Anything that happens in December is irrelevant.
That’s the impression you could get from the fact that swarms of best of the year lists were released in November and early December.
It seems just a tad presumptious to chronicle the best books or films of the year when the year hasn’t even finished.
Publishers Weekly published their Top 10 Books of 2009 at the start of November!
And even organisations that you might suspect would be a bit more accurate in defining what they meant by “year” didn’t have the patience to wait. Google released their list of search terms that had increased the most in popularity in 2009 (this is different from “most popular” search terms) on December 1st.
2009 Year-End Google Zeitgeist
The abundance of best of the year lists ranged from the widely inclusive:
Time’s Top 10 Everything of 2009
to the more specialised:
Best Lesbian Films of 2009
And since (depending on what point you start counting from) it’s the end of a decade, there are more lists covering the 00s.
The 100 Best Films of the Decade
The 100 Best Books of the Decade
20 Best SF Books of the Decade
20 Greatest SF Movies of the Decade
Is this just another symptom of our impatience? When you can get information so easily, why do you want to wait until it’s relevant?
I don’t buy the argument that nothing significant is released in December (or indeed November). It isn’t all just family Christmas fare. Just a couple of days ago, a small film called Avatar hit cinemas. Many of the early reviews haven’t been favorable, but excluding a new James Cameron film sight unseen from consideration for a list of best SF films of the year strikes me as a dubious practice.
I enjoy reading best of lists and indeed making my own lists. But since the Christmas/New Year period is often a time when I get a lot of reading done, you’ll have to wait until 2009 is over before you can get my opinion on what I thought were the best books and movies of 2009.
I’m sure you all can’t wait.