As usual, I'm going to do this in an arse-about-tit fashion. I know there are still almost three weeks to go before the end of the year, but I'm so busy there's no chance I'll get to watch or read anything else recent before then.
I'm always at least a couple of years behind, but this year I've tried my best to keep my top picks reasonably current. So, here we go. My favourite reads and watches of 2012:
My favourite novella this year - and indeed, the best book I read - was Eyepennies by Mike O'Driscoll (published by TTA Press). It's a beautiful meditation on creativity and death. Yes, it is as depressing as it sounds, but it's also intensely moving.
I'm actually still reading what has been my favourite novel of the year. It snuck in late, grabbing me by the throat and demanding to be read. Habit by Stephen McGeagh (published by Salt) is a Manchester-set crime story, written in earthy prose and populated by characters that nobody could like, even their own mothers. I still have 60 pages to read, but I simply cannot see this taking such a big nose-dive that it won't end up as the best novel I've read all year.
Other favourites were Last Days by Adam Nevill and Motherless Child by Glen Hirshberg. Both horror novels; both outstanding for different reasons.
I watch a lot of films, usually on DVD. I rarely go to the cinema, because I hate sitting with irritating strangers. I saw quite a few of 2012s releases, but one edged its way to the top of the pile.
My favourite film of the year was The Tall Man directed by Pascal Laugier. The US-debut of the man who gave us the brilliant and searing Martyrs is a much more subtle film, but still manages to contain enough of his usual subversive qualities to keep you on your toes. A stunning, suprising little film that I loved.
Other contenders were The Devil's Business, Sinister, Prometheus (yes, haters, I loved it), The Grey and The Raid. I think the last two on that list might have been 2011 releases, but I won't tell if you don't.
A tricky one, this. I hardly watched any TV this year. I tend to catch up with shows on DVD (I'm a box set junkie) and I simply didn't have the time to watch things as they were broadcast so still have a lot recorded on the Virgin box. One show, however, kicked and punched its way to the head of the list.
Good Cop was a compelling British crime drama. Warren Brown starred as a young policeman caught up in all kinds of darkness, most of which was of his own making. Brilliant homegrown television, it just beat Dexter Season 6 as my favourite of the year.