My five-year-old insists that Bilbo Baggins is a girl.
The first time she made this claim, I protested. Part of the fun of reading to your kids, after all, is in sharing the stories you loved as a child. And in the story I knew, Bilbo was a boy. A boy hobbit. (Whatever that entails.)
But my daughter was determined. She liked the story pretty well so far, but Bilbo was definitely a girl. So would I please start reading the book the right way?
I hesitated. I imagined Tolkien spinning in his grave. I imagined mean letters from his testy estate. I imagined the story getting as lost in gender distinctions as dwarves in the Mirkwood.
It's been a while since I've done a top ten list, but I've been listening to a lot of music this year, and it's been a pretty good music year, so I'll tackle it. I don't have as hard rules as some do, where the album or song has to be released in the year in question. For me, it's that these songs and albums influenced me this year, or I discovered them this year, even if they were technically released late in 2012. In no particular order.
Top Ten Albums
Kanye West - Yeezus : First time I heard Black Skinhead, I thought it was genius. I was kind of disappointed that it was Kanye. Hoped it was some fresh new voice. Oh well. The rest of the album is pretty solid,
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City : Just a really good pop album. Unbelievers has that 60's pop feel that still feels really fresh. That's a good thing.
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories: Probably the album I was most looking forward to, it was initially a letdown, but with repetition it started growing on me, and I realized that it had become one of my favourites.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - The Heist: Ok, it was released in 2012. I didn't hear it until January. At which point I thought that Thrift Shop was a joke song, but a good one. Then I heard Same Love. Downloaded his whole catalogue. Well worth doing. White Walls is in heavy rotation in my world right now. Great album, and well worth going back and listening to what came before.
Avicii - True : Wake Me Up is a great house track with country sensibilities. There are a lot of great dance tracks on the album, and it's all round a fun album.
Lorde - Pure Heroine: If this isn't on your top albums of the year, you haven't listened to it. Correct that situation. Now. I'll wait.
Tame Impala - Lonerism : I have no idea why I didn't get into this album until half way through this year. I am hanging my head in shame. Great weirdo psychedelic stuff.
Transplants - In A Warzone: Only on this list because of my longstanding love for this band. Not terribly original or groundbreaking, it's just Tim and the boys rocking out as always.
Tegan and Sara - Heartthrob: They found a dance groove to update their sound. It worked.
Death Grips - Government Plates : Somehow every year I get into something that shouldn't actually be listenable, but is. This year, this is it. Discovered it from last.fm, and I enjoyed it.
Top Ten Songs That Weren't on one of the Top Ten Albums
Fucking Problem - ASAP Rocky
Ho Hey - The Lumineers
Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke
I Love It - Icona Pop
Lost Generation - Rizzle Kicks
Demons - Imagine Dragons
Bang Bang - Will.i.am
22 - Taylor Swift
Reflektor - Arcade Fire
Work Bitch - Britney Spears
Wow. That is a pretty dance-pop list! I feel kind of dirty admitting that those are the songs I liked this year. Even listing Britney and Taylor made me feel dumb, but they were great pop songs. And the 'rapey' vibe that I kept hearing about Blurred Lines, I just didn't get, so I liked it anyway.