TRB’s Recap of Recaps: 2011 in Review

Along with a rousing chorus of debate, complaint, oneupmanship, celebration, a riot of hyperbole, and swells of self-congratulation and dismissal, the year’s end brings an avalanche of collective re-evaluation, listification and the general ordering of things that have transpired since the first of January. Rather than add another voice to the already bloated collection of reflections on the last twelve months, we instead offer a quick-and-dirty shortcut, a best-of the “best-ofs” if you will, a recap of the recaps of the world-historically tumultuous and unpredictable year 2011 was.

The Atlantic  lists the 10 biggest international news stories of 2011,  from the Arab Spring to the Libyan Civil War to the death of Bin Laden and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Life Magazine documents the highs and lows of the year in its extraordinary collection of the pictures of 2011. For an added Canadian flavour, the CBC offers its top stories of the year, based on online votes.

To showcase another side of how much happened throughout 2011, Google has sorted through billions of searches to show us, with its Zeitgeist, the top 10 things that obsessed us over the year. In a similar vein, consider the top Internet memes from this year. Remember Rebecca Black? Sorry. Or planking? Or, um, Charlie Sheen? Don’t say we didn’t warn you . . .

For us Torontonians, Torontoist reflects on what especially stood out in our civic life in 2011 by nominating its various heroes and villains and giving us a timely reminder of what’s so great (and not so great) about our city. But every hero needs a villain, right?

Long Reads, an aggregator of lengthier magazine articles and online posts taken from media around the globe, has its many contributors and readers nominate their top stories from the year.

We also know that you’ve not only been wondering which were the best Twitter feeds to follow in 2011, but even more importantly, what Tumblrs you’ve been missing out on as well.

In case you didn’t have enough to read over the next few years, the Globe and Mail has come out with its annual top 100 books of the year, and, as interesting counterparts, we also have the The Toronto Star, New York Times, and the Guardian‘s  lists to round them out.

For a more reflective and less numerical vibe, online literary magazine The Millions has been bringing its readers a wide selection of reflections on the year passed from notable authors, journalists and critics. Interesting contributions by everyone from David Bezmozgis, Geoff Dyer, Alex Ross and yes, Blossom herself, Mayim Bialik.

Lastly, to close things off, what list wouldn’t be complete without perennial waiting-room fixture Time magazine and its notorious “Person of the Year” honours? Also check out its recap of 2011 so you’ll have something to talk about with your grandparents over the holiday season.

About the author

Michael Bacal

Michael Bacal recently graduated from Ryerson and York University's joint graduate program in Communications and Culture and is currently working in publishing.

By Michael Bacal