I’ve spent lots of time scouring this year’s "Best of" lists, and I thought I should pass along what I have learned.  These are not my recommendations (though I often approve), these are what I have gleaned from the recommendations of media critics.  They are my judgment of the most common selections on the "Best of" lists, noting that I did not check the lists from publications I do not enjoy and thus there is an implicit filter being applied.

So here is my aggregation:

1. Non-fiction book: Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise.

2. Fiction book: Tree of Smoke, or The Savage Detectives.

2. Miscellaneous book: Letters of Ted Hughes.  Everyone loves this, I haven’t read it yet.

3. Movie: No Country for Old MenThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly gets lots of picks, given that it is playing in only two cities.

4. Classical CD: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Sings Peter Lieberson, "Neruda Songs."  Read the excellent Ed Uyeshima review on Amazon, it is first.

5. Popular music: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver, or possibly Neon Bible, by Arcade Fire.

I still can’t figure out the consensus jazz CD of the year.  Any help?

I might add that the non-meta me basically approves of this list, with two caveats.  First, the Lieberson CD, while quite good, in part received so many mentions because the singer, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, met a young and tragic death this last year.  It was her husband who composed these songs for her.  Second, I don’t myself have clear picks for popular music.  I do a lot of my popular music buying in December, when the "Best of" lists come out.  I did put on LCD Soundsystem this morning but was bored by it on first listening.


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