Apparently, the long Labor Day weekend so refreshed those people who provide us with things to look at, listen to, read, and play with, that they have let loose with a veritable avalanche of entertaining items of all sorts. While Michelle Branch goes full country, Superchunk and Les Savy Fav continue to roll out the indie goodness, Weezer serenades the most lovable Lost-ie, Robert Plant re-invents himself once more, and Linkin Park does that screamy thing they do. Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans spar with the written word; seasons-ful of Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, and Fringe hit DVD; and Halo Reach finally drops.
While being mentioned as a likely for the Nobel Prize for Literature is practically an annual event for Lockport, New York, born writer Joyce Carol Oates, she makes her case yet again with Sourland. Quite possibly the most soul-felt of her writings, the collection of interwoven short stories is clearly touched by the 2008 of her longtime husband. For fans of John Irving and Jonathan Franzen.
More Fiction Suggestions:
If you marvel at whimsical epics of modern literature in the style of Michael Chabon or Tom McCarthy, you might like Richard Harvell’s debut novel The Bells.
If you seek a darkly atmospheric thriller such as the ones by Hanning Mankell or Steig Larsson, you might like Arnaldur Indridason’s Hypothermia.
He created mystical worlds filled with fantastic foxes and magical candy men — his stories were enrapturing, enthralling, and had the power to fill his young readers with both wonder and a severe case of the creeps. His persona was no less mythical and rife with contradictions like his wartime heroism and often embarrassing anti-semitism. Storyteller captures the heralded children’s author, warts and all, and should appeal to fans of Dahl’s works for both big and small.
More Nonfiction Suggestions:
If you enjoy tomes which set to unravel real mysteries from World War II, such as Shadow Divers or The Amber Room, you might like Mark Jacobson’s The Lampshade.
If you love dogs (as you must) and wondered what happened to the real victims in the Michael Vick scandal, you might like Jim Gorant’s The Lost Dogs.
While I know it might, by 2010, be a lousy wager to get excited about anything M. Night Shyamalan touches any part of (fool me 11 times, and what exactly happens again?). However, the auteur (perhaps wisely) handed off Devil, his story of five souls trapped on an elevator with the dark one, to the Dowdle Brothers, and if the trailer is any indication (I know, I know…just watch), it was a wise decision. For fans of being afraid — being very, very afraid (oh, and Alien and Pitch Black).
More Movie Suggestions:
If you enjoy (or can relate to) films like Greenberg and Happiness – tales of awkward folks trying to find love and a place in this world, in other words — you might like Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating.
If you enjoy movies culled from literary visions of dystopia (think The Handmaid’s Tale or Brave New World), you might like Never Let Me Go.
Nearly two decades after they came together, NYC trio Blonde Redhead continue to mold hypnotic creations from somewhere in a secret dimension beyond indie rock and punk. Record number eight, Penny Sparkle, bends genres further into the obscure while retaining the skewed undercurrent of melody which make them unique. For fans of Sonic Youth and PJ Harvey.
More Music Suggestions:
If you enjoy gazing at your shoes to jangly pop of bands like Stars and Eisley, you might like Azure Ray’s Drawing Down The Moon.
If you enjoy the immediate, electronically enhanced indie rock of bands such as Klaxons and Surfer Blood, you might like the buzzed up the wazoo self-titled debut, The Drums.
New on DVD
It’s hard to invest in science-fiction dramas, while some live to see that final leap home, others get canceled before we ever find out just what was the deal with those forward flashes anyway. While Fringe stumbled a bit out of the box, it built up a fanatical base thanks to delirious turns and well-drawn characters and by its second season (on DVD this week), it’s clearly here to stay. For fans of The X-Files and The 4400.
More DVD Suggestions:
If you’re up for a dark, yet slightly loopy story of insanity, murder, and mayhem in the vein of Scotland, Pa or the original Insomnia, you might like Werner Herzog’s My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.
If you’re looking for a documentary to stir your bile about the economic meltdown in the manner of Capitalism: A Love Story or Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, you might like Alex Gibney’s Casino Jack and the United States of Money.
Ever since it was unleashed upon the rabid gamers at the Electronic Entertainment Expo of ‘09, Halo: Reach has gathered a perfect storm of buzz. The futuristic first person shooter puts the player in the mind of a freedom fighter battling a force known as the Covenant. For fans of Metal Gear and Mass Effect.
More Video Game Suggestions:
If you ever wished you could be irascible, pill-popping doc Gregory House, and/or you enjoyed game adaptations of tv shows like CSI or Grey’s Anatomy, you might like House M.D.
If your heart races at the thought of creating the worlds of Sims or Civilization, and you love pirates, you might like Patrician IV.