The Favorites of 2010: What Are Yours?


At the close of another year, I love to ask people what their 5 favorite films, records, and (especially since it’s the rabbit room) books were of 2010.  (Note: said films, records, or books need not have been released in 2010 – only discovered and enjoyed.)

2010 was an exceedingly busy year for me with little time to take in much in the form of entertainment, and as I sit down to make my own list, I realize that I don’t have much to draw from.  But here it goes anyway:

I actually read exactly 5 books this year (and started my 6th yesterday).  But if I was only to read 5 books, these were really good ones!

5. Telling Secrets – Frederick Buechner
In preparing for my Hutchmoot talk, I revisited my favorite author and for the first time ever read a book for a second time.  It was even better than I remembered. Telling Secrets is the third of four memoirs written by Buechner and is also my favorite of his books.

4. Birthright – John Sheasby
John spoke at an artist retreat I attended this year and what he had to say was exactly what I needed to hear at this time in my life.  His talks at the retreat are what this book is comprised of and though I may enjoy him more as a speaker than an author, his insights on our identity in Christ are truly transformational. His book helps lead us from the servant’s quarters to take our place as sons and daughters in our Father’s house (and heart).  (This post from earlier this year is the fruit of this message’s work in my life:

3. Letters From The Land Of Cancer – Walt Wangerin Jr.
Again, in preparation for Hutchmoot I turned my attention to one of my favorite authors and picked up this journal of his experience of being diagnosed with cancer. Full of grace and soul-baring honesty, this is a book that will be meaningful for people whether they have had to deal with cancer or not.  Mortality is a teacher that leads its students into depths of wisdom usually reserved for the dying.  Think of this book as an opportunity to gain access to wisdom and beauty without having to pay the usual harrowing price of admission.

2. Fiddler’s Green – A. S. Peterson
Pete entrusted me with an advance copy of his new book and honored me by inviting me to make suggestions and speak into his creative process.  It was a generous invitation and I had a blast returning to the world of Fin Button!  I couldn’t put it down and was delighted to witness my friend discover his creative voice with such surety. I loved it!

1. Intimate Allies – Dan Allender
This is perhaps an unusual entry, but I regard Allender’s book as the single most transformational book – outside of the bible, of course (that’s for the fundy watchdogs out there ;- ) – that I’ve ever read.  After 18 years, Taya and I were both surprised to discover our marriage was more fragile than either of us suspected.  The Holy Spirit used counseling, community, and this book to guide our ship to safer waters.  I’ve already read this book twice and will be reading it soon again. It gets to the heart of what’s broken in all of our relationships, focusing on the curse detailed in the opening chapters of Genesis, helping us to see the Big Idea of marriage as a holy means of sanctification.  So good – even if you’re not married or if you’re marriage seems healthy and happy.  This book revealed to me the fallout of the curse and how it affects every area of my life.

Yesterday I just started reading The Charlaton’s Boy by our own Jonathan Rogers and so far I LOVE IT!  I’m two chapters in and can’t wait to get back to it…

I didn’t see a lot of movies either.  Or if I did, they weren’t all very good. (Yes, I’m one of those who saw The Last Airbender).  Though I don’t think my list is particularly interesting (I didn’t see a lot of art films this year), I still offer it humbly:

5. Shutter Island
It was good clean fun to see a legit suspense/psychological thriller with such a signature atmosphere and competent performances from both cast and director.

4. Toy Story 3
My low expectations were blown away by the emotional weight of this family film!  I laughed, cried, and thoroughly enjoyed it in spite of myself. Pixar for the win.  Again.

3. Harry Potter
My favorite of the Harry Potter films so far.  I really like the Harry Potter universe and have enjoyed the films thus far for what they were, but this was the first one that delivered more than I expected.  (Though I wish the one – for lack of a better descriptor – “love scene” had been handled a little differently.)

2. Up In The Air
This is a 2009 film that I saw in early 2010.  I thought it lived up to the hype and especially resonated with me as a person who travels extensively and experiences first hand the challenges of staying connected with community and resisting the constant temptation of isolation.  A great film with great performances that skillfully explores it’s themes with a light touch.

1. Inception
Loved it.  Just like most everybody else. What I loved most about it was that I had never seen anything like it. A great idea well executed that generated a lot of great conversation (especially here in the rabbit room!).

5. Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
This gets my vote for the raw passion of it alone. This record also gave voice to many of the things I was feeling in the midst of a turbulent season in our marriage. I felt like they wrote the soundtrack to my journaling.  Interestingly, Taya felt much the same way, and so this record became a kind of common ground for us in a time when we needed it.  Besides that, the post-Christian consciousness of much of the lyric content provided good fodder for reflection and understanding the current zeitgeist.

4. Waking Up – Onerepublic
An unapologetically great pop record.  My sons discovered this one and shared it with me, which was a rewarding experience in and of itself.  Big, hooky, anthemic melodies set to classic pop music with a hip-hop rhythmic sensibility.  A fun record with surprisingly organic production and GREAT sounding drums.

3. Flamingo – Brandon Flowers
Another great pop record recommended to me by Andy Osenga.  Thanks Andy! Brandon sings with 80’s alt/pop bravado and brings Daniel Lanois in to participate in the production, bringing musical gravitas to these catchy melodic gems that harken back to the hip records of the late 80’s. This is more than your average pop record, with a sonic landscape that calls to mind the open lonely spaces of New Mexico and the shiny “all that glitters is not gold” lights of Las Vegas, Nevada.

2. Scratch My Back – Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel has been one of my favorite artists of the 80’s, 90’s, and now into the new century with the best cover record I’ve ever heard.  Here he takes a sampling of songs that have meant something to him and covers them backed only by orchestration, thus rescuing the songs from the sonic era that would otherwise entrap them.  The orchestration is timeless and progressive in it’s elegance.  It was also fun to learn what Gabriel is listening to, from David Bowie and Lou Reed to Arcade Fire and Bon Iver. “The Book Of Love” alone is worth the whole price admission.  (I wrote a review of this record here:

1. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
Though I was initially disappointed with it, this became my favorite record of the year.  Worthy of an entire post, it’s hard to sum up what I love about this record in a paragraph. It’s reflections on the spiritual and emotional sickness of the modern man is insightful and artfully rendered, describing the hangover of modernity (or what I’d like to think of as our generation’s version of what Walker Percy called the “malaise”).  In a single line, Winn Butler names what we’ve lost for all that we’ve gained: “I used to write… I used to write letters, I used to sign my name…”  Check out the remarkable interactive video for their song “We Used To Wait”:

So what have you been listening to this year?

Jason Gray is a recording artist with Centricity Records. His latest single, out now, is "When I Say Yes".


  1. Jen

    Arcade Fire for the win! I’m pretty sure The Suburbs is my favorite album of the year, for the reasons you mentioned, and also because I feel like it captures the spirit of my generation in a way I haven’t heard before. I can’t think of another record that better expresses the tension of wanting to grow up and escape “the suburbs,” while longing for the innocence of that past we used to run from. I could write an essay of a comment about how much I love this so I’ll stop. 🙂 I first discovered AF this year and ended up buying all of their albums in the span of about a month, and now they’re topping my list of bands I must see before I die list. (“Neon Bible” was the one that got me hooked, but I do believe I’ve come to like this more… and isn’t “Sprawl II” the most amazing thing ever? Stopping now, for real.)

    Was late discovering Mumford & Sons, but “Sigh No More” is incredible. And “Flamingo” I bought on a whim because I like some of The Killers’ music, but it way surpassed my expectations. Great list!

    Other than that… of course The Proprietor’s “Counting Stars” was a big one for me this year. 🙂 Also really liked “Flags” by Brooke Fraser and “Beautiful Things” by Gungor (this album made me realize I can actually like worship music). My “Album I Should Have Heard by Now” of the year would be Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinoise.” Last year, a friend yelled at me because I’d never heard it, so I bought it right before I knew I’d see him again. I’m glad he yelled at me.

    Oh hey, this comment turned into an essay anyway. (Also: FIRST! *victoryfist*)

  2. kelli

    Records…This year I discovered Hem. Not a new group or a new album, but this song completely sold me…

    My absolute favorite fiction this year…Island of the World by Michael O’Brien (run, run, run to bookstore! or click over to Amazon and order it! You will not regret it!)

    And for non-fiction…Unlimited God by Norman Grubb (I’m still reading this one, but it has opened my eyes to so many truths…in fact, truths that are portrayed beautifully in Island of the World. I plan to start back at the beginning as soon as the last page is read.)

    Movies…hmmm…I’ll have to ponder that one.

    Thanks for this post, Jason! (LOVE Intimate Allies, by the way!!)

  3. Chris Yokel

    I have been re-listening to the Peter Gabriel, and now I realize that it must’ve been your review that turned me on to it way back when. I sort of rediscovered it this week and have been enjoying it tremendously.

  4. Kaitlyn

    1. I’m glad I can somewhat keep up around here and feel a little bit cool because three of my favorite movies were your favorite movies.

    I saw Toy Story 3 over the summer right before I went into my first week of counseling. Great film to see right before I took a bunch of kids under my wing for the summer. Seriously.

    Harry Potter is, well, Harry Potter. I was 10 or 11 when the first movie came out in theaters, and I read the first book when I was in fourth grade. I grew up reading the books/watching the movies. This movie was by far my favorite, but I agree with you…the ‘love scene’ didn’t really need to be in there. Especially since it wasn’t in the book.

    And Inception! I just saw it last night for the first time. Which sort of makes me feel super cool. 😉 What a serious brain workout, though. It’s still brewing in my head, and I’m still trying to figure out what I took away from it.

    2. I agree with Jeff. Pomplamoose is amazing! My favorite new music discovery of the year. You should definitely check them out. Mindblowingly brilliant! And I’ve been listening to a lot of Andy Gullahorn and Andrew Peterson this year.

    3. Books: Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller. It changed my life.

  5. Ben Haley

    I’ll just go with albums and a couple of books.
    1. Ben Shive- Ill tempered Klavier- I know this one was released previous to this year but is one of the best albums I have heard in quite a long time.
    2. Andy Gullahorn- Law of Gravity, I ordered these first two along with 2 of Gullahorn’s other albums at the beginning of the year. All of Gullahorn’s were great but I especially have gotten a lot out of Law of Gravity.
    3. Andrew Peterson- Counting Stars- more AP genius.
    4. Jason Gray- Everything sad is coming untrue- Not just saying this because you wrote this post. I just got this one recently and am still getting to know it but your song ‘I am new’ is one of the best ones I have heard in a long time and God is using it a lot in my life.
    Books- Crazy Love by Francis Chan and can’t remember the title but it was a book that had excerpts from Henri Nouwen’s writings.

  6. Ben Haley

    just realized I forgot my 5th album and that would be Slugs and Bugs by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson. Now I’m going to sound like a rabbit room nerd but these were all great albums and about the only albums I got this year. This was another one that had been released before 2010 but we didn’t get it till this year. The Slugs and Bugs Christmas album was pretty awesome as well. I know I’m not a kid but the thing about these albums is that adults can enjoy these just as much as the kids (unlike some other kids music).

  7. Jason Gray


    Oh man – i wrote this post in a hurry and have already spotted two glaring omissions.

    #1 The Road (the movie) – not as good as the book, but one of the most moving films I’ve seen in a long time.

    #2 Counting Stars by our own Andrew Peterson. Some of his best work yet – and I even got to do a little singing on it, which made me happy.

  8. Matt Blick

    Just did a load of posts myself but basically

    Top Record – Lions & Liars (Sho Baraka) (then Lecrae, Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells & Joanna Newsom)

    Top Book – Revolution in the head – Ian McDonald (in depth analysisof all the Beatles songs which I’m using for research at Beatles Songwriting Academy).

    Film – Inception (followed by a bunch of great stuff that wasn’t released in ’10, like In Bruges, The Prestige, Moon)

    Top Song – This too shall pass (marching band version) – Ok Go closely followed by Tightrope (Live on the Letterman Show) by Janelle Monae.

    you can read my lists here

  9. Terry K

    Thanks for doing this again Jason it’s a good exercise reflecting back. I found that I read about 50 books, listened to about 40 albums, but only saw about 20 movies.

    Crispin – The End of Time by Avi (this is a YA book series Rabbit Roomer would LOVE!)
    American by Choice by Craig Ferguson (audio version – great storytelling, small wonder it’s up for a Grammy)
    A Lfetime of Wisdom by Joni Eareckson Tada (audio version – this lady is the Corrie ten Boom of our age [if that means anything to anybody])
    The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer (inspired me to change schools after 20 years)
    Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (gives an important perspective on Muslims)

    Music: I saw 4 out of these 5 (missed Arcade Fire) performing live which always adds to the enjoyment/appreciation.
    Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz (and All Delighted People)
    The Choir – Deplumed
    Lost Dogs – Old Angel
    Andrew Peterson – Counting Stars
    Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

    Movies: Not enough great films seen this year (looking forward to King’s Speech though – it was sold out when I tried to go this week).
    Toy Story 3
    The Social Network

  10. Jess

    The Shelter–Jars of Clay
    Counting Stars–AP (of course)
    The Fiddler’s Gun and Green–Pete Peterson (and of course)
    The Charlatan’s Boy–Jonathan Rogers (and another of course)
    Sabbaths–Wendell Berry
    And quite a few others…

  11. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    -Ménilmontant (1926 Avant garde French Silent Film), Dimitri Kirsanoff
    -My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
    -The Gospel Primer, Milton Vincent
    -Six Studies in English Folk Song, for cello & piano (Ralph Vaughan Williams) Performed by David Jalbert & Denise Djokic
    -“Natural Order”, MaMuse
    -Russian Folk Tales (Illustrated by Ivan Bilibin, Translated by Robert Chandler)
    -Prodigal God & Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller
    -The art and writings of Mary Barton Nees

    (Also many of those previously mentioned)

  12. Eric

    While I’m not too familiar with many of these, I do know Mumford and Sons is a delightful group–that is–except when they sing, “Little Lion Man.” Also, no matter what Thomas McKenzie says, the Harry Potter movie was a beautiful movie, a wonderful movie.


  13. Kristen

    I love these lists – thanks, Jason!

    Favorite Albums:

    1. Counting Stars – Andrew Peterson
    2. In Feast or Fallow – Sandra McCracken
    3. Frame the Clouds – Christa Wells
    4. Miracle – Robbie Seay Band
    5. When I’m With You – JJ Heller

    Favorite Books:

    1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – Donald Miller
    2. I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (I’m a little late in reading the HP books…)
    4. The Princess and the Goblin – George MacDonald
    5. 84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

  14. Jen

    John: oh, I forgot about The Age of Adz! Yes, it was great from an artistic perspective, but I’m still trying to comprehend it. (“too much” is crazy fun though.) Fascinating, but not something I can listen to over and over. (yet. Given more listens, I could learn to love it.) enjoyed reading your list!

    Jeff: pomplamoose! That’s fun to say. Pomplamooooose… 😉
    Thanks for mentioning that! Never heard of them, but that video was great. And Chris Hauser was the guy that yelled at me about Illinoise. He’s a good friend to have.

  15. Julie Brown

    Mumford and Sons is awesome. I keep snobbishly telling myself not to like them because every other person I know is crazy about them, but I just can’t help it. Like you said Jason, its raw passion and I love it.
    (So is Sufjan’s The Age of Adze really good? His previous stuff is some of the most moving music I’ve ever listened to but from what I’ve heard of this CD a lot of it sounds so noisy and different. I guess I just need to give it a few more listens)

  16. Nathaniel Miller

    Movies (Only 4 as I don’t recall any others that snagged me):
    4. HP 7 – love the war like feel with listening to the radio and al
    3. How to Train Your Dragon – best surprise of the year.
    2. Toy Story 3 – Pixar keeps it coming
    1. Inception – Agree with Jason. Totally unique story line, very well written, The effects were realistic where CGI might have been more convenient, and the ending was perfect.

    5-3 – The Wilderking Trilogy, been meaning to read those for a long time and finally got around to it. So glad I did.
    2 – Fiddler’s Green – I actually had a hard time stomaching the ending as it didn’t go as I planned, but no doubt on the amazing page turner of a tale.
    1 – Voyage of the Dawn Treader – I don’t know if this counts since I have read it before, but I read it during the summer and it took on totally new meaning for me. Tied in with Andrew Peterson’s World Traveler, every day this summer felt like an adventure. Alas, the movie didn’t produce even a hint of that wonder in me.

    Music – This might be Rabbit Room heavy
    5. Sanctus Real – Pieces of a Real Heart: some really great lyrics that really affected me
    4. JJ Heller – To Be With You: love, love, love her voice and lyrics
    3. Melanie Penn – Wake Up Love: same as above
    2. Eric Peters – Chrome: absolutely stunned by the song I Had To Tell You
    1. Andrew Peterson – Counting Stars: absolutely phenomenal songs from start to finish

  17. Micah

    5. Spoon – Transference: Pure, intelligent, enjoyable, rock and roll.
    4. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More: For all the reasons already stated. But mostly for the Christian influence on the lyrics. Very artfully written.
    3. Andrew Peterson – Counting Stars: I was the one who was 21 and she was 19, but we got engaged this year, and these songs are preparing me for life as a husband and family man. Musically it was beautiful. Familiar without being stuck in a rut.
    2. Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz: Sufjan’s latest has avant-garde classical instrumental writing meeting modern dance beats, indie noise, and rock singing. And it works. The writing will resonate with any Christian who honestly struggles with sin.
    1. Punch Brothers – Antifogmatic: I listened to this album more than any other one. It defined my summer. Chris Thile and company successfully made a progressive rock album using bluegrass instrumentation. Once again the lyrics are informed by a post-Christian conscience written even more artfully than Mumford. Yes, its an album defined by alcohol, but more than that its an album about lost people trying to make it through their broken lives.

    I didn’t read any that came out in 2010, but these are the ones I read that blew me away:
    War and Peace, Brothers K, Pale Fire, Remembering,
    5. Alphabet of Grace- Buechner: I picked this one up at a used bookstore and had the way I view day to day life challenged as I read it.
    4. Remembering – Wendell Berry: Wendell Berry proves himself more than just a writer about farm folk on this one. Rabbit Room readers don’t need that proof, but its here anyway.
    3. Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov: I think you could dedicate your life to studying this book and not be disappointed. The form is wild, but not really the focus. I think everyone who considers themselves literary should have to read it at least once.
    2. War and Peace – Tolstoy: When I started reading it a friend told me, “people only say they liked it so they can brag about how they finished it.” I can tell you in full confidence that that is not true. Its beautiful.
    1. The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoyevsky: The best book I have ever read. Period.

  18. Breann


    The Book of Sorrows – Wangerin
    Mourning into Dancing – Wangerin
    The Manger is Empty: Stories in Time – Wangerin

    Audio Books

    This year, I’ve been listening to audio books on the way to and from work. Here are a few of my favorites.

    Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
    Things I Overheard while Talking to Myself written and narrated by Alan Alda
    The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis (I’ve read this book before, but listening to it, I experienced it in a whole new way. The part about the founding of Narnia became a driving hazard because I was fighting back tears. “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”)


    Toy Story 3
    Pride and Prejudice
    Big Fish


    Sigh No More, Mumford and Sons
    Counting Stars, Andrew Peterson
    Christmas, Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn

  19. Canaan Bound

    1. Toy Story 3
    2. Little Dorrit (technically a BBC miniseries).
    3. Local Color
    4. Stand By Me (I seriously don’t know how I got by for so long without seeing this movie!)
    5. Bright Star (This one didn’t show in any theatres near me so I had to wait for it to come out on DVD. It was worth it, though.)

    1. Andrew Peterson’s Counting Stars
    2. Chris Thile’s Not All Who Wander Are Lost
    3. Mindy Smith’s Stupid Love
    4. Brooke Fraser’s Flags
    5. Probably a tie between Melanie Penn’s Wake Up Love and The Arrow’s EP.
    **If you are not familiar with the Arrows, you should be. I’m very excited about the recent release of a new record, which I have not purchased. Yet.**

    1. Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series
    2. Francine Rivers’ A Lineage of Grace
    3. Timothy Keller’s Prodigal God
    4. Frances Chan’s Forgotten God
    5. Andrew Peterson’s North! Or Be Eaten (which may have actually been in 2009, but I can’t really remember).

  20. Chris Yokel

    I forgot my top fives.

    Movies (in no particular order):
    1. Inception. Saw it twice. Just mind-blowingly amazing. I love Christopher Nolan’s intellectualism.

    2. Harry Potter 7.1. Definitely the best one of the series so far, and beautifully done.

    3. Shutter Island. Leo gets to show up twice on my list. Another mind-engaging twister.

    4. Robin Hood. Robin Hood was my biggest hero growing up, so I felt like this was a more grown-up version of the legendary story to appreciate.

    5. Toy Story 3. How To Train Your Dragon was really good too, but Toy Story 3 had me choking up a little at the end.

    Music (not all released this year):
    1. Andrew Peterson-Counting Stars. The mixture of wonder, melancholy, and hope in this album seems to perfectly fit my own spiritual state right now.

    2. Bruce Springsteen-Greatest Hits. Finally got to listen to The Boss, something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile.

    3. Peter Gabriel-Scratch My Back. The only Peter Gabriel song I’d ever heard was “In Your Eyes”. Thanks to Jason Gray, I found out about this gem.

    4. Hanson-The Walk. I despised Hanson on principle during their “MmmBop” days as pretty teen boy-band heartthrobs. But then this past year I stumbled across their more recent music and I was floored. The Walk is definitely one of my favorite albums now.

    5. Brooke Fraser-Miscellaneous. I listened to a lot of Brooke Fraser this year, from all of her albums, including “Flags” which came out this year. Brooke is a good example of a Christian artist who successfully straddles both the Christian worship and secular music fields.

    Books (not all released this year):

    1. C.S. Lewis–The Screwtape Letters. Finally got to read this amazing book.

    2. Terry Pratchett-Night Watch/Thud. Stumbled across these as part of my master’s thesis research. These were just flat out funny and enjoyable reads, and I still remember them even now. Pratchett is a very clever satirist.

    3. Tim Keller-The Reason for God. Spent about half the year going over this book with a small group of people. Quite an amazing experience.

    4. Anne Rice-Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: Road to Cana. Read these books last year, and then re-read them again recently. Such an amazingly well done look at the life of Christ.

  21. Jen

    Julie: The Age of Adz is absolutely “noisy and different,” exactly the same impression I had. Which is why, I think, I can appreciate it… but in small doses. 🙂 It is a good album once you’ve spent some time with it, but I find myself listening to his other music more. Did you hear his EP “All Delighted People”? It’s really good, and somewhere between his old and new sounds.

  22. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Pointless but sort of funny…

    I have never listened to Peter Gabriel. So, for some reason, every time I read his name in these posts, I was THINKING Peter Cetera. For two days I’ve been super confused (and OK, rather disappointed), wondering why in the heck all these Rabbit Room people are in love with some random singer from the 80’s.

    It wasn’t until I went to YouTube, determined to uncover the hidden genius I have been missing all these years, that the confusion cleared. My faith in the Rabbit Room is renewed.

  23. whipple

    I don’t usually do favorite lists, as I’m terribly indecisive and they tend to come in the form of chain letters. However, this presents itself as an opportunity for reflection – a discipline I’ve all but lost in my momentum. So, I’ll lay down my internet snobbery for a time. And thank you, Jason, for opening up the forum.

    None of these are in any particular order.

    George MacDonald, Your Life in Christ – this is one I’ve been working through piece by piece all year and then some. The book isn’t thick, but the writing certainly is. Plus, almost every paragraph causes a little spiritual explosion of sorts.

    Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – read on a RR recommendation. Wonderful. I like Landsman for some of the same reasons I like Rorschach (The Watchmen), another broken and hopelessly hopeful character.

    Colin Peckham, Sounds from Heaven – a collection of baldfaced, unapologetically truthful stories about a revival in the late ’40s in Scotland.

    Paul Collins, Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books – Collins transplants to the UK and dashes his family’s hopes on a pipe dream. He and his wife struggle so hard and end by having to give up. I don’t know why I like this one, but it was warm and endearing, and I rooted for them all through their failure.

    Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water – a reread this time. Always helpful.

    The Blue Nile – “A Walk Across the Rooftops” – I really geek out about this record. Its beauty is that of a melancholy, rain-swept city street.

    Derek Webb – “Stockholm Syndrome” – I wasn’t sure at first about the musical direction, but it grew on me until I loved it.

    Sigur Ros – “Hvarf/Heim” – This record became really intimate because of the acoustical treatment of the songs, with traditional Sigur Ros drive and emotion, of course.

    Coldplay – “Viva la Vida/Prospekts March” – Others have waxed poetic. I for one was glad the record felt like a whole, with a current of story occasionally surfacing.

    Andrew Peterson – “Behold the Lamb of God” – Over the past decade, this has become a tradition, finally reaching its jumping-off point this year as I was privileged to perform the songs with some friends. I lived with this record for four months, and it worked its way, if possible, even deeper into my bloodstream. Thanks, AP.

    True Grit – Thomas McKenzie’s review was spot-on, opening up new considerations for me that I didn’t originally have upon seeing the film.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) – My favorite part was the serious character development. As far as humor goes, it also seemed the most British of all the films, full of wonderfully awkward pauses.


    The Social Network – It hit me after the final scene. I walked away from the theatre and couldn’t get that one out of my head.

    Toy Story 3 – A weep/laugh inducer for me as well. Honestly, this might be neck-and-neck with “How to Train Your Dragon.” Pixar definitely wins the overall trophy, but I loved the ending of “…Dragon.”

  24. Alan

    So apparently I need to go get Age of Adz right now. It won’t finish downloading for a few days, though.

    Other than that:
    Books: The Cost of Discipleship – Bonhoeffer + Radical – Platt: best back-to-back read I’ve ever done. Also Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was indescribable.

    Movies: Inception, The Social Network (I am limited to random Nairobi trips and those movies I can find on the street…both of those kept me thinking about them for a while) I was disappointed with HP7.1, but I had read the book days before seeing the movie…so….

    Music: Counting Stars – AP; Rehab – Lecrae (not much in common there except passion for the gospel)

  25. Ashley S.

    2010 Favorites:

    1)”Buddenbrooks” by Thomas Mann
    2)”Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson
    3)”I Capture the Castle” by Dodi Smith

    1) “Counting Stars”, “The Far Country”, & “Behold the Lamb of God” by Andrew Peterson
    2)”If I Die Young” (song) by The Band Perry
    3) Under The Radar podcast (gourmet Christian music!)

    1) “An Education”
    2) “Inception”
    3) “True Grit”

  26. Nicole M

    Oh, man, I love these lists. And I probably wouldn’t have commented except for the fact that I have a syndrome called Mumfordphilia and I must comment on every positive mention of them that I see. Thus, I offer my humble two cents. And, a caveat, I don’t remember many of the books and movies and music I experienced in the past year – my memory has grown increasingly poor of late.

    Faves of 2010 in no particular order
    – I Am The Messanger by Markus Zusack
    – A Praying Life by Paul Miller
    – the Harry Potter series

    – Toy Story 3 (makes me cry every single time)
    – Inception
    – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    – Counting Stars – Andrew Peterson
    – It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright – mewithoutYou
    – The Yearbook Project – Sleeping at Last
    – Sigh No More – Mumford and Sons (this is, without doubt, the best album I heard all year – three songs are still in my “current obsessions” playlist and they’ve been there since probably about May)

  27. Bryan Irvin

    A lot of great choices have been posted so far. For best albums of the year I say , Mumford and Sons – “Sigh No More” and The Gaslight Anthem “American Slang”. Favorite movies would be “Inception”, “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”, and “True Grit”. Finally i did not read a lot of books this year but I read David Downing’s book on the C.S. Lewis and the Narnia books called “Into the Wardrobe” and loved it. Also re-read the final Harry Potter book, which was even better the second time. Happy New Year all!

  28. Kyle Carlson

    Much of what’s been mentioned here is great stuff – but I’m commenting because no one has mentioned what is easily my favorite book from 2010.

    Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” deserves to be read and cherished. It affectionately and compellingly tells the story of Louie Zamperini, childhood-thief-turned-Olympic-runner-turned-WWII-prisoner-of-war-turned-self-destructing-family-man-turned-child-of-God.

    Louie’s story is astonishing, and the hand of God throughout is obvious and beautiful. It is often difficult to read (as his experiences in Japanese POW camps are graphically portrayed), but it is a journey worth experiencing.

    Here’s a link:

  29. Shelley

    Forgive me for the belated entry, I’ll refrain from repetition in some areas (and yet, I have this memory of my 3 and 5 year old children singing “Awake My Soul… for you made to meet your Maker.” at Target)

    Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman
    Editor, Don W. King, Eerdmans, 2009
    (This is an intriguing collection and she’s an articulate, intelligent writer. And later in life she happened to become ol’ Jack’s beloved surprise.)

    Josh Garrels “Lost Animals”
    Given to me for Christmas last year by a dear friend with a note that read “To aid in singing a new song of praise” Wonderful, rich, musically both raw and tender.

    Posion & Wine
    They have a way of harmonizing that sends shivers and dynamic lyrics as well

    I’ve definately added some “to read sometime in my life” titles of books to my list and artists at Grooveshark… thanks for recommending!

  30. whipple

    Ooh. Ashley S.~

    I totally forgot Gilead. Loved that one. I feel I must defend the glaring “Counting Stars”-shaped hole in my choices. I have not purchased it yet. That’s probably just as bad….

    Thanks to those of you who mentioned Mumford & Sons. You’ve furthered my desire to go pick up a record.

  31. Danielle

    Wow. I discovered sooo many totally awesome things this year and it’s the Rabbit Room’s fault (or Andrew Peterson’s fault) for a lot of them. 😀
    1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m extremely glad I didn’t discover it until this summer. I think before then, I would have still absolutely loved it, but I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much.
    2. The Wilderking Trilogy, by Jonathan Rogers. I just finished it yesterday and it’s definitely one of the best book series EVER.
    3. The Charlaton’s Boy, by Jonathan Rogers. I can’t count how many times it made me laugh. 😀 It’s one of the most unique and entertaining books I’ve ever read. I love it.
    4. The World According to Narnia, by Jonathan Rogers. In case you haven’t noticed, I really like Jonathan Rogers. I’ve wanted a book that explains The Chronicles of Narnia, and now I’ve found one… and it’s by someone who’s on the Rabbit Room!!! AWESOME!!!!!
    5. I don’t know. I’ve read a LOT of awesome books this year. Maybe The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic.

    1. The Lord of the Rings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Definitely the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life.
    2. The Lord of the Rings. It deserves to be mentioned again. 😀
    3. The Princess Bride. It’s HILARIOUS.
    4. To Save a Life. It’s probably the best non-fantasy movie I’ve ever seen.
    5. I’m not sure. I’ve seen a lot of really good movies, but not that many great movies. I guess The Voyage of the Dawn Treader or Pirates of the Caribbean.

    1. The Far Country, by Andrew Peterson. I’m really not sure whether I first heard this in 2010 or 2009, but it’s definitely my favorite. It even has a song about Lord of the Rings!!! What could be better?
    2. Counting Stars, by Andrew Peterson. AWESOME!!!!!
    3. Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue, by Jason Gray. I sort of impulsively bought this CD, and within 24 hours he managed to beat EVERYONE except Andrew Peterson, who’s impossible to beat. 😀
    4.The Light Meets the Dark, by Tenth Avenue North. I got this for Christmas and I LOVE it. There’s a VERY good reason Tenth Avenue North is popular.
    5. Joy FM, the Christian radio station in St. Louis. I can’t believe that it’s been less than a year since I started listening to it. I’ve discovered COUNTLESS seriously awesome artists on it. Pretty much almost everyone I really like except Andrew Peterson and Chris Tomlin. I first heard Jason Gray on Joy FM. They really like him. I’ve heard three of the Joy FM people talk about what a great guy he is. 😀 They also play “Dancing in the Minefields”, which makes me happy.
    2010 has been AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Jack Freeman

    I totally agree with you Jason Gray on your choice of Mumford and Sons, I discoverd their album about a month ago and it has dominated my mp3 player since. I also recently discovered the Avett Brothers (amazing) and “So Runs the World Away” from Josh Ritter is an excellent new album. I love the courageous, raw, and haunting sounds of the above mentioned artists. My New Years goal is to discover this caliber of music that promotes the doctorines of scripture. My first step in this goal was to buy “counting stars” by Andrew Peterson, we’ll see….

  33. Becca1012

    I won’t get into everything, but as far as records:
    1) Everything Sad is Coming Untrue- Jason Gray- I have been listening to this nonstop since I got it last month, and I bought the CD for three different people for Christmas. It’s like the soundtrack of everything that I have been learning this past year. So, thank you, Jason and God, for putting that together.
    2) Between Two Worlds- Trip Lee- I love every song on the album.
    3) The Outsiders- Needtobreathe- The song “Something Beautiful” really helped me this summer, and many of the other songs are pretty great.
    4) So Far: The Acoustic Sessions- Bethany Dillon- I not-so-secretly kind of want to be Bethany Dillon when I grow up.
    5) All of Keith Green’s and Rich Mullin’s music. I don’t care if that is cheating.
    Oh, and all of Andrew Peterson’s music, too…

  34. Jonathan Rogers

    Danielle, I’m just seeing your list of favorite books. Thanks very much for your endorsement. You don’t happen to work at the New York Times Book Review, do you?

  35. Danielle

    Wait–did one of my favorite authors just ask me a question?!?! Awesome!!! I’m happy. And no, I don’t work there; I’m fifteen.

  36. Thomas McKenzie

    Hey all,

    The One Minute Review Top Ten Films of 2010

    1. True Grit
    2. Toy Story 3
    3. The Fighter
    4. Inception
    5. 127 Hours
    6. Let Me In
    7. The King’s Speech
    8. The Social Network
    9. Never Let Me Go
    10. Shutter Island

  37. Scott McCausey

    I’ve interviewed a ton of authors and read a fair amount of books in 2010. And my favorite is not due to the fact that this is Andrew’s blog, but I had a ton of fun reading the Wingfeather Saga! It was fresh and fun and if this ever hits the big screen, I will be at the midnight viewing!

    I’ve also enjoyed Pursuit of the Holy by Simon Ponsonby, Phil Vischer’s book Me, Myself and Bob and Ginny Dent Brant’s book Finding True Freedom.

    I was pretty disappointed in movies this past year. I was so “geeked” about Tron and was mildly disappointed.

    Music, my favorite CD was Bethlehem Skyline Vol 2. I love Christmas music and this was hands down my favorite!

  38. Tony Heringer

    T-Mac, thanks for that movie listing. It gives me some movie choices for 2011 and beyond.

    Jason, in 2010, I recall this being a top 3 list and it included anything from 2010. However, in reviewing that post: I see there was creative license employeed. In the spirit of that post , I’m adding a fourth category for lack of a better name – Experiences. Going with 5 versus 3 at first seemed hard, but in the end, I actually recalled 5 or more for each category. Thanks again for this post, it was a fun way to recall the past year.

    Experiences (or you could call it Events):

    1. Hutchmoot 2010 – including the worship service at Redeemer House and the pre-release concert for Counting Stars.
    Hands down the best retreat I have ever been too. The way in which folks interact within this cyber-pub made Hutchmoot an inevitability but it far exceeded my expectations and further catalyzed community both online and offline. So many memories from that week-end. Kudos to all involved in pulling this one off.

    2. The Avett Brothers live at Chastain Park in Atlanta, GA.
    My wife Cherie and I had great seats for this show and it was a blast. From the opening act: Brandi Carlile ( ) to the rollicking punk hootenanny that the Avetts put on. Add to that the venue and we just had a blast.

    3. Missions Trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil with my bride.
    This is a different kind of trip. We conducted a workshop which included a presentation my wife and I gave – which is way cool. The workshop included 8 churches that are attempting to impact an area of Sao Paulo that is similar to Manhattan. We are working with Redeemer (Tim Keller) to help these congregations catalyze a “Gospel Ecosystem”. It’s hard to describe beyond that, but it was amazing to share that with Cherie and to see churches of many denominational stripe begin to collaborate on reaching the city via acts of service. There are currently 25 churches meeting monthly to determine how they can impact this city pray for their continued progress together.

    4. Make A Difference Tour at the Verizon Amphitheater Alpharetta, GA featuring Jason Gray and some other dudes you might of heard of.
    I’m finishing up my first 30 mile bike ride ever as part of an event put on by Amigos For Christ and I get a text. I think its Cherie or my son or daughter but no, its Jason Gray! He wants to know if I am coming to the show and lets me know when he’s going to be out on stage. It was great to see him play that venue and also to catch up with Taya who was working the World Vision table. It was awesome to watch the tour via Taya’s pictures after we posted a few from this show in Atlatna.

    5. Randall Goodgame House Concert somewhere in Gwinnett County.
    This was a direct result of Hutchmoot and Facebook. I lamented to Randall that I’d missed him when he was in town a few weeks prior to this event. He sent me an email inviting me out to the show which was in a couple of nights. Timing is indeed everything. I love the House Show idea and my Facebook posts connected me with another buddy who leads ESOBO (see music) where we chatted about how this concert went and his plans to do some house concerts for Street GRACE (see films)

    Honorable mention: I was the P.A. announcer at The Bulldog Dash – a 5K put on by my son’s cross country team. It was really cool to announce a race my son competed in. Not his best run, but just to see him run gave me great pleasure – there is a line in “God Of My Fathers” on Counting Stars (see music) that captures that feeling for me perfectly. Premiere of The Candy Shop at The Fabulous Fox (see Films).

    1. The Education of A Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
    This autobiography was my gift to Russ Ramsey for this post: on L’Amour.

    2. When Pride Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss
    This was a 2009 Christmas gift from my son that I read in January in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl – historic and ironic because the Saints won. Lombardi was more complex than I imagined and I’d recommend this to anyone interested in sport or just the life of iconic Americans.

    3. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology and Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson.
    Andrew Peterson made a joke about Eugene as part of his introductory remarks at Hutchmoot, but he spoke to us a primary theme from the first work as it relates to community and meals. The second volume in this 5 volume series on Spiritual Theology discusses not only how we view Scripture but how we read anything. I’m using these books as devotional reading and am currently working through volume 3: The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way. Volume 4 is Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers. The final volume released in 2010 is Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ. Lord willing, I’ll finish the series this year but if it takes longer, it will be worth the journey with this sage. Eugene Peterson is one of the great theologians of this generation.

    4. The Fiddler’s Gun (Fin’s Revolution) by A.S. “Pete” Peterson
    This first volume in the Fin Button series and it was published under Rabbit Room press. I love how many different ways this place touches the imagination. Looking forward to book two in 2011.

    5. and beyond I completed the 17 volume Sackett series in 2010.
    Thanks again Russ, that was a wonderful ride with some great characters.

    1. Inception
    This story was just so other. I also enjoyed the OMR’s commentary on this film’s needless exposition I didn’t think so, but I’ll see it again at some point to see if I still feel that way. Father T-Mac’s reviews stick with me and certainly give me fun points to ponder and definitely some comical images and freeze frames.

    2. The Candy Shop
    You can watch this short film here: Developed and directed by local film maker Brandon McCormick of Whitestone Motion Pictures. It stars Doug Jones (Pans Labyrinth, Hell Boy I&II, Rise Of The Silver Surfer). This film from its imagining by this young film maker to its premier at The Fabulous Fox in Atlanta which featured local musicians prior to the screening event this film is definitely a labor of love on a mission to wipe out the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Atlanta and beyond! Give this film a look and pass it on!

    3. Pans Labyrinth
    Because Doug Jones stars in the Candy Shop, I wanted to check out this film. Plus I’ve always heard so much about it. Wow! This is an incredible movie. Jones really creeps me out as the Pale Man.

    4. Alice In Wonderland
    I just enjoyed this film and the OMR banter too:

    5. Tie: The Karate Kid and Harry Potter 7.1
    If for nothing more than the banter over Karate Kid reloaded vs. original in the OMR and definitely because of the OMR special guest stars dismissal of Father/Daddy T-Mac’s review of the film: In the end, I felt both these films exceeded or met my expectations (KK reloaded exceeded; HP 7.1 met).


    1. Counting Stars by our own Barliman Butterbur or if you must ‘The Proprietor’
    On the way to the pre-release show Matt Connor talks to the maturity of this album. That conversation rattled around in my head for a while. One because Matt is just a cool guy and two he was so dead on with his comments. I listen to this when I run and there are so many lines that just move me – sometimes to tears. Something which is really embarrassing when you are running (“Honey look at the guy! No pain, no gain indeed!”)

    2. Wake Up Love by Melanie Penn
    I first read about this album here: and my comment was like many I make here: “I’ll have to check this out at some point.” I truly mean it because Mr. Budget usually prevents me from going after all the great recommendations in this place. However, “some point” came when I was reviewing an itinerary for a visit by our Brazilian ministry partners. They were coming to New York to visit Redeemer and then to Atlanta to visit Perimeter. We were hosting them for dinner so I wanted to see when and I noticed the name Melanie Penn and I said “Can’t be!” But, yes, in another “It is a small world after all” moment, I realize that my work in Brazil is now coming full circle to the Rabbit Room. I downloaded that album and have been digging it a lot ever since.

    In addition to Melanie’s songs what is really cool about this record is the way Ben Shive produces it. He also produced Counting Stars. Both are just gorgeous records.

    3. ESOEBO – Eclectic Selections Of Everything But Opera
    This record is some local flavor that I definitely enjoyed. The Ballad Of Never Was is one of the more touching songs I heard in 2010. I also caught these folks live a few times including the CD release party at The Red Rabbit – a great place for any Atlanta Rabbitheads to gather for food and good music.

    4. To The Sea/Brushfire Fairy Tales by Jack Johnson
    First heard the first album while driving around Houston with a college buddy. I’d read about it prior to that point and was sold on it but my friend also recommended the second record. Jack’s music has fueled many a run for me out on the Suwanee Greenway.

    5. Be My Thrill by The Weepies
    The Weepies were a great Rabbit Room find and their new record is wonderful. My only disappointment is that I didn’t catch them live here in Atlanta back in November. I remeber downloading this after the positive comments from some Rabbit Roomers on Facebook — including Barliman.

    Honorable Mention:
    What I Want by Aaron Roughton (
    Some Rabbit Room flavor that you may not have heard before. Check him out, my boy is funny but he can sing too.

    The Good Things by Jill Phillips
    Another Rabbit Room recommendation. The “some time” for this record came right after Hutchmoot where we heard “A Lot Like Me” live. Here’s the original Rabbit Room post for a taste that may make your “some time” now:

  39. Eric Peters

    Mayflower (Nathaniel Philbrick) – Americans should read this. The Pilgrims amaze me.
    Beatrice & Virgil (Yann Martel) – Thematically, a tough novel, but well worth it.
    Fiddler’s Green (A.S. Peterson) – Fanbloodytastic.
    The Sacred Journey (Buechner) – Reread this for my Hutchmoot presentation, and rediscovered treasures within.
    The Zimmerman Telegram (Barbara Tuchman) – How America got pulled into WWI. Tuchman is one of my favorite historians.
    The Minutemen & Their World (Robert A. Gross) – I’m on a U.S. history binge.

    Be My Thrill (The Weepies)
    Infinite Arms (Band of Horses)
    Rain On the City (Freedy Johnston) – One of my all-time favorite songwriters. Great new record. He goes more years between albums than I do.
    Christmas (Gullahorns)

    Toy Story 3

  40. Rachel from NE

    I don’t have any favorites to add, just a humble request. I am not historically an avid reader but would like to do more of it. With no concept of what most of the books are that you all have mentioned… what is very important to me is “voice” when I read. I imagine accents and characters and faces, or I don’t read at all. Can you tell me what books have good “voice”?

  41. Fellow Traveler

    Rachel, I can’t recommend _Gilead_ highly enough, which is written entirely in the first person from the perspective of a minister named John Ames. The book has almost the feel and inflection of speech… one moment he will say something stunningly profound, then bounce back with a funny after-thought. It reads like a conversation between John and the reader. So if it’s “voice” you want… you have it!

  42. Kyle Carlson

    Rachel, I saw your comment in my email and was going to come here and recommend “The Charlatan’s Boy” – but then I saw that Pete already beat me to it. You’ll love it, I’m sure of it.

  43. Jess

    Me? I did read The Charlatan’s Boy (made my library get it soon after it came out), and I liked it so much that I asked for it for Christmas (and received it). I think maybe you were talking to someone else and accidently put my name in?? But while I’m at it, I might as well say that YES, everyone NEEDS to read The Charlatan’s Boy. 😉

  44. Josh Petersen

    Ok my favorite records of 2010……yes i am late to this party…..


    -Andrew Peterson-Counting Stars
    -Bruno Mars: Doo-Wops & Hooligans
    -Johnny Cash-Ain’t No Grave
    -Justin Townes Earle-Harlem River Blues
    -Jamey Johnson-The Guitar Song
    -Ray LaMontagne-God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise
    -Miranda Lambert-Revolution (MY FAVORITE RECORD OF THE YEAR)
    -John Mayer-Battle Studies
    -Lyle Lovett-Natural Forces

  45. Josh

    I don’t know if anyone reads these, especially after they’re so old, but it’s worth a try:
    What about Mumford and Sons reflects a “post-Christian consciousness”?

  46. Nicole from MA

    I’m subscribed to the comments so I read them. 🙂

    To answer the question, I think it’s the fact that they seem to understand grace but don’t necessarily explain the sacrifice necessary for God to bestow that grace.

  47. Jen

    Well if we’re going to resurrect this thread, I’d like to say I’m still waiting for Jason to write a post about Arcade Fire. =)

    Oh right. Mumford and Sons! Nicole makes a good point. I think their music is God haunted to some degree, even if it’s not explicitly so. I cant quite figure it out either… Might have to give it a few listens with the “post-Christian” concept in mind.

    What I find remarkable is that an earthy folk band with literary writing could become so huge in an industry dominated by party songs. It’s refreshing.

  48. Jack Freeman

    Yes, I was surprised to see that Mumford & Sons were on the Grammy’s with the Avett Brothers last year. I don’t remember if that was before or after Justice Beaver… or whatever that kids name is.

  49. Jen

    That was seriously one of the best performances of the Grammys. I love it when a band looks like they’re having fun. That and the Arcade Fire win made it all worth watching. 🙂

    I will admit that the Bieber’s troop of dancing ninjas was amusing though.

If you have a Rabbit Room account, log in here to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.