On the occasion of ending a pretty darn good year.

10. Some Friday night in the winter or spring: Drinking too many margaritas with Andrew and Erin at the Guapo’s in Tenleytown, then going next door to purchase Snickerdoodle cookies at Whole Foods, then holding them up to a heat lamp while declaring, “Fresh baked!” You’d have to be there.

9. Some Sunday afternoon in May: Meeting Albert. At long last, Andrew and I have a good friend in our own neighborhood. If only there was something good to do there.

8. Saturday, June 21: Treating The Moms to her first cosmopolitan on the patio at Poste after taking her to see “Sex and the City.” One sip and she was hammered. It was cute.

7. Saturday, July 21: Attending the Grammy Foundation’s Starry Night dinner in Los Angeles with my boss. I attended a dinner with Chris Martin, Tom Jones, Yoko Ono and Sir George Martin, but truth be told, the best part was spending the evening with the boss. (No, not Springsteen. The actual boss.)

6. Saturday, Aug. 9: Reaching the end of our canoe expedition in Lost River, W.Va. If ever you hear me say I want to go canoeing again, please have me committed, because I’ve clearly lost my mind. (Still, if I must have a miserable “Deliverance”-style experience, I suppose I’d rather have it with Justin and Steve than just about anyone else.)

5. Thursday, Aug. 21: Meeting Nikolai the Serbian Waiter in Rehoboth Beach, Del. Ah, Nikolai. How sad that our summer love affair that existed only in my mind. (Just as your romance with Andrew existed only in his.) We’ll always have Aqua.

4. Thursday, Oct. 21: Touring the Tower of London. Dickie Dover, tour guide extraordinaire, made this the highlight of my visit to London. You can see video of his Jack the Ripper tour here.

3. Tuesday, Nov. 4: Watching CNN declare Barack Obama president-elect. One day, I hope I look back on that night and realize it was the moment the world changed forever.

2. Sunday, Dec. 14: Treating The Dads and family to brunch at the Guapo’s in Tenleytown A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

1. Any and every evening I spend with Andrew. In the summertime, there is absolutely no one I’d rather stay up all night talking with over a bottle of wine on the balcony. In the wintertime, nothing makes me happier than looking across the living room and seeing him sitting in his chair, wearing his headphones and blogging away. I am thankful for him every day.


On the occasion of having completed a record 33 books this year, including these 10 new releases.

10. “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded Americans is Tearing Us Apart.” Ever wonder how the red and blue states got that way? This book shows you how, with the numbers to prove it.

9. “The Clothes On Their Backs.” This British novel, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, was the only new fiction I read in 2008. I read the entire thing in a single day on the flight home from London.

8. “White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters.” This history of presidential speechwriting is entertaining, even if much of the material has been covered elsewhere.

7. “The Way We’ll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of America.” Feeling pessimistic about our nation’s future? Read the fourth chapter of this book, which focuses on the globally networked, inclusive millennial generation. You’ll feel better about America’s prospects in the new century.

6. “Only in America: Inside the Mind and Under the Skin of the Nation Everyone Loves to Hate.” Matt Frei, a BBC reporter stationed in America, looks at life in the United States on the even of the 2008 election. Poorly edited and often repetitive, but never dull. To understand America, it helps to see the country through an outsider’s eyes.

5. “The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British.”  The flip side of “Only in America.” Sarah Lyall, the New York Times’ correspondent in London, offers an endearing look at the British people and their many quirks. I read this before Andrew and I visited London in October. I’m glad I did.

4. “All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.”  Fascinating. Author Craig Seymour recalls his life as a stripper in D.C. in the early ’90s. It’s about stripping, yes, but it’s also about a unique moment in the history of my hometown.

3. “The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Changed America.” Author Thurston Clarke is quickly becoming my favorite historian. I began the year reading “Ask Not,” his excellent accounting of JFK’s inauguration. “The Last Campaign,” which I read in the spring, helped me understand what made RFK a politician like no other.

the-place-to-be2. “The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News.” Roger Mudd’s memoir focuses on his career at CBS News’s storied Washington bureau. A spectacular read and a wonderful reminder of why Mudd remains a broadcast journalism.

1. “Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History.” Ted Sorensen’s beautifully written, elegant accounting of his career, including, most notably, his work as one of President Kennedy’s top advisors. This book, more than any other, demonstrates why Kennedy is worthy of the iconic place he holds in the American pantheon. 

On the occasion of having waited until the last possible day to compile this list.

10. “American Teen.” A cringe-inducing look at high school in middle America.

9. “The Wrestler.” Mickey Rourke, raw.

8. “Religulous.” Not so much a documentary as a political statement, but one I increasingly agree with.

7. “Frozen River.” Melissa Leo, I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but you were brilliant here.

6. “Vicky Christina Barcelona.” Woody Allen, you should have left New York years ago.

5. “Doubt.” This movie’s greatness comes from its willingness to be different.

4. “Man on Wire.” Poetry on celluloid.

3. “Slumdog Millionaire.” A modern day fairy tale.

2. “Gran Torino.” Forget “Million Dollar Baby,” “Mystic River” and the World War II films; this is Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece.

sean-penn-as-harvey-milk1. “Milk.” An instant classic.