BOOKS: Friday Roundup

This week shaped up to be another slow one for getting reading done. I have to drive down to Philadelphia tomorrow for the day, so I'm hoping to at least catch up on some of the Hugo nominees via audiobook.
In the meantime, get your read on with these two diveregent classics:

, Kevin J. Anderson - From the acclaimed author of the Jedi Academy Trilogy, this lesser-known expanded universe novel focuses on the Alliance's conflicts with Hutt crimelords in the wake of the Galactic Civil War. Fans of the movies will enjoy Luke's action-packed return to Hoth and his showdown with the Wampa whose hand he cut off in The Empire Strikes Back. Mild spoiler - the Wampa's pretty damn pissed and out for some brutal revenge.

Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger - There's just something about a Salinger book. Be it the extremely human chartacters, the offbeat humor or the absolutely stellar dialogue, Salinger always manages to teach me something different even after a dozen re-reads. Undoubtedly The Catcher in the Rye is Salinger's most widely-known work (selling some 250,000 copies per year), but many argue Franny and Zooey, two short stories originally published in The New Yorker in the 1950s, are his masterpiece. Zooey's "revelation" to Franny at the conclusion still gives me chills. If you're in the mood for a nice little lecture on the books, check out this talk by Yale Professor Amy Hungerford.

Not books, but some music to check out ...

"Volume One," She and Him
- She and Him are M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel (Elf, Almost Famous, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). "Volume One" is a really fun album mixing pop, jazz and classic Americana into a tight, punchy and exquistely produced record. Get working on Volume 2 guys! Highly recomdended.

"A Real Diamond in the Rough," Buckethead - The masked guitar virtuoso is back with yet another album and it's his best in years. Playing mellow riffs in place of his usual psychotic brand of shred, Buckethead's newest album harkens back to such classic releases as Electric Tears and one of my all-time-favorite records, 1998's Colma.

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