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. Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God, by Greg Graffin and Steven Olson
Unless you're a die-hard fan of the band Bad Religion, you're probably unaware that vocalist Greg Graffin has a Ph.D. from Cornell University and teaches evolution at the University of California. Anarchy Evolution is a book that talks about God, atheism, evolution and rock 'n' roll with the type of candor only reserved for ex-rock musicians. He's blunt, personal and often outspoken -- but what else would you expect from the leader of a punk band?
4. Dead Rising 2 (XBox 360, PS3)
Video games with zombies in them are about as difficult to come by as pigeons in downtown Denver -- but Dead Rising 2 at least has a shtick worth mentioning: stupid amounts of weapons and violence. You can pick up nearly anything and beat the crap out of zombies with it. Sure, there's some story about needing to get your daughter a vaccine against zombification or something, but we're pretty sure the violence is what brings people to the series.
3. The Killer Inside Me (DVD, Blu-Ray)
There's some other movie coming out today based on a Black Sabbath song or something, but we're pretty certain if you've left the house this last week, you've already seen the signs everywhere for it. The Killer Inside Me looks a bit more appealing; based on the excellent Jim Thompson novel of the same name, the movie is essentially about a violent murderer who pretends to be a nice, dumb sheriff of a small town. Casey Affleck takes on the role of Sheriff Lou Ford, with Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson and Bill Pullman lending their co-starring talents.
2. What I Did, by Jason
What I Did is an omnibus of Jason's acclaimed and classic 1990s graphic novels The Iron Wagon, Sshhhh!, and Hey, Wait..., His blank-eyed, animal-headed characters have become a staple and a characteristic of Jason's work; his stories range in topics from melancholy to murder. It's especially nice to see The Iron Wagon in this collection, as it has been out of print for a while now. If you're a fan of in-depth graphic novels that tackle big ideas with simple imagery, you'll probably find a lot to enjoy in What I Did.
1. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, by David Sedaris
David Sedaris is NPR's king of the personal essay, and his books are almost always entertaining on some level. This new collection of essays comes in the form of animal-themed tales with illustrations from Ian Falconer. It has the air of a children's novel filled with parables about life and living, but considering that the themes revolve around prejudiced family members, prison-mandated AA, bureaucracy and more, we're pretty sure it's meant for adults.