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Weekend Recommendations: Books & CDs

Audiobook of the Week: How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion by Daniel H. Wilson, performed by Stefan Rudnicki. I can’t tell you how grateful we are to have this drop in our laps from Blackstone Audio. Countless e-mails pour in: “Widge, we’ve got the scoop on how to deal with zombies, what about the robots? What about the freaking robots?” Calm thyselves…Wilson is here to give you the full scoop, a brief history of robotics, and then how to protect yourself from damn near anything going Skynet on your ass. Highly recommended. (Buy it)

Book of the Week: Olivia: Dream Big by Ian Falconer. If you’re looking for a nice gift to give anyone embarking on a new adventure, there’s nothing better than our favorite fictional pig, Olivia, paired with inspirational quotes from a slew of notables. Nothing new under the sun here, but this Andrews McMeel release will tide the hardcore fans over until her next full-length adventure arrives. (Buy it)

CD of the Week: Unexpected Dreams. At first, when I heard about this lullaby album, “Songs from the Stars,” it seemed like a recipe for disaster. No offense, but apart from the folks on this lineup we know can sing (McGregor, for example, or even Reilly), does Jeremy Irons covering Dylan frighten you? Well, rest assured. The majority of these tracks are quite good, with only a couple of tracks having singers with qualities that set my teeth on edge. Scarlett Johanssen, much to the delight of men (and quite a number of women) everywhere, is a damn good singer. Lucy Lawless, John Stamos, all people you might not think of as singers conduct themselves well. This hits from Rhino. (Spare me the e-mails of somebody’s ten-year history on off-off-Broadway musicals…I’m too tired to look up everybody on Wikipedia for a career check.) (Buy it)

World Music CD of the Week: Ama by Yungchen Lhamo. Lhamo’s new album hits from Real World Records, and comes with a nice mix of her own Tibetan lyrics and sounds plus chanting, choirs, percussion, guitars, and more. Annie Lennox even shows up to lend a hand. Fans should check out the opening track “Ranzen” and her reflection the tragedy of “9/11”. (Buy it)

Soundtrack CD of the Week: South Pacific. The point of contention for this recording seems to be Reba. Some people like her vocal take on the character, some people don’t. Me, I’ll give anybody from the cast of Tremors a free pass for most anything. Is that sad? I don’t care. Brian Stokes Mitchell is…well, he’s Brian Stokes Mitchell, so of course he’s good. And Alec Baldwin sings as much as you’d expect from someone playing Luther to. So fans of the show will want to check out this Decca release. (Buy it)