Unheard of Books

hands and feet wet particolored prints crossing screen

I’ve been enjoying year-end lists for three or four decades. Somewhere I have a red loose-leaf notebook containing clipped and sorted Ten-Best movie lists from the late 1980s up until somewhere past the turn of the millennium, mostly from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. If I can find it, I’ll snap a quick shot of one of the older ones to illustrate this post. (And no, I still haven’t watched My Beautiful Laundromat.)

Without digging around too hard, I can tell you that these lists have been around for close to a century; maybe more. The National Review Board has been publishing an annual ten-best films list since at least 1929, and here (link) you can review their list for yourself of the 900 films that organization has selected, through 2018.

The staples of course have included books, movies, popular music, drama, radio and television–with seemingly endless variations and sub-categories. But the breadth and depth of the listers had exploded in recent years, and now with the help of the internet you can easily find lists of superlative breakthroughs in science, foods, toys (both kinds), games, microbrews, viral attractions, political pivots, websites, practical jokes, and embedded Easter eggs.

And, inevitably, there are now year-end lists of. . . year-end lists. And I’ll include one of the best of those here in my list of 10 “outlier” year-end best-of lists.  I picked these ten peerless specimens with an editorial eye pointed toward such differentiating qualifications as unexpected categories, abundance, overkill, quality of curation, obscurity, uniqueness, quirkiness, usefulness, and humor. But really, I just went at it until I had ten that would do, then I stopped.

10.  Biggest PR Disasters of 2018
Schadenfreude anyone?

9. The 10 Best Performances of 2018
The refreshing thing about this one is that it rounds up great performances from any and all visual performance media—films, TV, etc. I like the way he writes, too.

8.  10 Most Expensive Climate-driven Disasters of 2018 
These are all the most expensive disasters resulting from the hoax of climate change.

7.  The Best TV Shows of 2018
60 of ’em. That’s sixty. He doesn’t stop at 10, or 25, or even 50. He keeps going. And he must have watched them all, because he wrote like, 200 words about each (er, maybe not House On Haunted Hill (sic), because he got the name wrong, but still…) Damn good words, too.

6. Top 10 Bad Trump Stories that Got Upstaged by Even Worse Trump Stories in 2018
Take a look. Sometimes the worse overlaid the bad so quickly, you’ll barely remember how bad the under-lier was…

5.  Poynter’s List of Lists
Need more lists? Here’s a fantastic roundup of 56 more great lists, wrapping up most of the things that my roundup of 10 lists don’t cover.

4. The Thinnest Skins In Media In 2018
On-air and on-page personalities carping about being misunderstood. Round ’em up! A heaping helping of snark here.  And, fittingly, she awards herself a penultimate petard in the pantheon.

3. The Ultimate List of the Year’s Worst Scams

2. 2018’s Bizarrest Stories
The birds in the hair curlers, self-destructing art, inebriated larks, and other tales stranger than The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.  And a raccoon.  Isn’t there always a racoon?

1. List of 101 Funniest UK Tweets of 2018
Butternut Crinklefries.  Hashtag #madeupbritishnames right? If only I’d a been there…




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