Top 10 Albums

1.) Fumbling Towards Ecstasy- Sarah McLachlan - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Hauntingly beautiful lyrics, Sarah's crystal clear voice, amazing musicians, perfect songwriting, this one;'s been on the top of my list for a long time now. 
2.) Crazyhorse Mongoose- Galactic - Monday, January 26, 2004
My first Galactic album and still my favorite. New Orleans funk done right. Amazing instrumentalists that let loose but hold and build upon the grove. The sound of the "Houseman" is perfect for adding to the feel and groove of it all. 
3.) Lost and Gone Forever- Guster - Monday, January 26, 2004
Guster's melodies and harmonies are the best I've ever heard, catchy, easy to sing along with, yet they never seem to get old. Guster just makes me happy. 
4.) Japanese Whispers- The Cure - Monday, January 26, 2004
A rare import from the cure with a great mix of their stuff that really showcases their great variety of style, lyrics, and emotion. 
5.) Dulcinea- Toad the Wet Sprocket - Monday, January 26, 2004
Glen's great voice, perfect instrumentation with amazing guitar work, deep and poetic lyrics. Once again, a long time favorite. 
6.) War- U2 - Monday, January 26, 2004
So many of their greatest songs and yet still has the rawness and honesty of their early years. 
7.) Dilate- Ani Difranco - Monday, January 26, 2004
The first time I heard this cd I had to have it. Her acoustic guiter work is probably my favorite, her cutting lyrics, and depth of emotion (and ability to express it) just sucks me in. 
8a.) Parachutes- Coldplay - Monday, January 26, 2004
I was so tired of radio for so long, couldn't find anything that held my interest, and then I heard "Yellow" and it awoke that old music lust in me again. Edgy, hard yet... Great melodies, great use of dynamics and understatement... 
8.) Perenial Favorites- Squirrel Nut Zippers - Monday, January 26, 2004
An amazing sound that I can't quite explain. 
9a.) Some Great Reward- Depeche Mode - Monday, January 26, 2004
Lots of great songs, a band that defined a new genre and changed many perceptions. 
9.) Low Life- New Order - Monday, January 26, 2004
I never tire of hearing New Order. Happy and high energy yet deep and involving, great melodies and counterpart, good lyrics.  
10a.) Woman as Salvation-Jackopierce - Monday, January 26, 2004
Two acoustics guitars, great harmonies, cheesy but nice lyrics. Couldn't leave it out. 
10.) XO- Elliot Smith - Monday, January 26, 2004
... 
Nothing's Shocking- Jane's Addiction - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Once again an album to be savored from beginning to end. Great intensity, confounding lyrics, great instrumentalists. 
Honorable Mention- Norah Jones - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Norah Jones did an amazing thing by being able to reach across genres and age ranges and deliver an album that everyone likes. Smooth and soulful, with lots of power and depth. 
Welcome to the Pleasuredome-Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Sunday, January 25, 2004
I know this ones out of right field but it is an album to be listened to loudly, when you're all alone and focus only on it, and then maybe you'll understand. The hits from it are so much more powerful within the context of the album which basically tell the story of a man from birth to death. 

About the Lists

I suppose it's a bit egotistical of me to think that anyone would actually care about what albums, books, ... I think are the best, afterall, we all have our own tastes and interests. However, its an interesting thing for me to attempt to compile and perhaps it will tell you something about me you didn't fully realize, and hopefully you'll try something that you haven't before.

Best St. Louis Resturants

Trattoria Marcella- Italian - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Amazing food, amazingly inexpensive prices, great service. Only downside is you have to make a reservation to get in for most nights and I'm not much of a planner. 
Pho Grand- Vietnamese - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Amazing food, great prices, good staff. 
Fatima's - Monday, January 26, 2004
Unique and amazing Nigerian food at a great price. Hurry up and try out this great little unassuming place in the Market building in the Delmar Loop. Fatima, the Nigerian owner, will be closing down soon due to financial and health concerns. 
Broadway Oyster Bar - Monday, January 26, 2004
The foods good, but its the atmosphere of the place that makes it one of my favorite places to hang out. 
Thai Cafe - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Of the 4 Thai places on Delmar (all owned by the same guy (who is the brother of the guy that owns King and I)) this is my favorite. Huge menu which I can never hope to span, but provides a great selection of the best Thai food I've eaten. Nice cosy atmosphere, cute staff. 
Pueblo Solis - Monday, January 26, 2004
Best Mexican food in town (and its got lots of competition). Classy yet casual atmosphere, good variety, great food. 
Cafe Brazil - Monday, January 26, 2004
Nice little Brazilian resturant in a strange place, a strip mall at Manchester and McKnight. Great food, great drinks, nice staff, overly cozy space. 
Riddle's Penultimate - Monday, January 26, 2004
The thing that gets me the most about this place is the wine menu... the owner chef know his stuff and I can actually taste the stuff he describes. The food's very good. The atmosphere is great. Bands are so-so. 
U. City Grill - Monday, January 26, 2004
You wouldn't know it, but this is actually a Korean resturant disguised as an american diner. Get the Bim Bim Bob. Good stuff. Hours are limited and the woman that owns and run the place seems to hate it... but darn good food. 

Top 10 Books

Angela's Ashes- Frank McCourt - Sunday, January 25, 2004
The thing that really got me about this book was the ability of the author to truly make you feel you were seeing through the eyes of a young boy growing up with a drunk father in turn of the century Ireland and actually feel the things he felt. Historically I got an amazing sense of the time and place. The characters were developed beautifully. 
To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Once again a book written from the eyes of a child who experiences things that are so intriguing to me. It deals with racism, classism, fear, and so many topics near to my heart. 
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Hilarious, satiracal and insightful. Of the 5 books of the trilogy, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish is my favorite. 
A Walk in the Woods- Bill Bryson - Monday, January 26, 2004
A hilarious story of a man's attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail. Bryson's mix of British and American humor and his unique perspective and use of history makes for a great read. All of Bryson's writing is great but this was my first and favorite. 
The Tracker- Tom Brown - Monday, January 26, 2004
A biography of sorts about a boy who is pretty much raised by the Indian grandfather of his best friend in the New Jersey woods. For nature lovers, this book is a must read. 
The Chosen- Chaim Potek - Monday, January 26, 2004
An amazing novel about the struggles of a boy growing up within a strongly Jewish society. 
Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black American- John McWhorter - Monday, January 26, 2004
This analysis of Black America, its problems, struggles and solution gave me a lot of insight into the issue and definitely helped me shape a more informed opinion. 
Lord of the Rings- J.R.R. Tolkein - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Nothing original about this pick but a truly great book none-the-less. 
Clear and Present Danger- Tom Clancy - Sunday, January 25, 2004
Great action, very involving plot, good characters 
Into Thin Air- Jon Krakauer - Sunday, January 25, 2004
An amazing account of tragic events surrounding the ascent of Mt. Everest. 
Joshua- Joseph Girzone - Sunday, January 25, 2004
A book that portraits a man named Joshua, who resembles Jesus in many ways and his approach to life. It gives a sense of how Jesus would live in modern society and really makes you think about how one should live. 
Fast Food Nation- Eric Schlosser - Monday, January 26, 2004
A well done look at the fast food industry and its effects on our society. 
Reviving Ophelia : Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls- Mary Pipher - Monday, January 26, 2004
I read this book in preparation for working with teenage girls at camp. It does an amazing job of laying out common adolescent issues and how to deal with them... the book is presented as groupings of case studies around the main issues. Anyone who works with or has teenage girls should read this book. 
Harry Potter Series- J. K. Rowling - Sunday, January 25, 2004
It's not really fair to group these as one book but what the heck. Easy to read, lots of fun, some insight can be gained, but mostly, they're just fun. 
The Road Less Traveled- M. Scott Peck - Monday, January 26, 2004
An extremely well done pop-psychology book that I truly believe will help lead people to a healthier self. 
Maiden Voyage- Tania Aebi - Sunday, January 25, 2004
A very interesting story about an 18 year old girl that sails around the world. The writing isn't great but the story is so interesting it doesn't seem to matter.