Lahiri's freshman effort, the Interpreter of Maladies, won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. The Namesake is her first novel (its predecessor was a collection of short stories) and while reviews aren't as gushing, as one reviewer puts it "there's no cleverness or showing off in The Namesake, just beautifully confident storytelling."Recommended for: anyone for whom pastime reading is a rare luxury.
by Newt Gingrich and William Fortschen
The lead author of this novel might scare off consumers and one must wonder whether he attached his name simply for marketing purposes. Regardless, Gettysburg got rave reviews upon its release and word is there's an eagerly awaited sequel in the works. The novel posits a Confederate victory at the Battle of Gettysburg and is, fortunately for PC-leaning folks, more about the choreography of battle than (the scary thought of) a Southern victory.br>Recommended for: Republicans, history buffs, your dad.
Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See
by Mike Davis, Kelly Mayhew and Jim Miller
Folks at CityBeat are in love with this book. It's a brilliantly executed, politically progressive look at the evolution of America's Finest City, from the sordid pasts of some of the town's big-name founders through redevelopment land grabs and up to recent populist struggles such as the battle to reclaim Balboa Park's Centro Cultural de la Raza.
Recommended for: political science majors, progressive-minded San Diegans and anyone who's cancelled their subscription to the U-T in protest of media bias.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Special Edition Platinum Series
Four discs with 223 minutes of Hobbits, Elfs, Orcs and more. Disc one features commentary from practically everyone involved with the film except the gaffer. Disc three shows how Tolkein's book was adapted to a screenplay and also contains an interactive map of New Zealand that traces the location-scouting process. Disc four has all kinds of cheesy behind-the-scenes footage.
Recommended for: aspiring filmmakers, fantasy/sci-fi dorks and anyone in love with Elijah Wood.
Anything Pixar goes over well with the kids these days and if they loved this film in the theater, there's no reason why they wouldn't want to see it again, and again and again. And perhaps the same goes for you, too.
Recommended for: kids and people who act like them.
Remember how cool it was to say you'd seen the "dirty" version of "Girls on Film"? This DVD contains the "long uncensored version" of that video, which is probably a whole lot cleaner than anything you'll see on HBO. The DVD spans the original pretty-boy band's catalog from "Planet Earth" to more recent videos that never made it onto TRL.
Recommended for: your best gay guy friend; anyone who willingly forked over $50 for a ticket to the band's recent 4th and B show.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The making of this fine album, one of the best of 2003, is documented in Sam Jones' I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (also highly recommended). Lead singer Jeff Tweedy is one of the most talented and under appreciated songwriters of the decade. And also one of the cutest in that teddy bear way. This album has that driving-at-night-in-the-middle-of-nowhere feel: It's introspective, accessible and just a tad melancholy. Jones' fine documentary only supplements the album's appeal and vice versa.
Goes well with: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (DVD)
Recommended for: grad students, fans of thoughtful pop.
Saddle Creek Records
Saddle Creek 50
In April, this cooler-than-thou Omaha record label released a collection of 22 songs by its gaggle of indie-rock wunderkinds. Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, Cursive, The Faint and Azure Ray all contributed tracks to the compilation. A good buy for 20-somethings who are hungry for new music.
Recommended for: the cords/ Converse/thrift store t-shirt crowd.
The Album Leaf
Seal Beach EP
San Diego musical genius Jimmy LaValle recently released this 5-song EP as a warm up for his upcoming full-length album. Never was a Fender Rhodes put to better use. This is fabulous, mellow background music for cat naps, dinner parties and workday recovery time. Look for it at M-Theory Records in South Park.
Recommended for: background music enthusiasts, your hip uncle.
3004 Juniper St.
Lou's Records (excellent DVD selection, new and used)
434 N. Coast Highway 101
Current Affairs bookstore
2536 University Ave.
7812 Girard Ave.