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The best lists for the New Year and a fresh decade

With the turn of a new year – and a new decade – everybody's weighing in on the "best" and "most important" things. Here are our picks for the most interesting and provocative lists.

Brrr! Hearty Germans swim in four degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit ) water of the Baltic Sea at the beach of Kuehlungsborn, northern Germany. It's an annual New Years Day event.

Thomas Haentzschel/AP

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The turn of the calendar – particularly if it involves a fresh decade – always generates lists, and not just those personal New Years resolutions you hope to keep at least until February.

Some are light, some are weighty. Some are political, most are cultural. Some look forward, most sum up the past year or decade.

For those who just can’t get enough of such tallies, here are some to consider between the weekend parties and sports fests.

Time magazine weighs in on the “Best Movies, TV, Books and Theater of the Decade.”

Publishers Weekly sticks to the “Best Books of 2009.”

A Web site called “Pretty Much Amazing” lists “The Absolute Best Songs of 2009.” Although it’s not a list, NPR reports on “Why Music Sounds Worse” in the decade just ended.

In the realm of business, and Fortune magazine laud the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” firms that “are going out of their way to please employees.”

Some print and online publications are touting their top stories. That includes Slate and Atlantic. Atlantic also takes a wide-ranging and provocative look at “The 10 American Ideas of the Decade.”


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