Posts Tagged ‘yearend’

The Books of 2015

Monday, December 28th, 2015

The last couple of years, I’ve been making lists of the music I listen to all year and my favorites. I’m working on my 2015 music lists, but I thought I’d do the same with books this year. As with music, these aren’t necessarily books that came out in 2015, but ones I read. The unquestioned top books for me this year were the first two books of Liu Cixin’s “Three-Body Problem” trilogy (the third is due to appear in English translation in 2016, I believe). They are amazing. If you like any kind of science fiction or speculative fiction (or even if you don’t), you should read them. “Ancillary Sword” (and its sequel) was another science fiction book I really like this year, with a great protagonist. “Fingersmith” was another one that I recommend to all, with a great, twisty, Dickensian plot and cast of characters. It turns out that Goodreads will also summarize your year in reading; here’s mine.

Without further ado, here are my top 10:
– Liu Cixin – The Three-Body Problem
– Liu Cixin – The Dark Forest
– Sarah Waters – Fingersmith
– Ann Leckie – Ancillary Sword
– Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo – The Terrorists
– Karl Schroeder – Ventus
– Richard Price – Samaritan
– N.K. Jemisin – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
– Katherine Addison – The Goblin Emperor
– Richard Roberts – Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain

And here’s the complete list, in chronological order:
– Terry Pratchett – Monstrous Regiment
– Maj Sjowall – The Terrorists
– Steven Erikson – House of Chains
– Sidney Perkowitz – Universal Foam: From Cappuccino to the Cosmos
– Darin Bradley – Chimpanzee: A Novel
– Richard Roberts – Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain
– Hannu Rajaniemi – The Fractal Prince
– J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit
– Rosalind Wiseman – Queen Bees and Wannabes
– Nick Harkaway – Tigerman
– Anthony Hope – The Prisoner of Zenda
– Daphne du Maurier – The Scapegoat
– Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch
– Donna Tartt – The Little Friend
– Donna Tartt – The Secret History
– James S.A. Corey – Leviathan Wakes
– Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice
– Tim Kreider – We Learn Nothing
– Liu Cixin – The Three-Body Problem
– George Pelecanos – The Cut
– Ann Leckie – Ancillary Sword
– Richard Price – Samaritan
– Leonora Carrington – The Hearing Trumpet
– Dennis Lehane – Gone, Baby, Gone
– M.K. Smith – Serena’s Fall
– Karl Schroeder – Ventus
– Liu Cixin – The Dark Forest
– Karl Schroeder – Lady of Mazes
– Judd Trichter – Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
– Robert Charles Wilson – The Affinities
– Derek Raymond – He Died With His Eyes Open
– Simon Reynolds – Rip it Up and Start Again
– Derek Raymond – The Devil’s Home on Leave
– Nick Mamatas – The Future is Japanese: Science Fiction Futures and Brand New Fantasies from and about Japan.
– James Ellroy – The Best American Noir of the Century
– Sarah Waters – Fingersmith
– Katherine Addison – The Goblin Emperor
– J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
– N.K. Jemisin – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
– Philip Reeve – Mortal Engines
– Diana Wynne Jones – Howl’s Moving Castle
– Warren Ellis – Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadow
– C.S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters
– J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
– Zoe Heller – What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]
– C.A. Higgins – Lightless

Nora’s Best of 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

We listen to a lot of music with Nora, and every year I keep a running playlist of whatever she’s currently listening to and compile and save it at the end of the year. This year, for the first time, Nora actually made her own “best of” list with my help. Here it is! If you see some overlap with my list, well, we listen to a lot of music together. The influence goes both ways; how do you think I ended up with “Happy” and “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” on my list?

– Erasure – Blue Savannah
– Falco – Der Kommissar
– Pharrell Williams – Happy
– Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
– New Order – Love Vigilantes
– A Tribe Called Quest – Ham ‘N’ Eggs
– The Cardigans – Lovefool
– Yaz – Situation
– Del the Funky Homosapien – Mistadobolina
– Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight
– New Order – Ultraviolence
– The Chemical Brothers – Swoon
– Erasure – Brother and Sister
– Eagles – Hotel California
– Tegan and Sara – Everything Is AWESOME!!! (feat. The Lonely Island)

The Sound of 2014

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

As I did for 2013, I’ve made a top 10 list for 2014. I made one change to my methodology — I’m posting it in January instead of August — but otherwise, same idea: it is music I discovered, rediscovered, or just listened to in 2014 (whenever it was released), and it includes 12 songs.

Again, over the course of the year, I kept a playlist of interesting songs I heard. At the end of the year, I made two more lists: The Sound of 2014, the stuff I listened to and enjoyed enough that they define the sound of the year for me, and The Best of 2014, my absolute favorites.

A strong theme in 2014 was retro (or retro-sounding) dance music: italo disco (Koto & Hipnosis), old club hits (Klein & MBO have been cited by New Order as an influence), and modern retro-sounding stuff (Hercules & Love Affair). In 2013, New Order’s Movement and PC&L were big, as Peter Hook toured on those albums; this year, songs on Low-Life and Brotherhood were big with me, for a similar reason. 2014 didn’t have a dominant album for me (like Jagwar Ma’s “Howlin” in 2013); The Juan Maclean’s “In A Dream” probably came closest, with Hercules & Love Affair and Caribou right behind them. And for some reason, I got absolutely obsessed with “In The Air Tonight” last year.

Here’s the list:
– Klein & MBO – Dirty Talk (Greg Wilson Edit)
– Koto – Japanese War Game
– Husky Rescue – Summertime Cowboy
– The Juan Maclean – A Place Called Space
– Hercules & Love Affair – That’s Not Me (feat. Gustaph)
– Paris – The Devil Made Me Do It
– First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining
– Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight
– New Order – This Time of Night
– Caribou – Our Love
– Liars – Mess On A Mission
– Sugardaddy – Love Honey (Electro Version)

The Sound of 2013

Friday, August 1st, 2014

At the end of every year, pretty much every music critic, blogger, or enthusiast makes their list of top 10 songs or albums of the year. I usually don’t, but in 2013 I explored a lot more music than usual and decided to make a list too. There are a few differences between my top 10 list and most people’s though: (1) it is songs I discovered, rediscovered, or just listened to a lot in 2013; (2) it has 12 songs on it; and (3) it comes out in August instead of December.

In 2013, I made an effort to break out of my music habits of the last 20 years and listen to a lot of new music (thank you, KEXP, SoundHound, and Spotify). As I listened, I collected a mostly-unfiltered playlist of stuff I heard and tracked down. Toward the end of the year, I made two more lists: The Sound of 2013, the stuff I listened to and enjoyed enough that they define the sound of the year for me, and The Best of 2013, my absolute favorites.

Honestly, I probably could have just made Jagwar Ma’s “Howlin” the “Best of” list and it would be just as true. Howlin is easily my favorite album of the year and the best new thing I’ve heard in years. An old favorite, New Order’s “Movement”, makes an appearance as well, because I spent much of the year delving deeply into the sound of that album.

Anyway, for those without Spotify, here’s the “Best of” list:
– Jagwar Ma – Uncertainty
– Ana Tijoux – 1977
– The White Stripes – The Hardest Button to Button
– Wax Tailor – Say Yes (feat. ASM)
– Soft Metals – Tell Me
– Jagwar Ma – What Love
– New Order – The Him
– El Perro Del Mar – Hold off the Dawn
– Deltron 3030 – Pay the Price
– Weekend – Oubliette
– Phoenix – Everything is Everything
– Franz Ferdinand – Evil Eye