Year in Review: 2017

Continuing a 17-year tradition, I’m happy to share my Annual Favorites list for the year 2017: 

Let’s start with the best thing that happened to my family this year, which is the arrival of Sylvia Huremović Schenkenberg in late April. We’re still smiling at her the way Leo was above, just a few days in. 


  1. My Struggle: Book 5, Karl Ove Knausgård

  2. Blind Spot, Teju Cole

  3. Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine

  4. Exit West, Mohsin Hamid

  5. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen

  6. Swing Time, Zadie Smith

  7. Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, John Hodgman

  8. Now You See It and Other Essays on Design, Michael Bierut

  9. Home and Away: Writing the Beautiful Game, Karl Ove Knausgård and Fredrik Ekelund

  10. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah

  11. Obama: The Call of History, Peter Baker

  12. Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure, Bianca Bosker

  13. A Separation, Katie Kitamura

  14. Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art

  15. More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers, Jonathan Lethem

  16. Powers of Ten, Philip Morrison

  17. Freud: Inventor of the Modern Mind, Peter D. Kramer


  1. Moonlight

  2. Lady Bird

  3. Under the Skin

  4. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

  5. Clouds of Sils Maria

  6. Life Itself

  7. Arrival


  1. Better Call Saul, Season 3

  2. The Americans, Seasons 4-5

  3. OJ: Made in America

  4. Master of None, Season 2

I’m going to skip making a long list of favorite albums and podcasts, and instead note a discovery in each, respectively: Phoebe Bridgers (watch her Tiny Desk Concert here), and S-Town. They each feel a bit haunted, and they share, in parts, a gothic sensibility. (Also: I can’t not mention Black Thought’s instantly classic 11-minute freestyle video, which c’mon.) 

Our SONOS Play: 1 is used every evening for listening to music as we get ready for dinner or just goof around with the kids. Things 3 finally launched, and it’s attractive and enjoyable to use. It’s only been a month or so, but I’ve been enjoying trying out Ulysses as a writing environment (despite having no interest in using Markdown.) I’ve been impressed with Airtable as a flexible, humane alternative to Excel, when you need a database of some kind but have zero needs for financial calculations. (I’d seen the fancy Sandwich video when it launched, but didn’t realize it could fit my needs until the co-founder’s segment on Track Changes.)

As noted on this website earlier this month, I was sad to see an end to the remarkable life of William H. Gass, who I was lucky enough to get to know over the past decade-plus. Bill lived a long and productive life, dying at 93, and working through his final year. I was honored to write briefly about him for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and speak about his life and work on St. Louis Public Radio. I continue posting notes from readers and admirers at

Highlights from a very fun year at Forest Park Forever include engaging the public in the final year of Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future, speaking at the international City Parks Alliance conference in the Twin Cities, launching a 2.0 version of, and publishing Forest Park: Snapshots of a St. Louis Gem.

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Stephen Schenkenberg @schenkenberg