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Weekend Recommendations: Books and 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?

Audiobook of the Week: The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs. Well, as Aslan’s roar destroys the box office, some of you might be looking for more reading material along those same lines. Why not go to the real primary source material–i.e., the life of Lewis himself. This Harper Audio release is read by the author, who wants to use the life of Lewis to tell you how and why Narnia came about as it did. Interesting background info for fans of the man and of the series. (Buy it)

Biography of the Week: Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy by Mark A. Vieira. If you are a fan of the actress, then this Abrams release is going need to hit your coffee table. Focusing on her filmography, it’s part biography part excuse to trot out an incredible array of photos, some never before published. Like I said, the fan should go ahead and give in and buy. (Buy it)

Comedy Book of the Week: Mommy Knows Worst: Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice by James Lileks. Lileks rocks the house. He simply does. If you haven’t seen his take on the food of yesteryear or the home decorating styles of yesterday then you have no idea how much of your ass is going to be laughed off by his take on the experting parenting advice of days gone by. It’s amazing our parents (or anyone else for that matter) survived. This Three Rivers Press release is a must-have for Christmas, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Or just to chortle at by yourself. Trust us. (Buy it)

Anthology of the Week: The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois. If you want to play catch-up on the latest in the genre, this St. Martin’s Griffin release is definitely for you. Benjamin Rosenbaum, Vernor Vinge, Christopher Rowe, Catilin R. Kiernan, Michael F. Flynn and many more grace the pages, and at almost 700 pages, it can also be used as a blunt instrument in the wake of an EMP assault by aliens. Bonus. (Buy it)

Book of the Week: The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil is the guy who thinks the future is going to get here faster than most would suspect…and all signs that I’m aware of point to the fact he’s right. In fact, it’s his idea of the singularity that informs a lot of the background for Dark Blue Monstropolis. In this book it’s when the line between technology and biology blur that things are really going to take off. Are you ready for immortality? Where the hell do I sign? Check out this release from Viking. Fascinating, mind-bending stuff. (Buy it)

Collection of the Week: Hank Ketcham’s Complete Dennis the Menace: 1951-1952. Fantagraphics gets much respect. Not only are they bringing us the complete reprints of Peanuts, but forty-four years of Dennis are in the offering. If you’re smart, you’ll get in on the ground floor of this one, which has all the entries from the first two years. There’s nothing like getting to see these strips we’ve grown up with (usually in the comic strip version of “syndication” or “reruns”) develop as they did as time passed. Most excellent. (Buy it)

CD of the Week: Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Joe Cocker. What I decided a long time ago is that nobody…I mean nobody…can cover a Beatles song like Joe Cocker. Badass covers like “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and “With a Little Help From My Friends” are just the tip of the iceberg on this two-disc remastered edition of the album, packed with lots of unreleased goodness and B-sides, just like all the deluxe editions from A&M and Universal Records. Snag it if you haven’t already. (Buy it)

Comedy CD the Week: Salvation: Oxford, November 11, 1992 by Bill Hicks. I’m of the opinion that you can never have enough Bill Hicks. So having a full-on two-disc unedited performance of his makes my eyebrows spin around with glee. On one hand, a lot of this you’ve heard snippets of spread across previous releases, but here you get the whole thing unexpurgated. Wonderful stuff where you really get to hear the gears in his head spin. This wonderment hits from Rykodisc. (Buy it)

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