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Weekend Recommendations: Books & CDs

Each weekend,’s staff of whackos will wrack our brains to give you interesting and new things to do over the weekend. Books, movies, whatever. We’ll throw them out, you do with them what you will. And hey…if you have something you want to recommend–whatever it is–drop us a line.

Incidentally, we’ve provided links where we can for you to buy the stuff or find out more if you’re interested, courtesy of those Amazon types.

Hey, come on, we can’t be totally selfless in this, can we? Okay, books and music first…

Book of the Week: A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun: The Autobiography of a Career Criminal by Razor Smith. Smith is exactly what the title and his name would imply. An armed felon who has spent his life creating mayhem, not only on the victims of his crimes but also on his family. Gang warfare, robbing banks, slashing folks with his namesake–this isn’t your typical dimestore crime memoir that’s been sanitized. This is straight from the horse’s mouth and as harsh as you might imagine. This hits from Chicago Review Press. (Buy it)

Audiobook of the Week: Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell. Powell is a blogger “made good,” who decided to tackle the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. All of them. Hence the 524 number in the title. And she decided to make them all in one year. Hence the 365 number as well. No matter how obscure the ingredient or how difficult the recipe, she decided to hit them all. Madness? Ah, but the good kind of madness. This hits in abridged CD form by Time Warner Audio. (Buy it)

CD Boxed Set of the Week: Velvet Underground Chronicles. For those that have music collections deficient of a particular band, these Universal Music Chronicles boxed sets are a quick way to get up to speed. Take this for instance: you get three albums in one…Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, and The Velvet Underground. So for no frills catching up, it’s the ticket. Hardcore fans, scoff at the stragglers. (Buy it)

CD of the Week: One Night Stand: Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963. RCA releases the remastered edition of this live album, and hot damn, it sounds most excellent to us. “Chain Gang,” “Bring it on Home to Me,” and “Twistin’ the Night Away” are here along with seven others, sounding better than ever. Much thanks to RCA for throwing this out for public consumption. (Buy it)

Soundtrack of the Week: Cirque du Soleil: KÀ. Vegas has a lot of stuff to call its own that other cities should envy. This includes four (I believe soon it will be five) Cirque shows, of which this show is one. It opened this year at the MGM Grand and goes more for story than most Cirque shows. It also employs martial arts and puppetry. Though I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it, pretty much every Cirque soundtrack is worth getting whether you’ve checked out the show or not. The worst they’ve ever had is still pretty damn good. Recommended. (Buy it)

Magazine of the Week: Back Issue! #12. Remember when the idea of a comics hero getting revamped didn’t fill you with complete and utter terror? Yeah, we have dim recollections of that ourselves. TwoMorrows’ most excellent comic magazine explores those Good Olde Days in their latest issue, covering everything from Watchmen to the black Spidey suit to the Superman revamp of the 70s. There’s also a look at a John Byrne take on Shazam! that never saw the light of day, a pencil art gallery of Frank Miller’s Elektra, and a hellacious lot more. Hide out with TwoMorrows until the fanboys get run out of the Big Two…that’s our plan. (Buy it)

Stationery of the Week: Nancy Drew: The Clue Of The Dancing Puppet. This release from Chronicle Books is pretty straight forward: you pull out of a sheet of this and it’s the perfect place to write down a letter for your chum. Once done, you fold it up, address it, stamp it, and voila–an awesome Nancy Drew-themed bit you can send off. Fans should be all over this. (Buy it)


  • Someone must have switched my Starbucks to Decaf. What if I just can’t remember which contests I’ve entered? DeCaffed, Eileen

  • Eileen: You really must be on decaf…you’re commenting about contests on a Recommendations post from October? Qwa? Anyway, if you re-enter because you’re confused, we promise not to mock you. You specifically…all others still get the same shoddy treatment.