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Ten best year-end lists for 2011

by Eric Ginsburg

Things to forget

Buzzfeed compiled a list of 45 things from the last 12 months that we should forget about, but what could anybody have against Iggy Pop in a dress or planking, not to mention more important cultural innovations like deep-fried Kool-Aid? Regardless, most of the items belong on the list, like the rapture or that anyone supported Donald Trump. Among the rest was heartbreaking news to me: Dippin’ Dots went bankrupt.

Top quotes

CBS News ran a list of the 10 best quotes of the year, as chosen by Yale Law School associate librarian Fred Shapiro. Not surprisingly, “We are the 99%” took first place, but my favorite comes from Charlie Sheen: ““I am on a drug. It’s called ‘Charlie Sheen.’ It’s not available because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”

Best and worst television

National Public Radio’s David Bianculli shared his takes on the best and worst TV shows of the year, and since he put “Breaking Bad” at the top of the list, I won’t argue with him. Others I was less sure of — I can’t explain the appeal of “Louie,” though I kept watching, and many people rave about the beautifully filmed “Walking Dead.” I count myself lucky that I’ve never seen any of the shows on his “worst” list, such as “Fear Factor” and “H8R.”

Best recipes

I’m always looking for new recipes I can pull off, and this year I’ve added more to my repertoire than any other. The folks at cookinglight.com came up with their greatest hits recipes of the year, and just looking at the photo of the Brazilian feijoada makes my mouth water, while the browned butter asparagus seems like a more reasonable first attempt.

Top 50 albums

If you’re looking for hipster or indie music albums from 2011, the best place to start is Pitchfork, who unsurprisingly placed Bon Iver at the top, followed closely by M83, PJ Harvey and Tune Yards. The best part is you can listen to the artists directly on the page. They also offer a list of the Top 100 tracks, worst album covers and top music videos.

Best pictures

The Boston Globe’s “Big Picture,” my favorite source for photojournalism, put out a multi-part collection of the year in pictures, ranging from major news stories like Arab Spring and the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand to storytelling photos of homeless people in Delhi or the “super grandmother and super grandfather” competition in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Best movies

There are probably plenty of variations proliferating the internet, and since I rely so heavily on friends and Netflix instant watch for movies, I have no idea which is best. The Atlantic Wire named Hanna — the best new release I’ve seen — as one of their 10 best for 2011, but allowed Super 8 to weasel its way onto the list while the final Harry Potter flick is absent. Best memes We can count on the Huffington Post to provide the best memes of the last year, like Steve Buscemi’s eyes, the pepper-spraying cop from UC Davis and feminist Ryan Gosling. My favorite inclusion that I somehow missed when it happened is of Paula Deen riding things, in this case, a stick of butter. Best books It’s rare that I read a new release. I’m currently immersed in The Grapes of Wrath, but critics seem to agree on Anne Patchett’s State of Wonder, 1Q84 by Karuki Murakami, Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, Arguably by Christopher Hitchens and 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Other chart-toppers depend on who you consult, be it the New York Times, Publishers’ Weekly or Kirkus Review.

50 best websites

As Time’s description reads, “We honor the scrappy newcomers and established players that make the web so useful, entertaining and just plain indispensable.” The list is split into sections, and while plenty like Google+ are garbage, there’s an array of sites that most people don’t know. They also publish a separate list of the best blogs of the year.

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