Every December since 2007 we have posted an annual list of our pop culture favorites. The University of Illinois Press Best of 2017 edition is in alphabetical order by staff member’s last name.

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Angela Burton, Rights & Permissions/Awards Manager
Favorite Book: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
Favorite music: Not Dark Yet by Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer
Favorite Film: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman – Official Trailer from 2WEI Music on Vimeo.
Favorite TV Show: All In with Chris Hayes; Future Man
Favorite live performance: Jason Moran and the Big Bandwagon, In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, Krannert Center, Nov. 14, 2017
Website I visit almost every day: Longreads.com; New York Times
Favorite Podcast: Revisionist History


Marika Christofides, Associate Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Book: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – part of her Broken Earth trilogy
Favorite music: Everyone Else by Slothrust
Favorite Film: Dolores, a documentary about Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association
Favorite TV Show: The Good Place, Lady Dynamite, Insecure, probably more that I can’t remember!

Insecure Official Season 2 Trailer from Jamaz Hall on Vimeo.
Website I visit every day: I am a late adopter of Pinterest
Favorite Podcast: Drawing a Dialogue, a podcast discussing comics in historical + educational contexts


Kevin Cunningham, Copywriter and Catalog Coordinator

Favorite Book: Andrew DeGraff – Plotted: A Literary Atlas
Favorite music: Miles Davis – Jack Johnson

Favorite Film: Twin Peaks: The Return
Favorite TV Show: (tie) The Americans and Blackhawks hockey
Website I visit every day: Gizmodo
Favorite board game: Survive! Escape from Atlantis
Favorite rediscovered candy: Brach’s Royals


Dawn Durante, Senior Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Book: Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes (Europa Editions, 2017)
Favorite Film: Wonder Woman
Favorite TV Shows: The Walking Dead, The Good Place


Favorite live performance: Madeleine Peyroux, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, September 23, 2017
Website I visit every day: Black Perspectives, published by the African American Intellectual History Society
Favorite Podcast: Bronzeville


Heather Gernenz, Publicity Manager

Favorite Short Story Collection: Carmen Maria Machado-Her Body and Other Parties
Favorite Nonfiction book: Yuval Noah Harari-Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Favorite Novel: Min Jin Lee-Pachinko
Favorite Album: Angus and Julia Stone-Snow


Favorite Film: Lady Bird
Favorite TV Show: The Handmaid’s Tale
Favorite live performance: The Pretty Reckless May 9, 2017 Live in Peoria, IL
Favorite Podcast: Invisibilia


Julie Laut, Outreach & Development Coordinator
Favorite Book:
Memoir/Essays – Hunger: A Memoir by Roxane Gay; Literature – Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Favorite Films: Horror – Get Out; Comedy – The Big Sick; Guilty Pleasure – Wonder Woman
Favorite TV Shows: Drama – Alias Grace; BBC detectives – Broadchurch series 3

Favorite live performance: Stephen Wade performing “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” Saturday, December 2, 2017, at AMP
Favorite Podcast: “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” (Favorite podcast episode this year: Mini-Season Ep 5: To Michael)


Michael Roux, Marketing and Sales Manager

Favorite LP:  Wolf People – Ruins, Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

Favorite Film:  Lion
Favorite TV Shows:  All In with Chris Hayes
Favorite live performance:  Tom Petty, Champaign, IL – May 10, 2017
Website I visit every day: Vox.com
Favorite Podcasts: The Weeds; Take Ten


Alison Syring, Assistant Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Fiction Book: Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex. Finally read it and LOVED it. Then read his other books in quick succession. This is still my favorite.
Favorite music: Andra Day – Cheers to the Fall


Favorite Film: The Handmaiden
Favorite TV Show: Insecure and The Deuce on HBO, and Stranger Things on Netflix
Favorite live performance: Daniel Tosh at the State Farm Center
Website I visit every day: https://www.washingtonpost.com/ – Still my favorite news source, even after leaving the DC area!
Favorite Podcast: Lore, Uncivil, and an embarrassing number of true crime podcasts. My favorite this year was Undisclosed’s coverage of Freddie Gray’s shooting in Baltimore.

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