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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…

Audiobook of the Week: Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, performed by Mia Farrow. You remember the movie. It creeped the living hell out of you and for good reason. But now if you really want to get back to the source material and do it up right, check out the fact that this unabridged performance on CD from Harper Audio is done by Mia Farrow. That’s right, from the movie to the words themselves. And oh, what a lovely–and screwed up–journey it is. This is six and a half hours across six CDs. Too bad it streets after Halloween. (Buy it)

Book of the Week: A Most Damnable Invention: Dynamite, Nitrates, and the Making of the Modern World by Stephen Bown. Making things go boom. It’s hard to imagine that there was once a time in which Siege would have sat around, depressed, striking flints together and having to make sound effects to try and go along with his instincts. But no, here you get the whole story of the creation of the boomsticks and what came afterwards–basically how these explosions shaped the world from then on out. Fascinating reading from Thomas Dunne Books. (Buy it)

Twisted Book of the Week: Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible 70s by James Lileks. Did you miss it the first go round? If so, or if you need a gift for somebody for Xmas, grab this now that Three Rivers Press has released it in paperback. Lileks, who runs one of the most consistently entertaining sites on the Net, has released this dissection–hell, vivisection–of old decorating trends. In fact, if you want a taste, check it out here. But you’ll laugh yourself hoarse, because–well, hell, you probably grew up in some of these rooms. Lileks’ commentary is priceless. You must own a copy. (Buy it)

Comic of the Week: Karma Incorporated #3 by David Hopkins & Tom Kurzanski. They’re a company that specializes in being transparent. Ninja-like, they bring karma to bear on those who need a little something extra bad to happen to them. Got a boss you need revenge on? An ex? Anybody? They’ll hook you up with what the cosmos takes too long to get around to. And over the course of this series from Viper Comics, one of their past cases comes back to haunt them. This is so dying to be a TV series it’s not even funny. We’re enjoying the hell out of this book: it’s funny, it’s got a nice trace of bitterness, and we have no idea where the hell it’s going. (Buy it from Viper)

Jazz CD of the Week: The Essential Sonny Rollins: The RCA Years. Eighteen tracks, two hours of nonstop priceless jazz. That’s one of the things we like–and comes in very useful when we have to trick parts of our brains into shutting the hell up so we can work–and Sony Legacy provides it here. Incredibly smooth sax action that’s nearly frictionless, you get two discs of goodness, featuring tracks like “God Bless the Child,” “Round Midnight,” and “All the Things You Are.”

Boxed Set of the Week: The Complete Sun Recordings: 1955-1958 by Johnny Cash. Well, the movie’s coming out shortly and there may be two or three among you who do not yet understand or appreciate the work of The Man in Black. Maybe you only know him from his more recent American Recordings series. Or maybe you only have some dim knowledge of a biopic about to hit cinemas. Regardless, those who need schooling and those who have their degrees will want to check out the sixty-one tracks available on this Time-Life release. It’s exactly what the title says it is: all of Cash’s work at Sun spread across three discs. So you get everything from “Folson Prison Blues” to “Wreck of the Old 97” and, of course, “I Walk the Line.” If your music library is lacking Cash, just remember: there’s a reason he won a Chazzie. (Buy it)

Well, what Chazz is trying to say here is that Lileks’ first two books, Gallery of Regrettable Food and Interior Desecrations are excellent for just about anybody on your Xmas list.