It’s the year end list. All the cool kids are doing it. Like everything here, there is no more than a passing attempt to adhere to any sort of structure. Just follow along as best you can. Let’s get started.
Best literary discovery of the year (fiction): The Song of Ice and Fire series.
So I came to the party in Westeros a little late. George R.R. Martin had already released the first four volumes in this magnificent fantasy opus before the impending HBO series based on the books prompted me to begin A Game of Thrones. I spent most of the first five months of the year devouring these books and the fifth installment, A Dance With Dragons. In fact, reading Martin sucked up most of my fiction-reading allotment this year. I did also manage to knock out Cherie Priest’s excellent steampunk novel Boneshaker, my friend Will McIntosh’s debut novel Soft Apocalypse and a wonderful book along similar themes, Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart.
Honorable Mention: The Passage, by Justin Cronin. A tie with any of the Martin books individually, The Passage finishes as honorable mention because I read four Martin books while Cronin’s sequel won’t hit shelves until summer.
Essential nonfiction of the year: What To Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff.
Because this list isn’t about what was best or newest in 2011, but what was important at the Institute.
Best moment when the Internets fell on someone’s head: Only because it is the most recent and because the Cook’s Source fiasco happened at the end of 2010, not in 2011 as I originally thought, the story of the poor, stupid, name-dropping schlub at Ocean Marketing comes in late and takes the prize.
In case you don’t know the story, a good summary (with links to the source material) is here.
The short version: a one-man company essentially mashed his own balls between stone tablets by being a douche to a customer via email. The douche then acted surprised when someone publicized his douchitude on the Internet and even more surprise at the amount of righteous indignation generated by faceless (but passionate) vigilantes of online social justice. Oh, and he got fired by his client.
I’ll use stories like this one to explain karma to Atticus.
Best blog I wrote this year: When Georgia Southern’s student newspaper wrote a poorly-advised editorial excoriating the football team for a low grade point average, they failed to put the GPA into any sort of context and actually made factual errors. I tried to be somewhat lighthearted about it and point out that in my days at the student newspaper, I did some dumb shit, too.
The best part of the blog, though, are the comments, including one by the former director of student media at GSU who oversaw my growing pains and always had just the right way to set all of us back on course.
Honorable mention: Conan the Barbarian goes to the Grammys. Because it took a long goddamn time to build it, that’s why!
Best blog on someone else’s site I read this year: The story of the giant metal chicken. If I am this funny even once on my own blog, I will anoint myself with oils and be insufferable for about six months. Knock-knock, motherfucker.
Best of the best this year: My son. Hands down.
Honorable mention: His mom. My wife. The Hot Librarian.