Five new release picks for Tuesday, October 5

The media of today is hard to keep up with: It comes from so many directions and in so many forms that it's next to impossible to keep track of your favorite artists, let alone new ones. Because we're devoted to your convenience, we're going to pick five things each week that rise above the pale, that have some distinction, that, ultimately, we think are worthy of your notice. Feel free to sound off on anything you plan on picking up on release day in the comments.

5. Civil War: Front Line Man, Civil Wars suck, and Marvel's no stranger to them. The entire Civil War series ran over the course of a year, simultaneously in its own series as well as across several different books. It was Marvel's take on real-world issues, and while it certainly didn't succeed every time, it was still an interesting combination of the real and the unreal. Front Line concentrates on individual characters instead of the overarching issues at hand and does a great job of relating the trials and tribulations of the few to the many. Considering its character-set and mode of transport, it does an good job of relating real-world issues to men (and woman) in tights.

4. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson Bill Bryson has an uncanny knack of making the boring and mundane interesting. He made history and science a pleasure to read in A Short History of Everything, he helped us with problem words in Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words and with At Home: A Short History of Private Life, he's using his own home as a stepping stone to look at the history of our private lives. It might look like a boring exercise in description, but we're certain that, if one person can make the history of home-habits interesting, it's Bryson.

3. Enslaved (PS3, Xbox 360) Enslaved is a rare beast of a video game. First off it's a post-apocalyptic take on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, with dialogue and story assistance provided by screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later, The Beach). It also takes a nod from The History Channel's Life After People series in its design of a post-human America -- you won't find the washed-out grays and boring browns of most post-apocalyptic video games here; you'll be treated to luscious green scenery and other eye-popping colors. The whole thing plays and feels a lot like a futuristic Uncharted.

2. The Human Centipede (DVD, Blue-Ray) It's already a cult classic based solely on its theatrical release -- but we're certain it'll really hit its stride when it's available to everyone in their home. If you're a fan of Cronenberg-esque body horror, The Human Centipede is sure to be among your favorite films. If a film that has a doctor, um, sewing people together into a large centipede doesn't sound awesome, then you just don't know good film. Thankfully the cover boasts that it's "100 percent medically accurate."

1. Best American Writing Series 2010 Today is the day when those of us who can't afford 900 different subscriptions to every publication on the planet can see what some of the top editors in the country believe is the best writing in their field. The subsets of writing are massive: The Best American Short Stories, American Essays, Sports Writing, Nonrequired Reading, Science and Nature Writing, Mystery Stories, Travel Writing, Essays and Comics. Sure, "best" is subjective -- but most everything in these collections is worth reading.


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