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Recommendations: Books & CDs

Audiobook of the Week: The Twits by Roald Dahl, performed by Simon Callow. If all you know of Dahl is the Chocolate Factory movies, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. His other fiction, both children’s and adult’s, is delightfully morbid and twisted. Case in point is this story, of the incredibly horrid Mr. & Mrs. Twit, and the fate that befalls them which they so richly deserve. Needcoffee fave Simon Callow is on hand to do the reading for you in this HarperAudio release. (Buy it)

Book of the Week: The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman. There is a 51st American state that moves around and is scarcely seen. Lobsters have had a fascinating history. And there is an awful lot you did not know about hoboes. If you think that the entirety of world knowledge cannot be contained within a single volume, then you obviously don’t know Hodgman. And you really should. Because he’s a scary, scary man. Who makes us laugh milk out of our noses…even when we haven’t been drinking any. This hits from Dutton. Highly recommended and nominated for a Chazzie as well. (Buy it)

Magazine of the Week: Alter Ego #56. The creators of Superman get the focus in the latest issue of TwoMorrows’ absolutely necessary comic mag. That’s right: Siegel and Shuster get a spotlight, as does Jack Adler. We even hear from a bunch of folks on Adler, including Neal Adams, Joe Kubert and Adler’s cousin–Howard Stern! No foolin’! and Neal Adams and Howard Stern both weigh in as well. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, you also get the scads of rare artwork that the book is famous for bringing to life, plus a helluva lot more. If you’re a fan of comics and you don’t snag this monthly, you’re foolish. (Buy it)

CD of the Week: The Legend of Johnny Cash. A nice appetizer plate of Cash–it’ll definitely make you hungry for more. Granted, there’s all kinds of greatest hits and sampler CDs out there, but this one from Hip-O delivers a wide range of tracks, from “Folsom Prison Blues” to “I Walk the Line” to the more recent covers of “Rusty Cage” (so bizarre that it works) and “Hurt” (utterly devastating). Definitely worth checking out if you’re a Cash novice. (Buy it)

Soundtrack of the Week: The Color Purple. It’s the new trend: re-use content. And here, another title makes its way to a third usage, from the Alice Walker book to the Spielberg-directed movie and now to Broadway (via the stage here in Atlanta). The music may not be the most stunning stuff you’ve ever heard from a stage production, but the cast are strong enough to pick up the slack. If you’re not heading to New York anytime soon to catch it, this Angel Records release has twenty-nine tracks that will tide you over. (Buy it)

Stationery of the Week: The Art of Pixar. For those of you that still write and send letters, you might want to check this offering from Chronicle Books out: it’ll at least make snail mail more colorful and interesting. This comes with forty bits that you can use, all featuring artwork from Pixar movies. (Buy it)