit every day: Pinterest


Brigette Brown, Assistant Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Book: Satantango by László Krasznahorkai (winner of the Man Booker Int’l Prize 2015)
Favorite Film: Stations of the Cross directed by Dietrich Brüggemann

Favorite TV Show: Rick and Morty
Favorite Game: Ori and the Blind Forest


Angela Burton, Rights & Permissions Manager

Favorite Book: Room by Emma Donoghue
Favorite Book/CD I Just Ordered and Can’t Wait to Get (but it is coming via Media Mail, alas): Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line by Henry Glassie, Clifford R. Murphy, and Douglas Dowling Peach
Favorite CD: Coming Forth by Day by Cassandra Wilson

Favorite Film: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Favorite TV Show: Please Like Me
Favorite live performance: RB Morris with Greg Horne, Sandwich Life House Concert, Champaign, October 16
Website I visit every day: politico.com


Marika Christofides, Assistant Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Book: I don’t think I read even one new book this year! So, Roz Chast – Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir (2014) and Louise Erdrich – The Round House (2013)
Favorite CD:  Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park 2013), Marina and the Diamonds – Froot (2015)

Favorite Film: Damian Szifron – Wild Tales (Relatos salvajez) (2014). From IMDB: “Six short stories involving distressed people.” A feat of dramatic escalation and comedic timing.
Favorite TV Show: The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt


Website I visit every day: http://www.budgetbytes.com/ for those who don’t know how to cook that well, love cooking, and hate spending money. Just kidding, it’s this: http://happymen-largerabbits.tumblr.com/


Alexa Colella, Journals Marketing Manager
Favorite Book:
right now I’m really loving one of ours. Ghost Stories for Darwin. Otherwise always and forever Harry Potter. But they aren’t new.
Favorite CD/LP/music download:
right now we’re listening to a lot of Charlie Brown Christmas. But I didn’t buy/download any music this past year.
Favorite Film:
The Force Awakens, obviously.
Favorite TV Show:
Agents of Shield or Gotham

Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.:
haven’t seen any. Though, a good friend is a comedian, I always like his stuff. His name is John Cessna .
Website I visit every day:
againstallgrain.com Clyde (journals manager) gave me the link when I had to make some major dietary changes and it has been a life saver.


Kevin Cunningham, Copywriter and Catalog Coordinator

Favorite Book: “Deadwood,” by Pete Dexter
Favorite film: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Favorite TV Show: Hockey games
Favorite Osmond: Jay (the forgotten Osmond)
Favorite accomplishment: Being declared competent to play dress up dolls
Favorite conspiracy: Chemtrails
Favorite human folly: that giant boring machine that is stuck under Seattle


Kristen Dean-Grossmann, Journals Production Editor

Favorite Book: Bettyville by George Hodgman
Favorite Film: Brooklyn


Favorite Live Performance: Little Feat at the Pageant, St. Louis, May 23, 2015


Dawn Durante, Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Book: The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
Catchiest Music Download: “Can’t Feel My Face” by the Weeknd

Favorite Podcast: Grantland’s The Right Reasons (sadly, ESPN shut down Grantland, and this pop culture podcast with it)
Favorite Film: Jurassic World
Favorite TV Comedy: The Grinder
Favorite TV Drama: UnREAL
Favorite Live Performance: David Sedaris at the Virginia Theater
Favorite TV-aired Performance: Anne Hathaway’s Lip Sync of “Wrecking Ball” (watch until 1:30 at least)


Steve Fast, Publicity Manager

Favorite Book: Jon Ronson – So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
Favorite CD/LP/music download: Cage the Elephant – Tell Me I’m Pretty


Fidlar – Too
Favorite Film: Furious 7 (aka Fast & Furious 7). This is what Edward D. Wood, Jr. would have done if he had been given 190 million dollars to make a film. It is a unique piece of cinema that cannot, will not and should not ever be repeated.
Favorite TV Show: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; NLDS Game 4 (Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals)
Favorite live performance: X at City Winery, Chicago, IL (still great, even without the ailing Billy Zoom), Elvis Costello and the Imposters at Overture Hall, Madison, WI
Websites I visit frequently, but probably not every day: dangerousminds.net; SecondCityHockey.com


Michael Roux, Marketing Manager

Favorite CD: Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear


Favorite Film: Sicario
Favorite TV Show: The Americans
Favorite Live Performance: Joanna Newsom at the Chicago Theater, December 16, 2015

Website I visit every day during fantasy football season: profootballtalk.com

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