Around the Web: Janus-Faced Links

As December moves on, assessing the highs and lows of 2009 takes up more and more of our time — and this year, we have the added task of summing up the entire “00” decade. Below, some recent stories that say goodbye to 2009 (a little bit early), and one that says hello to 2010 (also a bit early).

1. We’ve recently seen several “best books of the year” lists, but not many of their selections have links to China — reflecting the fact that 2009 was something of an off-year in the China-related publishing field (especially compared to the deluge of releases during the Olympic year of 2008). Of the “100 Notable Books of 2009” chosen by the New York Times, only Hannah Pakula’s biography of Madame Chiang Kai-shek made the cut; Mathieu Borysevicz’s Learning From Hangzhou was featured in the NYT “Art and Architecture” holiday gift guide. Over at The Economist, Poorly Made in China by Paul Midler was picked as a best book of the year.

2. On the whole, though, China is a big story — more accurately, it’s the big story, according to calculations of the “Top News Stories of the Decade,” discussed at the Wall Street Journal’s “China Real Time Report”:

The results weren’t even close. GLM says the “Rise of China” (it searched the phrase itself and related word groupings) had a score 400% that of the No. 2 Internet story – the Iraq War. China also beat out the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the election of Barack Obama, the global recession, and even the death of Michael Jackson (No. 5). And actually, China placed twice: The No. 11 News Story of the Decade, GLM says, was the Beijing Olympics.

3. Thanks to UC Irvine student Anita Szocs for pointing out that three Chinese films were among the top ten on the New Yorker’s list of the decade’s best movies.

4. The Far Eastern Economic Review will end its 63-year run this month; the magazine’s final issue is available on newsstands now.

5. Mark your calendars for November 24, 2010, when a remake of the 1984 film Red Dawn will be released. In the new version of the movie, “the Chinese and Russians attack a small northwestern town and a group of teenagers take the fight to the intruders in an attempt to disrupt the invasion and save their home.” Photos from the set can be seen at chinaSMACK.

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