University of Illinois Press: Best of 2009

Willis Regier, Director
Favorite Book
THE 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, translated by Malcolm C. Lyons and Ursula Lyons.  Penguin 2008, three volumes.   I had always wanted to read the NIGHTS straight through instead of at random as I had in the past.  This new translation, the first “complete” translation since 1885, gave me the excuse I needed.  I planned to read the 1001 NIGHTS over the winter but couldn’t restrain myself and finished them in late October.  They were so unlike what I remembered that they were virtually new, and much more adult than I supposed.  It’s no wonder they’ve been such a success all these years:  in addition to buried treasure and powerful genies, the NIGHTS have explicit sex, lots of violence, wine-drinking Muslims who drug their guests, cruel Christian kings, women assassins, a gay poet, a series of the most beautiful women in the world, Aladdin’s lamp, Sinbad’s shipwrecks, and the remarkable ring of King Solomon.   Some stories, sorry to say, were only good for putting me to sleep, but for the most part the collection was by turns charming, fascinating, and alarming. Runner-up:  Jan Potocki’s THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND AT SARAGOSSA.
Favorite CD:  Pop: MONSTERS OF FOLK was tops, with stiff competition from Bat for Lashes and the Antlers.  Classical:  “The Early Scriabin,” performed by Stephen Coombs. 
Favorite MovieWATCHMEN.  It has two characters that rise to the level of myth–Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan–and several extraordinary scenes.  The final fight was a cliché but the finale ended the movie appropriately, with the not-so-good good guys not-so-good all the way to the end. 
Favorite TV ShowDEXTER, despite some stunning plot holes, this show manages to keep up the tension with new twists rather than new versions of old ones, and has a long story arc that keeps me curious.  
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.:   none, sorry to say

Tamara Shidlauski, Production Coordinator
Favorite Book: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (if you liked season 5 of Lost, you’ll like this book)
Favorite Singles: “Return of White Rabbit” – Ash, “Gold Guns Girls” – Metric, “New Bones” – So Many Dynamos
Favorite Movie: District 9
Favorite TV Shows: Fringe, Dollhouse, Supernatural, Lost
Favorite Board Game to Play with the Gang: Apples to Apples
Favorite Mexican Restaurant on Springfield: Mas Amigos

Lisa Savage, Journals Production Editor
Favorite Book
: Dave Eggers, Zeitoun; Jonathan Lethem, Chronic City
Favorite CD: 500 Days of Summer soundtrack
Favorite Movie: Up (because I haven’t seen An Education, A Serious Man, or Up in the Air)
Favorite TV Show: Top Chef, 30 Rock, The Office, Community, Mad Men, The Daily Show
Favorite TV Show that will end as of 2009: Flight of the Conchords (sob!)
Favorite quote from this season of The Office: “‘R’ is among the most menacing of sounds. That’s why they call it murder, not muckduck.”
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: Kathy Griffin at The Chicago Theater; Flight of the Conchords at The Fox Theater; Neko Case at The Canopy Club.
Favorite reason to never watch golf again: Oh wait, I don’t need a reason!

Heather Munson, Journals Production Editor
Favorite Fiction Books: Kathryn Stockett, The Help; Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs
Favorite Nonfiction Book: Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line
Favorite CDs: Neko Case, Middle Cyclone; Gary Louris and Mark Olson, Ready for the Flood; Wilco, Wilco (The Album)
Favorite TV Show: Mad Men
Favorite live performances: Justin Townes Earle @ Rose Bowl, Urbana; Kristi Rose and Fats Kaplin at Ernie & Cynthia’s house

Will Ridenour, Programmer
Favorite Book
: Robert Wright — The Moral Animal (I’m about 15 years behind on my reading)
Favorite CD: Holly Williams: The Ones We Never Knew, Marianne Faithful: Easy Come, Easy Go
Favorite Movie: The Hurt Locker, Goodbye Solo, and Up
Favorite TV Show: American Masters: Dalton Trumbo, Ken Burns’ The National Parks, Daily Show, Colbert Report
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.:  Station Theatre: The Cripple of Innishman

Vijay Shah, Assistant Acquisitions Editor
Favorite Book
: Aleksandar Hemon – Love and Obstacles
Favorite CD: Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
Favorite Movie: Goodbye Solo
Favorite TV Show: In Treatment
Favorite live performance: Fela!

Tad Ringo, Associate Editor
Favorite Book: Mitch Albom – Have a Little Faith
Favorite CD: Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Night Castle
Favorite Movie: Avatar
Favorite TV Show: Burn Notice

Angela Burton, Assistant Managing Editor
Favorite Book: Diane Setterfield – The Thirteenth Tale (last year’s suggestion from Tamara); Martha Cooley – The Archivist (old, I know, but I read it in 2009)
Favorite CD: Regina Spektor – Far; Sonic Youth – The Eternal (nice to hear their discordant music again)
Favorite Movie: A Christmas Tale; The Watchmen (I know a lot people hated it, but I loved the look of it, the skewed history, the fact that the filmmakers added Lee Iacocca to the movie and didn’t even try to explain who he was to the young demographic, and Jackie Earle Haley’s wonderful performance.)
Favorite TV Show: The Daily Show; Dexter; The Big Bang Theory
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: The Pose or Play Reunion at the High Dive, Champaign, IL
My favorite new media-related thing this year: Netflix streaming on XBox 360. Netflix added thousands of foreign and independent films to their instant streaming service, and the quality of the download is now as good as DVD. Sunday is now my official foreign film night.

Lisa Bayer, Marketing Director
Favorite Book: Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme – My Life in France (memoir); Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteridge (fiction)
Favorite CD: Sid ‘n Susie (Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs) – Under the Covers, vol. 2
Favorite Single: Electric Feel, MGMT
Favorite Movie: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Favorite TV Show: The Good Wife, Mad Men, Modern Family
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: Portland Cello Project, Canopy Club
Favorite online resources:;
Favorite blogger:
Favorite serious magazine: Virginia Quarterly Review

Leslie DeLucia, Database Administrator
Favorite book: To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
Favorite CD: Heavier Things, John Mayer, especially “Clarity”
Favorite movie: An Education
Favorite TV shows: Sons of Anarchy, Glee, Dexter, Fringe, Hell’s Kitchen, Legend of the Seeker, Bones
Favorite Live Performance: Diana Krall, Ravinia, Chicago

Denise Peeler, Direct Marketing & Advertising Manager
Favorite Book: The Retrieval Artist novels by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (published over the past 9 years)
Favorite Movie: Star Trek
Favorite TV: Better Off Ted

Jennifer Reichlin, Editorial, Design, and Production Manager
Favorite movie: Zombieland (so many funny touches)
Favorite YA book: Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Most entertaining Christmas read: Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Favorite YA book series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (final volume published in 2009)
Favorite live performances: Mary Poppins at Broadway in Chicago; Doc Watson with Richard Watson and David Holt at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford
Favorite local event: Monthly performances by the Prairie Dogs at the Iron Post
Favorite TV show: Glee

Cope Cumpston, Art Director
Favorite book
Savvy by Ingrid Law – young adult, recommended by Deborah Stevenson of Center for Children’s Books. Zany and wonderful story of a girl turning 13 and getting her “savvy.”
Favorite CD: Regina Spektor / Far
Favorite live performance, theater/music/comedy/etc.: The Truth about Injustice Always Sounds OutRageous, House Theater in Urbana
(tv, don’t watch it, movies, took the year off)

Roberta Sparenberg, Sales and Publicity Assistant
Favorite BookDewey:  The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (by Vicky Myron and Bret Witter)
Favorite CD: On Fire, David Syme, Piano (still is)
Favorite MovieBlind Side
Favorite TV ShowMonk, Pysch, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, White Collar
Favorite Live Performance:  David Syme in Concert with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony

Rohn Koester, Journals Production Editor
Favorite music
: The Welcome WagonWelcome to the Welcome Wagon, Dirty ProjectorsBitte Orca
Favorite movies: Joel and Ethan Coen-A Serious Man, Benson Lee-Planet B-Boy
Favorite books: Idan Ben-Barak-The Invisible Kingdom, Geoff Manaugh-The BLDGBlog Book
Favorite talks: Margaret Visser-The Gift of Thanks, Ben Dunlap-The Story of a Passionate Life
Favorite performance: Everything at the Station Theatre (but esp. Love Song)

Michael Roux, Publicity Manager
Favorite Book:
Nick Hornby-Juliet, Naked (plus, a few years late, Dennis Lehane-Shutter Island)
Favorite CD: Bert JanschL.A. Turnaround reissue, Wild BeastsTwo Dancers
Favorite Movie: An Education
Favorite TV Show: Daily Show, Colbert Report, Modern Family, 30 Rock, 24, The Good Wife, Mad Men, Burn Notice, The Unit in syndication

About michael

Marketing & Sales Manager since 2012