Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top 5 of 2009

My Top 5 Movies of 2009:

5. Inglorious Basterds

4. The Hurt Locker

3. Up

2. (500) Days of Summer

1. Up in the Air

My Bottom 4 Movies of 2009 (I only saw 4 movies that I hated this year)

4. Terminator: Salvation

3. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Top 5 Nonfiction Books:

5. The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose

4. Columbine, by Dave Cullen

3. Flickering Pixels, by Shane Hipps

2. Drops Like Stars, by Rob Bell

1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller

Top 5 Fiction Books I Read in 2009 (not necessarily released in 2009):

5. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (Released in 2001)

4. Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby (Released in 2009)

3. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore (Released in 2002)

2. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (Released in 2001)

1. Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon (Released in 1995)

Top 5 New Albums of 2009:

5. Monsters of Folk (by Monsters of Folk)

4. Draw the Line (by David Gray)

3. A Sucker's Dream (by The Alternate Routes)

2. The Hazards of Love (by The Decemberists)

1. Working On A Dream (by Bruce Springsteen)

(Honorable mention: "Wilco: The Album" by Wilco)

Does anybody want to share their top five lists from 2009?


fairchild said...

Cullen , who first reported on the story for the online magazine Salon, acknowledges in the book's source notes that thoughts he attributes to Klebold and Harris are conjecture gleaned from the record the pair left behind.

Jeff Kass takes a more straightforward approach in "Columbine: A True Crime Story," working backward from the events of the fateful day.
The Denver Post

Mr. Cullen insists that the killers enjoyed "far more friends than the average adolescent," with Harris in particular being a regular Casanova who "on the ultimate high school scorecard . . . outscored much of the football team." The author's footnotes do not reveal how he knows this; when I asked him about it while preparing this review, Mr. Cullen said he did not necessarily mean to imply that Harris was sexually active. But what else would such words mean?

"Eric and Dylan never had any girlfriends," the more sober Mr. Kass writes, and were "probably virgins upon death."
Wall Street Journal

Rob said...

Okay. Well, I still enjoyed the book.

Dave Cullen said...

Rob, thanks for including my book, Columbine. It was especially nice, since I liked so many of your other choices, for books and films.

The above comment is grossly misleading. The first paragraph says "Cullen . . . acknowledges in the book's source notes that thoughts he attributes to Klebold and Harris are conjecture gleaned from the record the pair left behind."

Here's what my note on sources actually says (page ix): "The same convention was applied to quotations from the killers, who wrote and taped themselves extensively. Their writings are reproduced here as written, with most of their idiosyncrasies intact. Passages of this book suggesting their thoughts come primarily from their journals and videos. A multitude of corroborating sources were employed, including school assignments; conversations with friends, family members, and teachers; journals kept by key figures; and a slew of police records compiled before the murders, particularly summaries of their counseling sessions. I often used the killers' thoughts verbatim from their journals, without quotation marks. other feelings are summarized or paraphrased, but all originated with them. The killers left a few significant gaps in their thinking. I have attempted to fill them with the help of experts in criminal psychology who have spent years on the case. All conjecture about the killers' thinking are labeled as such."

Do the characterization in the comment sound accurate?

As for the footnotes revealing how I knew Eric had a lot of friends and an active social life, I would refer you to the above paragraph.

A few people have made much of the wording on my one sentence with "high school scorecard" and "outscored." I understand how "outscored" could be read having the most sexual intercourse. I had the "scorecard" idea from the first clause in mind when I wrote it, and meant that Eric was having success with girls: going to high school dances, dating, flirting, and generally charming them and getting a lot of attention. I specifically pointed out, in some detail, that he could not get a prom date however, though he got a date that night eventually. The details of his sex life, including whether he actually go laid are unknown, and I'm not really sure why it's such a big issue.

Rob said...

Hi Dave! Thanks for reading my blog. I agree with you. I don't think the issue of Eric's sexual prowess (or lack thereof) is really the point. Obviously, you were trying to emphasize the fact that Eric was not, as so many people had previously suggested, a social recluse who was unable to interact with the population at large. He was not the victim of merciless bullying, and girls were not repelled by him. Having spent a great amount of time working with high school-aged kids, I can attest to the fact that a "scorecard" can be filled not only by sexual conquest, but also by simply getting a girl's phone number or having a date to the prom.

To be honest, I do not know this "fairchild" character. I'm always a little perplexed when anonymous people comment on my blog to offer dissenting opinions. I have no problem with dissent, I just wonder why someone I have never met felt so compelled to post such an argumentative comment. Is this person your personal nemesis? The Joker to your Batman? The Lex Luthor to your Superman? The U.S. Army to your Incredible Hulk? The Pepsi to your Coke?

On a personal note, thank you for writing your book. I was the same age as Eric and Dylan when the shooting occurred, and I was deeply shaken for a long time at the idea that something so horrific could be done at the hands of two people who could have very easily been my peers. After it happened, I read every article I could get my hands on to try and understand. In my own personal experience, Columbine was every bit as frightening and upsetting as 9/11. Your book helped me understand so much of what I (and seemingly everyone else) failed to grasp ten years ago. You helped us see the whole picture and even, in some odd way, to humanize Dylan. I thought your book was outstanding, and I have recommended it to several people.

On another note, what were your favorite films/books/albums of 2009?

Nancy said...

Wow. I'm impressed by those comments.. !!!

Me, I thought AVATAR was good.

And I still like an Agatha Christie mystery anyday.

Oh, and the Bible.

Dave Cullen said...

Rob, thanks so much for supporting my book Columbine on your blog. Tuesday is the eleventh anniversary of the tragedy and I hope you might mention that the book was recently released in an expanded paperback edition featuring:
— A 12-page afterword: "Forgiveness." Vignettes on three victims in very different places eleven years later, and the central role "forgiveness" played in their recovery. Includes startling new revelations about the killers' parents.
— Actual journal pages from Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold.
— Book Club Discussion Questions.
— Diagram of Columbine High School and environs.
Friday I'm attending the LA Times Book Awards, where Columbine is a finalist--up against Tracy Kidder and Dave Eggers--and then on to NYC for the Edgars (nominated in the True Crime category). Last month it won Barnes & Noble's Discover Award. The paperback is now on the NY Times bestseller list.
I'm excited about the way students have embraced the book. They tell me they are taken in by the vivid way it captures teen-age lives and the adolescent experience. So this year, I'm devoting most of my touring to high schools and colleges. I posted some photos ( and will be adding video footage. I am also creating Instructor Guides ( for teachers and profs to use the book in classes, and have posted the first guide for English/Writing--more are coming for psychology, journalism, etc.

Some links and background info follows. Thanks again for helping get the word out to a wider audience.
Dave Cullen
- Book Trailer (3-minute intro video):
- Book Summary:
- Awards & Reviews:
- Bio:

Columbine spent eight weeks on the NY Times bestseller list in hardcover, and is currently on the paperback list. It appeared on two dozen 2009 Best lists, including the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, Salon, EW, Amazon and iTunes. It is a finalist for the Edgar Award, LA Times Book Award, and Audie Award, and has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction of 2009. It was declared Top Education Book of 2009 by the American School Board Journal. Cullen has appeared on Today, ABC World News, Rachel Maddow, BBC-America and most of the major NPR shows.

Columbine relays the before, during and after stories of the massacre. It offers haunting portraits of two very different killers, and the remarkable stories of eight victims grappling with the aftermath for the next decade. Columbine has been cited as the definitive work on the tragedy by Newsweek, the Daily Beast, GQ, the New York Post and the Columbia Journalism Review.