University of Illinois Press: Best of 2008

Willis Regier, Director
Favorite Book: Julian Barnes – Nothing to Be Frightened Of
Barnes’s book looks at old questions about how to live with death and dying.  He has short narratives on the deaths of the famous and forgotten, with thoughts about the various stances religion and philosophy have taken about death.   Barnes accepts death as final, thus more serious than it would be for those who think it is a door to an afterlife.

Favorite CD: David Byrne and Brian Eno Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
I was pleased by Blitzen Trapper’s Furr, Lucinda’s Little Honey,  and (thanks to Steve Lehmann) Christian Tetzlaff’s re-release of Bach, Sonatas & Partitas.   But after all, Everything that Happens Will Happen Today is brand new and got the most play at my place.  It is Byrne’s best since Stop Making Sense (way back in 1984), and makes me think better of Eno.  The CD is smart, brisk, tuneful, and full of homages to gospel in all its varied splendor.

Favorite Movie: Ironman
I expected The Dark Knight or Quantum of Solace would triumph, but both disappointed me.  Three demerits for The Dark Knight :  the casting of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes; the somnambulist performance of Christian Bale; and the stupid twist of the story line at the end, announcing that Batman must be perceived as a villain in order to do good.  I’ve nothing to add to criticisms of Quantum of Solace :  good but not great.  Ironman wins for plot, dialogue, special effects, and wit.  No other movie was as well balanced as this was.

Favorite TV Show: The Daily Show
Honestly the best.  So good when it’s good that its many mediocrities don’t matter.

Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: MET Live, performing Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, via satellite, Savoy Theaters.

Robert Lepage’s production is visually stunning, not only because every scene shouts “I AM EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE.”   It featured a passable Faust (Marcello Giordani), but superb Marguerite (Susan Graham), and Mephistopheles (John Relyea).

Lisa Savage, Journals Production Editor
Favorite Book: Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth
Favorite CD: The Watson Twins, Fire Songs; Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Favorite Movie: The Dark Knight; Young@Heart
Favorite TV Show: 30 Rock, The Office, Mad Men, The Daily Show, Flight of the Conchords, Top Chef
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: Wicked, Oriental Theatre, Chicago
Favorite local event: The Esquire’s “12 Beers of Christmas”
Favorite moment of the 2008 presidential election: Tina Fey’s brilliant impression of Sarah Palin. “Are we not doing the talent portion?”
Person I most wish would disappear into oblivion in 2009: A certain former beauty queen from Alaska.

Cope Cumpston, Art Director
Favorite Book: Elizabeth Hay – Late Nights on Air
Favorite CD: Nellie McKay – Hungry Mouse
Favorite Movie: The Fall
2nd Favorite Movie: Man on Wire – I saw both of these movies twice in one week, which is first in a lifetime for me . . .
Favorite live performance – Dottie and the Rails (local country band, Angela Burton’s husband plays guitar, the age span is something like 30 – 75)

Clydette Wantland, Journals Manager
Favorite TV Shows: Project Runway, Criminal Minds
Favorite Sport to Watch:  NCAA Basketball
Favorite College Basketball Team: Duke
All Time Favorite Movie:  A Star is Born (Streisand version)
Favorite Live Performance: REO Speedwagon (all 7 times!)

Will Ridenour, Programmer, Electronic Publications
Favorite Book: Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks
Favorite CD: Four Vagabonds, Vol. 1: 1941-1951
Favorite Movie: The Visitor
Favorite TV Show: Boston Legal
Favorite Live Performance: The Lieutenant of Inishmore at Urbana’s Station Theatre

Jim Proefrock, Media/Communications Specialist (Stealth Mode)
Favorite Book(s): J. Maarten Troost – The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific (2004) and Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu (2006). These are best enjoyed back-to-back. I don’t read much, so I feel fortunate to even be able to respond to this category.

Favorite UIP Book: Steven K. Ashby and C.J. Hawking – Staley: The Fight for a New American Labor Movement (2009). I’m certainly not in the habit of reading books while in the process of typesetting them, but this one kept pulling me in. Fascinating. I hope it does well for us outside of Decatur.

Favorite CD: I haven’t bought a CD since iTunes was invented. In lieu, some favorite singles: The Ting Tings – “Great DJ”; Santogold – “Lights Out”; Heiruspecs – “Get Up.” No, wait, these are my 8-year-old’s favorite songs! Ok, ok, they’re mine, too.

Favorite TV Show: Chuck

Favorite Live Performance: X at the Cabooze in Minneapolis. This was called the “13-31 Tour,” but a better name would have been the “401k Tour.” These oldsters can still bring it. Truly inspiring.

Favorite Fishin’ Hole: Little Falls Lake, Willow River State Park, Hudson Wisconsin.

Barbara Evans, Assistant Production Manager
Author: Ken Bruen
CD: The Bach Cello Suites, Pablo Casals (perennial favorite)
Live Performance: Preservation Hall Jazz Band (KCPA); Hot Club of Cowtown (Shady Nook)

Rohn Koester, Journals Production Editor
Favorite thing I read: Daniel Tammet’s Born on a Blue Day
Favorite music podcast: Tom Waits’ Glitter and Doom concert
Favorite movie: Tarsem Singh’s The Fall
Favorite documentary: Errol Morris’ Standard Operating Procedure
Favorite PSA: Errol Morris’ Standing Up to Cancer
Favorite lecture: Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight
Favorite story: Edgar Oliver’s “Revisiting Savannah
Another favorite story: Jonathan Mitchell’s “City X”
Favorite Radiohead covers: “Creep” by Scala and the Kolacny Brothers; “15 Stepz” by AmpLive featuring Codany Holiday; and “Nude (Popularity Contest Remake)” by Son Lux

Roberta Sparenberg, Sales & Marketing Assistant
Favorite Book:  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (haven’t finished it yet, but loaned to me by Heather)
Favorite CD: On Fire, David Syme, Piano   
Favorite Movie:  Get Smart
Favorite TV Show:  Monk, Psych and Burn Notice
Favorite Live Performance:  Wasn’t able to attend anything live this year, except life itself, and sometimes it’s is pretty dramatic.

Margo Chaney, Exhibits Manager
Favorite Book:  Barbara Kingsolver — Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Favorite Movie:  toss-up between Young at Heart and Mama Mia
Favorite TV Show:  Brothers & Sisters
Favorite news story:  Election Night coverage!!
Favorite live performance:  Amasong December concert

Breanne Ertmer, Assistant Acquisitions Editor
Favorite Book: Firoozeh Dumas — Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad
Favorite Movie: Burn After Reading
Favorite TV Shows: 30 Rock and My House Is Worth What?
Favorite Live Performance: Pink Martini at The Chicago Theatre 

Rebecca McNulty, Assistant Editor, Acquisitions
Favorite Book: Property, Valerie Martin
Favorite CD: Tift Merritt, Another Country
Favorite Movie: Wall-E
Favorite TV Show: Top Chef, (special) A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All
Favorite knitting project: Devil Baby Blanket from Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry

Lisa Bayer, Marketing Director
Favorite Book: fiction: Joseph O’Neill, Netherland; nonfiction: Rose George, The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters
Favorite CD: Michael Roux’s iTunes library
Favorite Movie: Quantum of Solace
Favorite TV Show: Mad Men, Meet the Press, The Rachel Maddow Show (and, yes, Stewart and Colbert)
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: Yo La Tengo, Pygmalion Music Festival

Leslie DeLucia, Database Coordinator
Favorite CD: Beck, Modern Guilt
Favorite TV Show: Sons of Anarchy, Fringe, Lipstick Jungle
Favorite Young Adult Book: OK, I ‘ll admit it. I enjoyed Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.
Worst Movie: Twilight

Heather Munson, Journals Production Editor
Favorite book: Mark Sarvas – Harry, Revised
Favorite album/CD: Gary Louris – Vagabonds
Favorite movie: Young at Heart (a 2007 release that didn’t make it to C-U till May 2008)
Favorite live music performance: Bottle Rockets 15th anniversary show at the High Dive, with opening performance by Otis Gibbs
Favorite tv show that’s been cancelled: Dirty Sexy Money

Angela Burton, Assistant Managing Editor
Favorite Book: David S. Reynolds, Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography–I was in the mood for biography this year, and this book has it all. Great writing, great research, great method, and a great subject.

Favorite CD: TV on the Radio, Dear Science

Favorite Movie: Ironman. I’ll see Robert Downey Jr. in anything. If you haven’t seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, do so. Downey is sublime in it.

Favorite TV Show: Burn Notice, Life

Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc. — Angie Heaton, Dottie and the ‘Rail, and the Hathaways at Mike ‘n Molly’s in the beer garden. It rained in the middle, but everybody covered up the equipment and then when the rain passed, the musicians came back and played. Fun night.

Tamara Shidlauski, Production Coordinator
Favorite Book: a three way tie: The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield; The
Painter of Battles
– Arturo Pérez-Reverte; The Somnabulist – Jonathan Barnes
Favorite CD: Project Jenny, Project Jan – Xoxoxoxoxo (although this year
I’ve been more of a singles girl than an album girl, which leads to . . .)
Favorite Singles: “Sour Cherry” – The Kills;  “Kid On My Shoulders” – White
Favorite Movie: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Favorite TV Show: a two way tie: Supernatural; Lost
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: Flogging Molly (even though I had to endure the awfulness of the House of Blues in Chicago to see them)
Favorite Character in a TV Show Watched Only By Me: Chuck Bass – Gossip Girl

Kathleen Kornell, Rights & Permissions Manager
Favorite Book: John Gregory Dunne — Vegas: A Memoir of a Dark Season
Favorite CD: The Kills — Midnight Boom
Favorite Movies: Wall-E, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Favorite TV Shows: Pushing Daisies, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Top Chef, Mad Men
Favorite Restaurants: Saigon in Savoy, Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs (Los Angeles), Fast Eddie’s in Alton, IL

Kendra Boileau, Senior Acquisitions Editor
Favorite Book: Jonathan Rosen, The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature
Favorite CD: Soundtrack to the Movie Once
Favorite Movie: Once
Favorite TV Show: House
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc. — Massenet’s Manon at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring Natalie Dessay and Jonas Kaufmann, October 31, 2008

Laura Asbury, Marketing Assistant
Favorite Film: Thus far, The Dark Knight.  However, most of the best films of 2008 will not be in theaters until late December. 
Projected Favorite Film: Revolutionary Road, Doubt
Favorite Book: David Sedaris – When You Are Engulfed in Flames
Favorite Website Discovery:
Favorite Television Program: The Office, Project Runway
Favorite Song: Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
Favorite Live Performance: RENT, Spring Awakening, and In The Heights on Broadway

Michael Roux, Publicity Manager
Favorite Book: David Servan-Schreiber – Anticancer: A New Way of Life
Favorite CD: The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement, Beaujolais — Love at Thirty (a harrowing “breakup” album)
Favorite Movie: The Visitor
Favorite TV Show: The Unit, 30 Rock, Countdown, Daily Show, Colbert Report
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: Beaujolais at Mike ‘n’ Molly’s, Champaign, IL

About michael

Marketing & Sales Manager since 2012