Listmaker, listmaker, make me a list.
I wouldn't be me if I didn't make lists.
Best book I've read this year: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (fiction); Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (non-fiction)
Strictly speaking, both of these books were published before 2004, but I read both of them this year. Fingersmith is a Victorian quasi-lesbian love story and Nickel and Dimed is Barbara Ehrenreich's narrative about going undercover and trying to earn a living in a series of minimum wage jobs. This year I've read fewer books overall than I have in most years past, but what I've read has by and large been really good. Biggest disappointment was July, July by Tim O'Brien, who I'm increasingly coming to think wrote one transcendant masterpiece (The Things They Carried) and nothing else but schlock.
Best movie I've seen this year: Garden State
It's really too early for a best movie list, since there are still several 2004 movies that I'm going to end up seeing in early 2005. But so far, Garden State takes the prize. I've never watched Scrubs and I didn't really know anything by Zach Braff before, but he did a hell of a job with this movie. Runners-up include The Incredibles, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Mean Girls, but stay tuned for more on this into the new year.
Best album: Underachievers, Please Try Harder by Camera Obscura
But I still need to buy The Arcade Fire album, and there are a whole bunch of runners-up here, so stay tuned for more on this into the new year as well. It's worth pointing out that Camera Obscura is also the best live band I've seen this year, even including Belle and Sebastian and U.S.E.
Best TV show of the year: Arrested Development.
No one else is making TV like this right now. Everything about this show works. Every casting choice is right on, the writing practically sings. And to think that the execs at FOX in their infinite wisdom almost cancelled it.
Of course there were also The Sopranos, The Daily Show, and The Amazing Race as runners-up, and I never thought I'd say this but Joe Shmoe 2 was damn clever.
I'm feeling pretty good about how this year has gone. Fortunately I still have nine and a half
more hours to mess stuff up.
Happy new year, everyone!