Best of 2014

It’s a tradition, a Holiday Tradition even, so it cannot be skipped, questioned or abandoned. Yes, I’m talking about the annual ‘best of list‘ and here it is:

Music: So many great albums this year! YOUNG FATHERS, JUNGLE, FUTURE ISLANDS, BECK, TWEEDY, NENEH CHERRY, FKA TWIGS, SYLVAN ESSO, … The list goes on. There was one album that stood out though, BLACK ATLASS – Young Bloods. Fire up your music streaming service of choice and make sure to listen with headphones not through that crappy speaker on your cell phone.

Movie: Fiction > Her – SPIKE JONZE.
Non-Fiction >  Somm – JASON WISE.

Book: Fiction > Absurdistan – GARY SHTEYNGART. It was a little meh actually, but I didn’t read anything that blew me away this year.
Non-Fiction > Long Way Round – EWAN McGREGOR and CHARLEY BOORMAN.

App: Spotify.

Website: The Verge. I love how The Verge has started to look beyond technology news and has become a great example of what internet journalism can (and should?) look like. I’m excited to see them broaden their horizon even further and diving deeper into Editorial Design in 2015. I have high hopes for the work Jason Santa Maria will be doing for them.

TV: Fiction > Boardwalk Empire (HBO).
Non-Fiction > The only non-fiction TV I watch these days are online clips and outtakes of late night shows and political satire (Jimmy Fallon, John Stewart, Bill Maher, John Oliver, …) so I guess I’ll just lump all of this together and declare those shows the winners of the non-fiction TV category. Now, where are the women in this industry? Can we see a little more balance please?

Last year no one shared their ‘best of’ in the comments. My dearest reader, that’s not acceptable. Please reciprocate, it’s not that hard, at least list your favorite album of the year, I’m sure you have one.

Best of 2013

With only a few hours to go, here’s my annual ‘Best of’ post.

Music: I hate to repeat myself, but this is always the hardest category. This year it was a real close toss-up between Muchacho — PHOSPHORESCENT, Woman — RHYE, and Nomad — BOMBINO. I guess if I really have to pick, it would be the Bombino album. I can’t neglect to give an honorable mention to The Jazz Age — THE BRYAN FERRY ORCHESTRA, if I had bought that one on 78rpm vinyl (or would it have been shellac?) it would be wearing thin by now. There were many, many, more great albums this year (Savages, Earl Sweatshirt, Chvrches, …) so if you want a more extensive list, check out the 50 best albums of 2013 according to Pitchfork.

Movie: Fiction > The Place Beyond The Pines – DEREK CIANFRANCE
Non-Fiction >  Searching for Sugar Man – MALIK BENDJELLOUL

Book: Fiction > The Circle – DAVID EGGERS. This was not Egger’s best effort by a long shot, but the fact that I plowed through this in under a week must mean something, right?

Non-Fiction > I’m afraid most non-fiction books I read this year were either web design or baby related, so I’m sure you won’t blame me for not picking a favorite among those.

App: iOS 7. Despite all the hate, I think iOS 7 was a great upgrade and therefore deserves the trophy this year.
The honorable mention goes to Notabli, if you have kids you should check it out and send me an invite. 

Website: Feedly. I know, Feedly is not technically a web site, but it’s by far the URL that gets visited most from my browser (and the iOS app was a strong contender for the category above). I still believe in the value of RSS so a good RSS reader is an important tool for me. I’m probably one of the few RSS users that didn’t mind the death of Google Reader, good riddance!
Last year’s Hell for Leather honorable mention Hell for Leather became RideApart and since this meant that the entire web site and business model changed, I believe another honorable mention is warranted.

TV: Fiction > House of Cards (Netflix)
Non-Fiction > TV keeps getting worse and worse, hence the fact that a Netflix series took the fiction trophy this year. I honestly can’t think of anything that’s worth mentioning here, even Nova is too silly to watch now.

As always, please share your ‘Best of’ in the comments, my horizon is in need of expansion.

Best of 2012

2012 in 6 categories…

Music: This was a tough one this year. There were plenty good albums, but nothing really stood out. I wonder if Spotify has something to do with that? If I have to pick one it’d be Sun – CAT POWER.
Honorable Mentions: Empros – RUSSIAN CIRCLES; Yellow & Green – BARONESS; awE naturalE – THEESatisfaction; Lonesome Dreams – LORD HURON

Movie: Fiction > The Sessions – BEN LEWIN (Based on a true story so almost non-fiction)
Non-Fiction >  Jiro Dreams of Sushi – DAVID GELB
Honorable Mention: Rundskop – MICHAEL ROSKAM

Book: Fiction > Super Sad True Love Story – GARY SHTEYNGART
Non-Fiction > Steve Jobs – WALTER ISAACSON

App: Paper
Honorable Mentions: Amplitube, NPR Music 

Website: Adventure Journal
Honorable Mentions: Pipeburn, Hell for Leather 

TV: Fiction > Game of Thrones (HBO)
Non-Fiction > Austin City Limits and The Artist Den (PBS) I know, that’s two shows, but they’re similar enough, they even share their time slot.

Looking back, 2012 was a pretty good year. Here’s to 2013 being even better.

Please share your ‘Best of’ in the comments, I can always use some suggestions.

More Best of Lists

Best of 2011

Like last year, I’m sharing my personal ‘Best of 2011’ list.

The format remains the same, no frills, no arguing the how or why. I didn’t want this post to become just a list of links, so you’ll have to Google or Bing your way to more information.

Music: Smoke Ring For My Halo – KURT VILE *Last minute discovery*
Honorable Mentions: Demolished Thoughts – THURSTON MOORE; Bon Iver – BON IVER 

Movie: Fiction > Black Swan – DARREN ARONOFSKY
Non-Fiction > Bill Cunningham New York – RICHARD PRESS

Book: Fiction > The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – MARK HADDON
Non-Fiction > Responsive Web Design – ETHAN MARCOTTE

App: Flipboard

Website: Poler’s Tumblr, I realize it’s a little weird to pick a Tumblr site as my favorite site of the year, but Tumblr really became hard to ignore in 2011 and Poler’s entire marketing strategy is just genius.

TV: Fiction > Mad Men (AMC)
Non-Fiction > Planet Earth (BBC)

That was 2011. Please share your ‘Best Of’ in the comments.  I’m sure there’s a lot I’ve missed.

Best of 2010

They are a huge cliche, but I love them and this year I’m contributing to the culture by submitting my own: This Year’s Best Of List.
I’ve listed my favorites for a few media categories and, where appropriate, I’ve separated fiction from non-fiction.  Without further ado:

Music: The Way Out – THE BOOKS

Movie: Fiction > The Secret in their Eyes – JUAN JOSE CAMPANELLA
Non-Fiction > Touching the Void – KEVIN MACDONALD

Book: Fiction > Let the Great World Spin – COLUM McCANN
Non-Fiction > The Lost City of Z – DAVID GRANN (notice how having a name that ends with a double n really helps your chances in this category)
Honorable mention (Flemish) > De Laatste Liefde van Mijn Moeder – DIMITRI VERHULST

App: Instapaper

Website: This one is hard…  There is such a wide range of websites that I enjoy: New York Times, McSweeneys, The Selvedge Yard, etc.  It feels like comparing apples to oranges to pick a favorite.  But the first one that came to mind was BikeEXIF, so let’s just keep it at that.

TV: Fiction > True Blood (HBO)
Non-Fiction > Circus (PBS)
Honorable mention (Flemish) > Van Vlees en Bloed (VRT)

That’s it!  Please share your ‘Best Of’ in the comments!  I’d love to know.  Feel free to add your own categories too.