Since there's no obvious way to do this and you know I'm going to have a lot to say about my choices- lets get straight to it: Presenting yet another 'best of 2008' list! (Now with notable contenders and 'worst of' categories and multiple entries!)
Best Book of 2008: (and straight away we're off to a tie!) Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri and American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.
Notable Contenders: Netherland,The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a certain Qualitative Methods book
( Note: I'm chastised by the entries I have received so far for my contest. Apparently, many people interpret 'best book' to include academic books. That this did not immediately occur to me worries me a little.)
Worst Book: A Good Indian Wife NRI writing at its worst.
Best Album: Ok, so if you read this blog and you don't know what I'm going to pick you haven't been reading closely enough!
'Where the light is' sealed my love for and started my, lets admit it, slight obsession, with all things John Mayer this year. This live album showcases JM's different avatars- the acoustic singer-songwriter, the guitarist, the blues musician of the JMtrio and the pop musician with the hits, the hyper-articulate performer etc. Great.
Notable Contenders: I rarely listen to entire albums but from what little I heard I liked Modern Guilt (Beck), Duffy , the Vampire Weekend album and Sara Baraeilles and Ray LaMontagne.
Best Song: In your atmosphere (in Mayer world) and (in other music-world) Paper Planes by M.I.A. (Any song that makes me bop my head to gun shots and a cash register has to rock. Catchy as hell)
Notable contenders: Shut up and let me go- the Ting Tings, I'm not going to teach your boyfriend how to dance with you- Black Kids, Circus- Britney Spears, House of Cards - Radiohead, Lost- Coldplay, Electric Feel- MGMT, Winter Song- Sara Baraeilles, Mrs. Officer and other Lil Wayne songs I wanted to hate but can't...ok I'll stop here.
Worst Song: (Sooo many choices here) Womanizer- Britney Spears, Single Ladies- Beyonce and I was assaulted by a Miley Cyrus song once and have not yet recovered.
Best Movie: Wall-E. This movie took not-so-appealing elements for me - environmentalism, robots, scifi, cockroaches, silent movies- and made it magical, touching and profund.
Notable Contenders: The Visitor, Jab we met
Best TV:: drama, scandals, endless comedy, an audacious bimbo spoiler, teenage pregnancies, unforgettable cameos by plumbers and mooses, an irresistible tagline, celebrity appearances, audience voting and participation, a powerful steely heroine who holds her own, the older godfather who isn't quite what he seems to be, an impossibly charismatic hero prevailing in a feel-good ending...the best show this year had it all....yes, ofcourse, I'm talking about the Presidential Election 2008.
Notable Contenders: The Ivory Tower Half Hour and This Week with George Stephanopolous (which are the perfect complements to) The Hills, Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer Wimbeldon Final
Worst TV (not in a good way) : Moment of Truth. Hands down
Best Meal: I've blogged about my fav sandwich but best meal encompasses more than just food. I'm going to go with a delicious lunch I ate with bluebell and fleur in San Francisco during ISA at B star on Clement in San Francisco- edamame humus, kabocha croquettes, calamari, , satay, lychee ice teas outside in the sunny patio.
Worst Meal: The fancy lunch I had to keep down all the while our annual funding meeting was going on- didn't taste a thing, really.
Best Party: Normally this would be a slam dunk for my first entry but this was a special year and so I have a tie.
So my first party of the year was My 90's themed birthday party February 2008 The elements: the dinner with my best girl friends, the slide show (if there was a category called best ego boost, it would go to that slideshow). AND then the surprise 90's themed after party with everyone dressed up in their 90's best (read: lots of flannel, torn denim). The 90's music was the icing on an already delicious cake- and the cherry was everyone hilariously getting down to 'Baby one more time'. Thanks Tulip!! And Heather and gang for the music and everyone who helped make this the BEST. PARTY. EVER.
How could there even be another contender, you ask? Well, this was also the year my sister, Daisycat got married!! My sister's wedding May 2008 The wedding was lovely- intimate but lively, beautiful with San Francisco and our garden at its best, family and friends gathered and the cake of the year. My sister was just the loveliest, most glowing bride I've ever seen and my brother in law rocks....for the emotions and the love, this also ranks as party of the year....
Best New discovery: blogging (and other new modes of self expression)
Best podcast:: Slate's audio book club
Best trip: San Francisco (always)
Best blog: Daniel Drezner for the content, Go Fug Yourself for the laughs
News story of the year: Obama is the obvious story but two others stood out: the Mumbai attacks and the global economic crisis which I followed but am still not sure I fully understand.
Notable contenders: Olympics opening ceremony and architecture, The rise and fall of Sarah Palin, The fall of Spitzer, The fall and rise of Britney Spears, Hilary Clinton's tears, Carnage in Gaza, dodgy Chinese toys, milk and gymnasts, and Somali Pirates!
Obsession of the Year (In the venerable tradition of my obsessions such as Michael Jackson - I know but in my defense I was 12/13-, Steffi Graf, Nirvana, Sachin Tendulkar, Cricket, Cats): John Mayer
Best Days: Sister's day out and the shoes, the birth of my goddaughter, Nov 4th, days bonding with tulip in Ithaca, Seth in SF and Heather in the bay/online and baking cupcakes with the gang, seeing the QMIR book with my name on it and doing my first interview!
Funniest Moments : Sarah Palin's interviews, details of the Salman-SRK spat
Worst/Saddest Days: Bombay attacks, annual meeting May 2nd, leaving San Francisco, goodbyes, discovering what acid reflux feels like :(
Buzzwords of the year: 'yes we can', 'change', 'stock markets plunge', 30, 'John Mayer', 'Funding', 'Babies', 'Trivia'
Lessons Learned: 1. To thine own self be true. 2. Basic HTML coding 3. I have wonderful friends and family
Challenges of the year: are not over yet...
On that cheery note, I'm done!
Goodbye 2008- you gave me moments of joy (my sister getting married to a very cool person, my adorable goddaughter, conversations with my lovely friends, being able to talk to my parents so often, the Obama victory, Sachin's form). But you were also really, really tough (work frustrations in the first half, saying goodbye to people and places, that whole recession thing, the horror of 11/26 and Gaza, growing up and all that comes with it).
But you sure were eventful, 2008 - sisters getting married, pregnant friends, we're losing jobs and getting new jobs, moving on, confronting our fears, getting published, saving, thinking about the 'future', being distinctly on the wrong side of 20 or even, gasp, turning 30!
We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto....
2009 is going to be 'interesting' no doubt with many uncertainties but also much to look forward to. Here's to 'hope', 'change' and all the rest of it.....and to the joys of wandering through it all....