Elizabeth Bear -- The best of everything!
This is all stuff I discovered this past year, not necessarily stuff that is new as of this past year.
Best SF/F novel:
Julian Comstock, by Robert Charles Wilson
The editor of this book shoved it into my hand and said "Read it. It's you." And he was right. An awesome future history with wry humor and teeth.
Best crime/mystery novel:
Lush Life, by Richard Price
I don't live in New York City, but this book is very much as if one did.
Berkshire Bark tropical heat. MORE PLEASE.
Best song randomly encountered on Radio Paradise:
Sarah Jarosz's alt-bluegrass cover of Tom Waits' "Come On Up To The House." What is it about women with sweet voices singing Tom Waits songs? It works every damned time.
Best live concert:
I saw some good musicians this year--Vienna Teng, The Paper Raincoat, Peter Mulvey, Brianna Lane, Andrew Bird (three times), Ian Anderson--and unfortunately for them all, I was also privileged to see Leonard Cohen and his ensemble perform in Waterbury, CT.
Yeah. Everything you have heard about this tour? Is an understatement. This was pretty much the best concert of my life.
Very Enamored of Andrew Bird's "Noble Beast" and "Useless Creatures," a two-CD set of vintage Bird, if you can say he's vintage when he's constantly evolving. The evolving might be what makes it Vintage Bird, in this case.
Best TV Show Other Than Mythbusters:
The late and lamented Life gave my old mainstay, Criminal Minds, a run for its money this past year, especially as CM was floundering through an erratic fourth season--but the FBI guys rallied with a complex and gutwrenching plotline that turned the team dynamic on its head, so go them.
I drink tea all year (Stevie Nicks once sand "I was not ready for the winter. It makes no difference at all, because I wear boots all summer long.") but autumn and winter, for me, are the season of hot baths and mulled sweet cider. I'm very picky about my cider, preferring unpasteurized and unfiltered apple squeezings, which means that I can only get it from October through the end of December, and even here in Apple Heaven (Connecticut) I have to trek out to Portland for the good stuff.
It's okay. It's worth it.