As for me, I have a few favorites of things that I discovered (or just really, really enjoyed) in 2011.
I didn't see very many movies this year; Hollywood didn't have much to offer. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (US version) would have to be the best one, and after that, Cowboys and Aliens. Yeah, two dramatically different films. I did enjoy Captain America, though I didn't see it in theaters. Loved Loki from the movie Thor. As you can tell, I'm totally stoked to go see The Avengers next year.
Best TV show
The Venture Bros., of course. Their fourth season has to be the best so far, and loved their special Jacket. Sadly, it's going to be another two years before we'll see new episodes. Honorable mention for The Big Bang Theory and Mike and Molly. I don't watch much TV, but what I do watch is usually, what I like to think, is the good quality stuff.
This one is a toughie because I've discovered so many great songs and artists, so I'm going to name the top ones that I enjoyed the most and my favorite song of theirs.
- Emilie Autumn - Swallow
- Adele - Rolling in the Deep
- Claire Maguire - The Shield and The Sword
- Florence and the Machine - Cosmic Love (Though, I just heard Heartlines and it's amazing. Just about all her songs are fantastic.)
I should add that I do like some of WEEP's stuff (headed by Doc Hammer), but it's not for the vocals, but rather, the composition, which is this blend of retro new wave soft rock punk and synth. Yeah, that's a mouthful. If you haven't listened to the song "Worn Thin", I definitely recommend that.
Okay, so before I derail too much...
The Skinner by Neal Asher -- bet that wasn't a surprise.
A close second is Evolution's Darling by Scott Westerfeld. I didn't review this book since it's been out of print for over ten years, but excellent "what it means to be human" kind of book. But there's a twist: Is it possible for a human to no longer be considered a person?
It's actually part erotica, which I normally don't read, but the Westerfeld takes an interesting approach, from the robot's PoV, and how the robot analyzes, while stimulating, the sex act. It doesn't sound interesting, but it really was. The title comes from how robots/AI are in constant change, can update ("evolve") themselves as often and at anytime. Whereas humans are limited to generations. Thus, AI is the darling of evolution. If you stumble across this book in a garage sale or used book store, I highly recommend picking it up.
Because we all like to buy things for ourselves, and this T-shirt from Threadless is my all-time favorite.
Well, here's to a happy New Year and many more good things to come!