Boston: A Top Ten List

With all of the horrible things going on in Boston right now (Illinois and Texas, I’m thinking of you too), I thought I would share some of the wonderful things about the city. I love Shakespeare on the Common, the Red Sox, Swan Boats, the Freedom Trail, and the pizza – it’s better than New York. I love that you can’t find a straight road anywhere and the way the city looks in October. I love that if you wait long enough, the Red Sox will win the World Series again. And again after that. I love that it’s cold in the winter and hot in the summer and that you can always find good ice cream.

Boston Image

And I love to see Boston represented in films, books, and music – and that’s what you’re getting today.

Favorite films set in Boston:

10. Next Stop Wonderland
9. Fever Pitch
8. Monument Ave.
7. Mystic River
6. Glory
5. The Fighter
4. The Boondock Saints
3. Good Will Hunting
2. The Town
1. The Departed

Favorite novels set in Boston:

10. Cell by Stephen King (okay, it’s not great, but the part set in Boston is good)
9. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (this one is more of a love-hate thing)
8. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (read solely because it’s ‘important’)
7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
6. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
5. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (and Shutter Island and Gone, Baby, Gone…)
4. The Bostonians by Henry James
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
2. It Happened in Boston? by Russell H. Greenan (while you’re at it, read The Secret Life of Algernon Pendleton)
1. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

Bands/Musicians from the Boston area (not all currently active, in no particular order, and being on the list is not necessarily a guarantee of love (i.e. Pixies)):

10. Caleb Groh
9. The Cars
8. Morphine
7. Letters to Cleo (loved them when I was in middle school)
6. The Dresden Dolls
5. Pixies
4. Joan Baez
3. Aerosmith
2. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
1. Dropkick Murphys

Do you have a favorite film/book/band based in Boston? Did I omit anything that absolutely must be included?

Image: Wicked Preppy

19 thoughts on “Boston: A Top Ten List

  1. The fact that you’re a Letters to Cleo fan makes us SOUL MATES. Because. OMG I love them immensely to this very day. THIS VERY DAY. Last night I got really happy that Ben’s Aurora Gory Alice t-shirt made a re-appearance on Parks & Rec.


    1. I missed that, but that’s awesome. I still like them now, but I LOVED (all capitals kind of love) in middle and early high school. Did you love 10 Things I Hate About You? Because I did (and still do…that movie ages quite well).


      1. YES! 10 Things is classic! I remember seeing the preview for the movie and SQUEALING that LTC was in it. And when Kay Hanley did the singing for Josie & The Pussycats? Yeah. I think this explains why my musical preferences are frozen in the late 90s…


      2. LTC and The Wallflowers (Jakob Dylan, enough said). ’90’s music is some of my favorite.

        10 Things is solely responsible for my rather fabulous table dancing skills. Thanks Julia Stiles.


      3. Me too! Actually I don’t know any Letters to Cleo EXCEPT what’s in 10 Things. (The original Cheap Trick “I Want You to Want Me” came on the radio in the car the other day, and it just isn’t the same.) Though I do have the Josie & the Pussycats soundtrack… I think I need to dig that out.


      4. The soundtrack was the best thing about Josie and the Pussycats! I actually prefer the newer version to Cheap Trick’s version.


      5. Covers can be better – like Ryan Adams cover of Wonderwall (Oasis annoys the piss out of me, pardon the language) and Rufus Wainwright’s cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (who I *should* like more, but don’t) and Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt by NIN. So as not to glorify Johnny, Jack White’s cover of Wayfaring Stranger is better than Cash’s.


      1. hahaha!! Confession time? Ok… I still use the pillow case that goes with the NKOTB sheet set!!! LOLOL my mom kept it and gave it to me years after I moved out!!


    1. Thanks, it’s a great city. I think about moving back there – then I remember January.

      Of course July and early October can almost offset the miserable winters, then again I live in Colorado right now and there’s a foot of snow on the ground. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have a geographic ideal – maybe Hawaii?


  2. Um, I thought of the band Boston. And of course, Aerosmith. I always though The Bell Jar was more NYC, but maybe that is the beginning of the book? I didn’t realize Infinite Jest was Boston-based. and really? Sound and the Fury is Boston? Whoa, I don’t remember that but it has been a few decades.
    I am also reminded of a book set in Boston but can’t find it in my brain (or in goodreads) but it is set in the 1800s and open with a truly repulsive scene of maggots in dead body. And it has famous people in it; fiction… It was the author’s debut novel… It is bugging me I can’t recall! OH! Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. whew…


    1. I thought of Boston too, but I feel like everyone should know that (hopefully). The Bell Jar does start in NYC, but she returns to the Boston suburbs. Infinite Jest is based in a city based on Boston (if that makes sense), you can actually take an Infinite Jest Boston tour. It’s hard to recognize at first, but once you realize it – it’s like ‘duh’. Part 2 (Quentin’s part) in The Sound and The Fury is set in Boston/Cambridge.

      I am intrigued about the book you can’t remember. I’ve heard good things about The Dante Club, but I haven’t read it.


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