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Old 31st Dec 2014, 13:11   #1
Noumenon
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Default Highlights of 2014

Just to spare Col from doing all the housework, I thought I'd step in. Everyone seems to have written 2014 off as a horrible one - do you agree, or not? Give us your year's best and worst in any or all categories (or invent your own)..

"New" means released or published in 2014, "Old" means anything produced prior to Jan 1st 2014. Feel free to ignore or add categories to those below.

New Book of the Year

Old Book of the Year

Worst Book of the Year

New Film of the Year

Old Film of the Year

Worst Film of the Year

Album of the Year (new or old)

Song of the Year (new or old)

TV Show of the Year

Trip of the Year

Word of the Year

Sight of the Year

Event of the Year

Grub of the Year

Hero of the Year

Zero of the Year
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 14:08   #2
Noumenon
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Default Re: Highlights of 2014

New Book of the Year
A House of Knives - William Shaw
I know, it looks like creeping. I just blogged my best of year reads and the only other 2014 releases were Scale Bright and Annihilation - both spec fic, both really good - but A House of Knives removed the few things I didn't like about A Song from Dead Lips and kept all the things I did. Really good stuff, well done, wshaw!

Old Book of the Year
China Mountain Zhang - Maureen F. McHugh
Now I have a problem: there were seven others in that list. My choice is made with a heavy nod to Keith Ridgway's Hawthorn and Child, because I hugely enjoyed both (coincidentally they both share a rather wandering nature). Looks like I was all about the spec fic and crime fic this year, doesn't it?

Worst Book of the Year
The Political Gene, Denis Sewell
There have been a few things this year I started and abandoned (I'll be discreet), but those aside I've not had to put up with anything all that bad. So, because I finally reviewed it and that forced me to look at it again, Sewell's two-faced polemic can take the prize.

New Film of the Year
Big Hero 6
I also saw Interstellar (took itself way too seriously for what it was) and Gone Girl (I glibly want to say "...not seriously enough for...", but that would be glib). BH6 entertained me the most, even if it was super-lite.

I have a terrible suspicion that there is someother new film I'm forgetting about, but that suggests it shouldn't be in the running anyway.


Old Film of the Year
Prisoners
Loved it in its moments, loved it overall, enough to overlook a clunky coincidence in the middle. La Grande Bellezza takes second place, 2013 was clearly a good one. Snowpiercer comes in third, for being excellent fun.

Worst Film of the Year
Godzilla
Mind-stunningly boring. Even more boring than The Hobbit movies, and that's quite an achievement.

Album of the Year (new or old)
RTJ2 - Run The Jewels.
I suffer guilty flinches at some of the lyrics, they're not always very sophisticated (gangsterish rap, though, so what do I expect?), but it's also great tunes.

Song of the Year (new or old)
Get Lucky - Daft Punk
Because there are so many great covers...

TV Show of the Year
House of Cards
Stepping smartly into the void left by Boardwalk Empire, I'm coming to this a year or so late (or 20 some years late, depending on your point of view) and really enjoying it.

EDIT: prompted by David's list - I really liked Happy Valley too, so let's say these are my US and UK winners!


Trip of the Year
BDO Bath
It's got to be, for at least the second year running. Lovely to see Palimpsestrians old and new. Roll on the next one!

Word of the Year
Published.

Sight of the Year
Corseted girlfriend at my...

Event of the Year
...Steam-themed book release party!

Grub of the Year
Seafood soup
Monkfish, giant prawns, calamari and shellfish in tomato...

Hero of the Year
Anita Sarkeesian, for her fascinating and unpleasant analysis of the deep-seated problems in computer gaming - and to anyone similarly facing the disgusting abuse directed at women in the gaming community.

Zero of the Year
Whoever came up with the plan to tax the crap out of Amazon in Europe but didn't bother worrying about how the strategy would effect the little people.

Last edited by Noumenon; 1st Jan 2015 at 12:31.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 14:57   #3
David
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Default Re: Highlights of 2014

New Book of the Year
Juanita Wildrose: My True Life by Susan Downe. Strictly speaking published at the end of 2013, but Downe's "slightly fictionalised memoir" about her own mother is so stunningly good and unusual that I'm going to cheat and pick it. If I have to stick to books published during 2014, Phil Klay's Redeployment was excellent and a deserving National Book Award Winner.

Old Book of the Year
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren succeeded on every level for me and was one of those books that when finish I look at with awe and want to read again. Honourable mentions to two superb Australian novels: The Young Desire It by Kenneth MacKenzie, and Highways to a War by Christopher Koch. 2014 was also the year I read Great Expectations for the first time, which will definitely not be my last Dickens: what a cracking read!

Worst Book of the Year
The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner wasn't terrible, and so perhaps it's unfair to call it the worst book of the year, but it was easily the most disappointing. Having loved Zentner's debut Touch I was really looking forward to this, but it was an ill-conceived mess of a book: characters out of a bad Western having soap opera relationships whilst lobster-fishing, mixed with some half-baked magic realism backstory and references to King Lear that were never fully developed. Giving it a run for its money was Lorrie Moore's Bark.

Album of the Year (new or old)
Until the Colours Run by Lanterns on the Lake. From last year I think, but I first came across it in May whilst judging an Alumni Award on my old University degree course - one of the Animation/Moving Image students had used a couple of tracks from the album as soundtracks to his (unnerving, weird but strangely hypnotic) work. I downloaded the album as soon as I got home and haven't stopped listening to it since.

Song of the Year (new or old)
For sheer sing-along-ability Andrew McMahon's Cecilia and the Satellite, but also Beck's Blackbird Chain, Chvrches' The Mother We Share and Lanterns on the Lake's Another Tale from Another English Town.

TV Show of the Year
Happy Valley. I hadn't expected something starring Sarah Lancashire to be my favourite thing of the year but this for me wins hands down - pitch black and nasty, hilarious and shocking, the first programme in years that I've spent all week looking forward to the next episode.

Worst TV Show of the Year
The Great Fire - absolutely unutterably terrible.
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 1:43   #4
elwood
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Default Highlights of 2014

New Book of the Year: no new releases bought/read in 2014

Old Book of the Year: The Laughing Policeman (1968) the 4th Martin Beck novel by Maj Sjwall & Per Wahl

Worst Book I've Read This Year: The Crying of Lot 49 (1965) ~ Thomas Pynchon

New Film of the Year: nothing new seen

Best Old Film Seen for the First Time This Year: Winter's Bone (2010) - just ahead of Memento (2000), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and True Grit (2010)

Worst Film Seen for the First Time This Year: Sightseers (2012) - I expected so much, but I hated it.

New Album of the Year: Royal Blood debut album by Royal Blood

Old Album of the Year: Mezcal Head (1993) by Swervedriver, & S.C.I.E.N.C.E. (1997) by Incubus

New Song of the Year: Little Monster by Royal Blood

Old Song of the Year: Good Morning, Captain (1991) by Slint

TV Show of the Year: The Bridge (Season 2)

Trip of the Year: ?

Word of the Year: ''No''/''Yes'' (Referendum: 18-Sep-2014)

Sight of the Year: The ceramic poppies at the Tower of London

Event of the Year: Glasgow 2014 (Commonwealth Games)

Grub of the Year: Home-made rice pudding

Hero of the Year: ?

Zero of the Year: Most senior FIFA officials (Sepp Blatter, etc.)
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 17:48   #5
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Default Re: Highlights of 2014

New Book of the Year – Probably either The Bunker Diaries by Kevin Brooks (despite my misgivings over it) or The Hunted by Charlie Higson, who is sustainably good at delivering a top-notch read.

Old Book of the YearCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Both just phenomenal and moving; YA fiction: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green.

Worst Book of the YearThe Evening of the World by Allan Massie or for YA lit - If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

New Film of the YearDawn of the Planet of the Apes or The Grand Budapest Hotel

Old Film of the YearMargaret was just terrific; Her made me think a lot but I hated the actual "Her"; The Flowers of War is clichd in part but horrific as it is, apparently falls short of the atrocities committed in the Rape of Nanking.

Worst Film of the Year – possibly Love Actually (the first time I have seen it) or A Dangerous Method.

Album of the Year (new or old) – barely listen to music these days: I listened several times to my old cassette tape of The National Theatre soundtrack to The Mysteries from 1985, if that counts; possibly Jack White's Blunderbuss.

Song of the Year (new or old) – no idea on this one

TV Show of the YearGame of Thrones, The Honourable Woman, Our Zoo (the Lee Ingleby appreciation increases), Line of Duty

Play of the Year – our local production of Journey’s End, starring Ollie Smith and Sean Mitchell.

Trip of the Year – straight tie between BDO Bath and our second trip to Valence in France en famille-plus-Libby’s-Ollie.

Word of the Year“Leicester”.

It occurs with Baader-Meinhof frequency all the time now, and without actually disliking the place or people itself (Leicester folk, Leicester the city: you’re great!) the sheer self-interested desecration of history, lack of good pastoral ethics, lack of good funeral ethics, lack of professional respect and rampant commercialism from the authorities involved there that denotes what has happened over the last three years, makes it the ultimate turn-off word of the year (possibly a lifetime). Tudor couldn’t have done better if he tried.

Sight of the Year – the A4 locomotives all gathered at Shildon railway museum; younger Col daughter, named for Richard III’s daughter, dressed as town May Queen, crowned in Richard III’s castle here last May.

Event of the Year – Silver Wedding! Good grief, where did the years go?......

Grub of the Year – A fantastic steak & chips at the Three Horseshoes in town, just me and Mr Col for a rare evening out on our own to celebrate our Silver Anniversary.

Hero of the Year – older son: passed his driving test; trained for a profession that could last his lifetime (and getting plaudits for it from others in the business); found a lovely girlfriend and impressively committed himself in a variety of ways to mature living-away-from-parents.

Zero of the Year – George Osborne/IDS for ideological and moral turpitude and no shame.
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Old 3rd Jan 2015, 1:11   #6
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Default Re: Highlights of 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noumenon View Post
New Book of the Year
A House of Knives - William Shaw
I know, it looks like creeping. I just blogged my best of year reads and the only other 2014 releases were Scale Bright and Annihilation - both spec fic, both really good - but A House of Knives removed the few things I didn't like about A Song from Dead Lips and kept all the things I did. Really good stuff, well done, wshaw!
Bloody hell, Nou. Creep.

Seriously. Thank you so much. That's possibly the nicest thing I expect to read all year.
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Old 4th Jan 2015, 14:51   #7
Noumenon
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Default Re: Highlights of 2014

My pleasure - I wouldn't have said it if it wasn't true.
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