At the end of every year, I choose one book and movie, plus a runner-up for each category, that I think are the absolute best of what I read and watched in the past year. If you take no other recommendations away from my blog, take these!
So how do I decide?
It is primarily based on the depth of the book or movie: how it made me feel, the deep themes it addressed, etc. The work must be of the highest quality, of course, in terms of craftsmanship, but it must also have that something more that separates good from great.
I go through my month-in-review posts and other records, making a list of books and movies that I think could be candidates. All of these are of the highest quality, things that I rated five stars at the time.
Then I go through and narrow down my list, asking these questions:
*Does this book/movie display Christian truth, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in a deep and thematic way?
*Did this book/movie have a profound (positive) emotional effect on me when I read or watched it?
*Is this a book or movie that I will come back to in years to come?
*Is this a book or movie that I think will be beneficial to any Christian who reads or watches it, regardless of where they are in life? Is it universal in truth and beauty?
Movie of the Year: Cinderella (runner-up: Inside Out)
Book of the Year: That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (runner-up: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand)