Best of 2010
In 2005, I discovered the annual year-end Fimoculous “Lists” which aggregate as many best-of lists from across the web as possible. Last year, Kottke did something similar with the Best of the Noughties decade in review (it’s still too soon to be debating over that era’s nomenclature). While I’m a little early to be reviewing all of 2010, I feel like I’ve already found my own favorite book, movie, and music releases.
I haven’t finished reading it yet, but Sex at Dawn gets my vote for best book (excerpts and related postings through the official website). I honestly don’t read as much as I’d like to (three or four books a year, plus a dozen others from the library that I never finished), so I can’t compare it to too many others published this year. From the flap of the book: Ryan and Jethá’s central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is.
In film, nothing really surprised me this year as much as The Soloist did last year, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo stands out as one of my favorites. A Swedish trilogy (based on the controversial and bestselling novels by Stieg Larsson) released in 2009, the films didn’t come to the States until 2010. I equally enjoyed the last film (Hornet’s Nest), but didn’t care for the second one (Played with Fire). Inception, The Social Network, Winter’s Bone, and You Don’t Know Jack (made for HBO) are a few other favorites that I got a chance to watch this year. Unfortunately, I’ve only seen half of the movies that I had wanted to see this summer.
I’m not sure how I managed to let Janelle Monáe slip through the Tuesday Zep blogging cracks this year, but I didn’t have to hesitate in crowning The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) Best Album of the Year (full streaming on official website). You’ve probably heard “Tightrope”, the James Brownesque dance-inducing single, but I’ve embedded “Many Moons”, below, (actually from the Suite I EP) to give you an idea of the story and concept she manages to weave throughout the diverse range of musical patterns from song to song. New releases from Die Antwoord, Joanna Newsom, Tom Petty, Girl Talk, and Sleigh Bells all tie for second.