Five new release picks for Tuesday, September 7

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. Charles Bukowski - The Last Straw (DVD) Charles Bukowski is a fairly well documented writer when it comes to his film appearences, but The Last Straw marks the first time his final performance and poetry reading is available on DVD. If you've never seen him read before, it's a treat -- he's confrontational in a way that ensures you'll be on edge throughout, but thought provoking in a way only Bukowski could be. It's probably not the best of his readings, but it certainly says something that it was his last.

4. The Grand Design - Stephen Hawking and Leonard Miodinow Since Carl Sagan there hasn't been a scientist as beloved by the population as Stephen Hawking. The Grand Design marks his return to populist physics as he continues to combine philosophy and science in a way that us common folk can understand. This book tackles the ideas of M-theory, a set of overlapping theories that could help us understand both the why's and the how's of our universe. Isn't the answer 42?

3. Cuba My Revolution - Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel Cuba My Revolution is inspired by first-time author Inverna Lockpez's experiences growing up in Cuba in the 50s and 60s. It traces the experiences of Sonya, a medical student who dreams to become a painter as she works as a volunteer medic at the Bay of Pigs, where she is captured and tortured by her own countrymen. The graphic novel is illustrated Dean Haspiel, best known for his work on American Splendor, with beautiful red and black coloring by José Villarrubia.

2. NHL 11 (Xbox 360, PS3) The Avalanche might have struggled through the last few seasons, but one thing is still clear: Colorado loves its hockey. EA Sports' NHL series has long been the crowning achievement of sports games, and NHL 11 looks to keep up the tradition. An all new physics system is in place to help you feel more like you're really in the game -- but the six-on-six online gameplay is still the most fun we've had playing games in a long time.

1. Zero History - William Gibson William Gibson may be best known for writing science fiction, but in recent history the science has caught up with his theories. Zero History follows his previous novel, Spook Country, in both character and theme -- the once speculative world of technological innovation is now just cutting edge technology -- but Gibson's theories and implementations of the ways humans use these new technologies are still theoretical. It's still categorized as science fiction, but Zero History feels like it was pulled from the headlines of today.

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