So, the holidays are nearly upon us (and I’ve still not written any cards). That’s good. It means I get a day or two off. And that it’s nearly Doctor Who time again. It also means that it’s nearly 2014. A whole new year. So I reckon it’s time to take a look back at this year. More specifically, its best bits.

Best Album is, without the shadow of a doubt, Polly Scattergood’s Arrows. (Here’s me raving about it a little while ago.) And a little while on it’s barely been off my iPod. It is magnificent.
And this is on it. A song that breaks the heart in exactly the right way.

(Suede’s Bloodsports gets an honourable mention, because that’s pretty bloody wonderful too and definitely sees them back to their best. They were brilliant live (again) too.)

Best Book

Now this is a trickier one. Although I didn’t read half as much as I should have this year, I did happen upon a couple of belters.

Marie-Helene Bertino’s Safe as Houses just about shades it, I think. A wonderful, magical collection that truly sings. (Here’s me chatting to the lady herself about it.)

Runners Up

The Color Master by Aimee Bender is, as expected, a wonderful collection by someone I’ve described as the best short story writer around. And it contains my favourite story of the year, Tiger Mending.

The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes was, as expected, brilliant too. My review is here.

Do check them out. Any of them would make a wonderful last minute present (even if it’s one from you, to you…).

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