TV, music, movies, and books we're into this week

Where did August come from? We're not sure either, and despite the days getting shorter, we can surely find time to kick back with an interesting book to read, a catchy album to listen to, or a great movie or TV show to watch. If you're looking for suggestions, we put together a collection of some of the best stuff out there right now.

TV and movies

Here are some of the movies and TV shows Windows Central is enjoying this week.

Lost Highway

Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer

I remember seeing Lost Highway back at school in Films Studies class and it blew my mind, as well as everyone else's in the room. The movie was used as a platform for discussion about not only film noir, how to approach films from different angles and look beneath the layers, but also on broader subjects not entirely film-related. Not only does it have some big names (Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette), Lost Highway is a film that makes you want to watch it again just to figure out what on Earth just happened. Would you expect any different from David Lynch? Nope.

Ready Player One

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

I really enjoyed Ernest Cline's novel, Ready Player One. So I was somewhat hesitant to watch the movie; films never live up to books you love, at least in my experience. However, when I decided to watch the movie, I did my best to do so without comparing it too much to the novel.

The book and film are about a gamer in the future who escapes the reality of his decimated world by plunging himself into a virtual world, where anyone can be anything they want. When the creator of the virtual world dies, he simultaneously launches a contest that anyone in the "game" can participate in, and potentially win endless fame and riches. It's basically a test of the players' gaming and pop-culture knowledge, and it's an homage to the '80s.

After reading the book — which is grand in scale and imagination, to say the least — I was dying to see how director Steven Spielberg would translate its futuristic and semi-apocalyptic environments to the big screen. It would have been impossible to capture the whole thing in the detail contained in the book. But Spielberg did an impressive job. If I were you, I'd read the book first. But the movie is also quite good.

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I don't think what I'm doing with Jersey Shore: Family Vacation could be called active watching, but I've certainly been sitting on a few episodes while someone else in my house watches it. You know who you are, and you should know what you're doing to me.

There's just something about how the show is edited together with random bits and acted-out scenes that really makes these people seem like scum of the earth, and while watching people now in their 30s and 40s argue about who said what while at a club is fun for awhile, it does get a bit old. But for some reason, I just can't help but come back and see who did what when a new episode starts.

Music

Here's some of the music the Windows Central team is listening to this week.

Harvest Moon — Neil Young

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Neil Young will forever have a spot in my heart, which no doubt most Canadians can likewise claim. He's put out more albums than I can remember, but Harvest Moon is one of my favorites. It was released in 1992, 20-some years after he made his mainstream debut, but it's just as good as any other.

From songs about his guitars to songs about diner waitresses, this is country-folk music at its finest.


Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

American Static — Tom Pitts

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

When a naïve hippy kid from California's Humboldt County foolishly agrees to mule a few pounds of marijuana south to San Francisco, he unknowingly gets pulled into a mess that very nearly kills him. Repeatedly. That's the general gist of Tom Pitts's latest novel, American Static.

Pitts is one of my favorite new crime-fiction writers, largely because he sets all his book in and around San Francisco, the quintessential American noir city. And he does so with an attention to detail that practically makes you feel the Bay Area fog on your face as you rapidly flip the pages of his books.

American Static features a great cast of characters composed of a movie-star-handsome psychopath on a rampage of revenge, a Latino drug kingpin, more scumbag junkies than you can keep track up, a beautiful but troubled damsel-in-distress type, and some seriously conflicted cops, among other nogoodniks. In other words, all the ingredients you need for a delicious crime story.

It's a quick, easy-to-read book that's well worth a look.

See Kindle book at Amazon


Norwegian Wood — Haruki Murakami

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

With the controversy in Hong Kong surrounding Murakami's new novel, Killing Commendatore (which doesn't get an english release until October 2018), I was pulled back into his older work with Norwegian Wood.

I plan on really getting into it this weekend — I usually can't put his novels down once I start — but I know a rough outline of the plot. It's sort of a man's look back at his upbringing in the '60s, triggered by hearing the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood." As always with Murakami, I expect plenty of detailed talk about meal preparation, lost cats, and awkward sexuality.


Your favorites?

What have you been watching, reading, and listening to this week? We want to know, so drop a comment and share your recommendations.

If none of these recommendations strike your fancy, check out a list of all of our past recommendations. We promise you'll find something you'll like.

Tons more recommendations from Team Windows Central

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