10 | My daughter’s first book-to-movie experience

We bought her “The Hate You Give” for her 12th birthday—she loved it, devoured the book in no time, and spent walks to school telling us about the characters and plot points. As soon as she finished, she told us she wanted to watch the movie. So, we settled in on a Saturday evening for family movie night. We fired up the SodaStream, made some popcorn, dimmed the lights. And… she couldn’t have been more disappointed. Or maybe frustrated. Names changed, entire characters missing. Through eye rolls and audible moans, she wasn’t having any of it. Me, I liked the movie. But I didn’t read the book.

9 | Fleabag

Preemptive side bar: I watched a lot of tv this past year. At the end of a day or week, my wife and I didn’t have the energy for much else. We watched the shows on this list together. Shared the same laughs. Got surprised by the same plot twists. Talked about them in between episodes. It’s not exactly living life to the fullest but it is the time we spent together.

I was definitely late to Fleabag, but in a way that made it better. This way, I got to watch both seasons back to back and close together. While both were short and left me wanting more, it was also amazing how much humour, depth, and emotion could get packed into 302 minutes. I loved Brett Gelman though I do hope he gets to play a non-asshole some day. And I will follow Phoebe Waller Bridge wherever she goes next. Forever.

8 | Succession

I’ve been a huge fan of Brian Cox for a longtime, but I didn’t start watching this show until I had to watch it for work (I know, not a bad way to make a living). My agency’s creative for HBO didn’t get produced in the end (though we did do some neat stuff for Sharp Objects) but I was hooked. The first season was fantastic, the second was even better. It’s sharp, it’s funny, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s got Cousin fuckin’ Greg.

5 | Podcasts

When I’m not working or watching tv, I spend most of the remaining time doing laundry or sitting on slow-moving streetcar on the way to or from work. Podcasts get me through. In particular, I listened to a lot of The Bill Simmons Podcast, The Watch, and Beautiful / Anonymous, which I’ve mentioned before in these year-end top ten lists. If you’re still not listening, tune the hell in already.

6 | The Music of Spencer Krug

From Wolf Parade to Sunset Rubdown to Moonface, Spencer Krug might be current favourite songwriter. None of his aforementioned bands put out albums in 2019, but I found myself going through phases of listening to “Expo 86” (Wolf Parade, 2010), “Dragonslayer” (Sunset Rubdown, 2009) and “Julia With Blue Jeans On” (Moonface, 2013) as if they were brand new.

I see you there / Oh, at the bottom of the stairs / Obliterating everything I’d ever written down / Was there any other way / That you could have been found?

4 | Highly Questionable

For those who don’t know, this is a daily sports show that isn’t all sports. It’s funny, it’s endearing, and I have all the time in the world for the show’s host and creator, Dan Le Batard. In 2019, he got in hot water with his employer, ESPN, when he called them cowards during a very emotional anti-Trump speech that was in response to the network telling it’s on-air personalities to stick to sports. It almost cost him his job. But I’m glad he said what he said because it needed to be said by somebody in his position. Give it a listen. 

9 | Watchmen

Whether you’re into the subject matter or not, Watchmen was a masterclass in storytelling from Damon Lindelof. I really only watched it because I loved his last show, The Leftovers, so much. A lot has been made about the major steps the show took regarding race and superheroes and I won’t do justice to that or add anything new. But more than anything else I saw, read, or listened to this year, this show felt like a piece of storytelling for our very specific moment in time.

3 | Flash nonfiction

I love everything we publish but I got to work on this one up close and personal. I didn’t know what to expect from the form—I’d read some great flash nonfiction and I’d read some not so great flash nonfiction. It’s tough to tell a compelling, resonant story with so few words. But the pieces we got—and not just the ones we published, but many more that we gave a lot of consideration to—just absolutely floored me.

2 | Friends and family

I didn’t spend as much time with my friends and family as I would have liked but I think that’s all of us—or most of us anyway (there are those who might say they spend too much time together). But the time I did have with them, I just did my best to be present. I listened, I asked, I tried to give hugs that felt like they meant something.

1 | The World Champion Toronto Raptors

That championship run was something else. I haven’t seen my city like that in a long time. Maybe ever. I was around the Blue Jays World Series wins but this was different. It went deeper. We had a team that represented the fanbase and fanbase that represented the city: multicultural, multidimensional, and stronger because of our differences. Everywhere you went it was all people talked about. And hey, I won a signed Pascal Siakim jersey by guessing how many total points Spicy P would score in the finals, so there’s that, too.

Troy is the founding editor of Little Fiction | Big Truths. He runs the website, designs the covers, and is thankful every day to have the people that he does helping to keep this thing alive: Beth, Amanda, Alvin, Alicia, Pat, Liz, and Kris. But his favorite part of the job is writing the bios that appear at the bottom of our year-end top tens.


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Top Ten Things 
I spent time with in 2019

by Troy Palmer