Book of the year:
I have read twelve books for the first time this year, plus I finally finished Les Miserables, hooray! There has been something of a dour theme too, with other books about war and death, and my choice of the best book I have read is in some ways no less positive. The novel is a discussion of people, their choices and misunderstandings, and particularly what happens when they get it wrong, but the detail and care with which the story is written sets it far above any other book I have read this year. It is East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
Film of the year:
I have only been to the cinema three times this year, despite there being several films I would have liked to see, however I have discovered many other films that I have enjoyed (if that is the right word), including Twelve Years a Slave and Tracks. However, my top film this year is a small budget movie, released in 2013, and featuring a superb performance by Brie Larson (who is currently being tipped for an Oscar nomination for her new movie Room, which will be released in the new year). In this movie Brie's character, Grace, works with a tough group of young people, and brings out inspiring, amusing and heart warming moments. It is called Short Term 12.
Song of the year:
This year I have gained a greater interest in songs (pop and not) than ever before, I think, including new tunes and old. My top track comes from yet another Swedish artist and was released in August 2014. I find the song inspiring and particularly the lyrics: "Every day people do everyday things but I can't be one of them... we can do anything". I think I connected with it given my perhaps unusual job with PGL and I also liked the idea of being, as the song says, a hero, if in an unconventional, small but personal way. This is Heroes (We could be) Alesso -feat. Tove Lo