Top Ripples 2021

December 2021 was a hectic month, thus the delay of this year-end wrap up. 2021 was another unusual year. No in-person at a theatre to watch movies, but there were several excellent titles. Glad I could watch them online. As for books, I surprised myself as I counted over 50 books from my list on Goodreads, albeit I admit, many of them are audiobooks.

Here are the Top Ripples of my 2021. Links are to my reviews.


Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in The Dig, based on an historic event in Suffolk, England, 1939.

The Dig – I’d left this one out on my last list by (a huge) mistake, now corrected. This is one of the best movies I’ve watched during the pandemic. Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in their unusual roles based on a true, historic event. Beautifully shot.

Passing – Both book and movie adaptation are very well done.

Nomadland – Oscar 2021 Best Picture, Director and Actress. Both book and film are inspiring.

Minari – Autobiographical pic of Korean American director Lee Isaac Chung. Yuh-Jung Youn won the Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role for playing the eccentric grandma.

The Father – Anthony Hopkins nails it as the father afflicted with dementia and deservedly won his second Oscar at 84, the oldest Acting Oscar winner.

Promising Young Woman – Excellent Oscar winning screenplay by debut director Emerald Fennell. But it’s Carey Mulligan’s performance that speaks most poignantly for promising young women.

Drive My Car – Japanese director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi has created a play within a play while adapting a short story by Haruki Murakami. How ingenious is that? Japan’s official entry to the coming 94th Academy Awards. (Link to my review on Asian American Press)


Joan Didion, Dec. 5, 1934 – Dec. 23, 2021.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion

The Education of an Idealist: a Memoir by Samantha Power

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Passing by Nella Larsen

Brat: an 80’s Story by Andrew McCarthy

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write by Claire Messud


Top Ripples 2018

Here’s the other one of my perennial posts, a wrap for the year. Books I’ve read and film experience that top the year for me. Here are the lists, in no particular order:


I’m appreciating foreign language films more and more, for they offer some of the best examples of what cinematic arts can offer, not CGI sparked spectacles. In my Top 10 list, the first four are from non-English speaking countries. They are also short-listed for the coming Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category. Links are to my reviews.





A Star Is Born


The Favourite

Free Solo


The Kominsky Method

I must mention two films that I’d highly anticipated but somehow didn’t connect as I’d wanted to. Maybe if I’ve the chance to watch them again I might change my mind: Cold War and First Reform.

Two movies from 2017 which I hadn’t watched until January this year that should be mentioned here:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Shape of Water



These are not necessarily published in 2018, but the best books that I’ve read this year. I’m not a ‘quantity reader’, nevertheless, a look back at my Goodreads record, I can’t believe I ate all these (links are to my reviews):

The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust (after 3 years, finally finished)

Middlemarch by George Eliot

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham

Not Quite, Note White: Losing and Finding Race in America by Sharmila Sen

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance


Selective Top Ripples from past years are listed on the side bar. Click on the pictures to my reviews.

Again, thanks for visiting the Pond and throwing in your two pebbles. I’ve enjoyed every single ripple. Hope you’d found a quiet respite here for thoughts and renewal.

And to all, may 2019 bring you more great books and movies to cherish.



Update: This post should be written on the last day of the year. Since I’d posted it, I saw another film today which I feel should be included here on the Top Ripples 2018 list, and that’s The Favourite (Just opens today in our City). I’m taking The Rider out to keep the list of 10. The Rider I found I’d already included it in my Top Ripples list last year.