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Hey! Happy holidays! I've been thinking that I continuously get asked what I'm reading or watching or listening to and since it's the holiday season, it might not be a bad idea to put this together in a little "recommends" list. It's just a few things that I really enjoyed this year so that maybe if you're scraping for a gift idea, you could check these out. Amazon links are attached as well as details on what I loved about the items.

Essex County by Jeff Lemire:

This is a graphic novel my friend Austin recommended to me because I was looking for a different feel of comic than the standard super-hero thing. Essex County is a three Volume Series of stories about the inhabitants of a rural county in Canada. It's less about the action and more about the softer moments that make up a person's life. The book revolves around the lives of a handful of characters as they touch and change each others lives. Through stoic images and minimalist dialogue, Essex County takes a look from another angle at love, loss and family.

WWE OMG: The Top 50 Incidents in WWE History:

I bought this on a whim and I'm glad I did. Granted, some of the moments are kind of weak and I would have replaced them with some other spots but it was a fun DVD and it's great to just put on when you hang out. What's really awesome is that the first disc is the top 50 moments but the second two discs have the full matches that the moments come from. It was awesome to watch Taker/Foley Hell in a Cell again and there were a few matches that I've honestly never seen before that I loved.

Party Down: Season One:

This show only ran for two reasons but it was really funny. I unfortunately picked up on it after it was discontinued. Adam Scott stars in this and is legit perfect in it. The show centers around a catering crew in LA that's full of aspiring and failed writers, actors, comedians and musicians as they trudge through their day job. Every show is set at a different catering event and so each episode provides a new environment and supporting cast to interact with. It's a really funny show and perfect if you're looking for a show to watch but not get invested in because, well there's only two seasons.

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia:

A DVD that could be sub-titled "Tap-Dancing, Drugs Abuse and Welfare," The Wild and Wonderful Whites is a documentary that follows the White family for one year through their trials and tribulations. The family are descendents of a tap-dancing legend who have found a way to abuse the system so that no one has to work and there are always perspiration drugs to abuse. The DVD is both terrifying and hilarious. You get to see a life you probably never even imagined existed as well as a the beginnings of a kid who will most likely end up a sociopath who murders the first man he ever meets named Dennis. You'll get it if you watch.

The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman

This is the first graphic novel I read. It's heart-breaking, horrifying and incredibly honest. The thing about Maus is that it's obviously about the Holocaust but isn't a standard Holocaust story. There are two dueling timelines in the book, one follows a man and his wife as they fight to survive WWII and Auschwitz and another that shows that man recounting these stories to his son forty years later. What makes Maus exceptional (aside from the artwork that walks the line between whimsical and soul-crushing as it depicts Nazis as cats and their victims as mice) is the display of humanity. The tendency is to assume from the outside that those who went through tragedy and emerged heroic are infallible. Maus shows that this is not always the case when that person is family as the son in the story depicts both the heroism and close-mindedness of his father.

The League: The Complete First Season

When I first heard about a show based on Fantasy Football, I didn't it could possibly be any good. I was very wrong. Football plays such a minor role that even if you've never watched a game, you'll still enjoy the show. The humor is fast-paced and, from what I've heard, mostly improved. It follows a group of friends in their early 30s living in Chicago as they torture each other. It's smart, natural and fun. The first seasons is short and cheap so it's an awesome way to start getting into a new show.

WWE '12

I haven't played a video game that didn't have Mario or Tony Hawk in it since I was 14 but I bought this game and I've been having a blast with it. The matches flow smoother than any wrestling game I've ever played and all of my current favorite wrestlers are in it. I'm not very good at it yet, but I think that's got more to do with my lack of skill than it does the difficulty of the game. I'm excited to start unlocking other wrestlers too. Certainly was worth the buy.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The best movie ever made. Nothing else to say.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Definitely one of my favorite books. In Cold Blood is the story of a murder, a search, a trial and an execution from the other perspective. Truman Capote does an incredible job in bringing out the humanity of the killer as he offers a chilling look into his mind. This is an American classic, so much so that they made not one, but two movies about it's creation.

Clark's Original Men's Desert Boot

I wear these everyday. They're super versatile, comfortable and they keep my feet warm and dry while looking cool.



-Dan Campbell