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

Another week, another weekend. The holiday seasons is ramping up, snow might be falling outside, and you might want to just curl up under a blanket with a great movie, album, or book. 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.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

I am doing my best to get all up in the holiday spirit this week. I got my Christmas tree, and it is decked out with holly and other seasonal accouterments. I love movies, and every December, I have a set of films that I usually watch (over and over). Near the top of the list is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, because it's pretty much the perfect holiday flick.

Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase in his glorious prime, is the quintessential American everyman, just trying to outdo his neighbors by creating the best damn Christmas light arrangement on his home EVAR. Then his extended family arrives. And his holiday bonus is delayed … er, canceled. Hilarity ensues.

That's the gist of it. You've very likely seen Christmas Vacation, perhaps many times, but it's one of those movies that's packed with lovable characters, witty one-liners, and memorable quotes that keep it feeling fresh, year in and year out. Now's a great time for you to meet, or revisit, the Griswold family.

See at Microsoft Store

Ken Burns: The War

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I'm currently working my way through the 15-plus hours of Ken Burns: The Vietnam War, the latest documentary from Burns and Lynn Novick. It's unfortunately not yet available through the Microsoft Store, but I highly recommend it.

Once I'm finished with The Vietnam War, I plan on moving onto (after some time to heal my psyche) The War, which is a sprawling seven-episode collection with about 14 hours of content based on World War II from the perspective of four Americans.

Those interested in the history of the world, who have some downtime this holiday season, might want to binge watch these documentaries. They're detailed, interesting, and take a mostly-uncensored look at the awful things humans can do to each other.

See at Microsoft Store

Music

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

Her — DPR Live

Her — DPR Live

Recommended by Matt Brown, Xbox editor

While I've previously recommended an album from DPR Live in our weekly music roundups, the artist remains one of my favorites today. Between aesthetically pleasing music videos and consistently good music, there's yet to be a song from the artist I don't admire, and that's still true for this latest album, Her. Her marks a shift to a notably more mellow tone from previous releases, as seen with the title track "Martini Blue." My personal highlights of the album are "Jasmine" and "Text Me," though the whole album still deserves a listen, with only a short run time.

See at iTunes See at Spotify


Wembley or Bust — Jeff Lynne's ELO

Wembley or Bust — Jeff Lynne's ELO

Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor

To coincide with the release of (and my obtaining of) the 2018 World Tour tickets, Jeff Lynne's ELO pumped out Wembley or Bust, a live recording from London in the summer of 2017. The physical release also has a DVD, but essentially this is a solid couple of hours of the band's hits from across the decades. It's literally impossible to ever be unhappy while listening to ELO, and even now, they're still putting on a hell of a show.

See at Microsoft Store See at iTunes See at Amazon


Barchords — Bahamas

Barchords — Bahamas

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Afie Jurvanen, otherwise known as Bahamas, taught himself how to play guitar and offered his talent to a ton of Canadian musicians, he set out on his own with the 2009 album Pink Strat.

Barchords, released in 2012, is more of the same chilled-out rock full of addictive hooks and a guitar tones that I just love. I've seen Bahamas perform live three or four times, and if you have a chance, definitely buy a ticket or two. He's as good live as he is on record, which is not something you can say about everyone.

See at Microsoft Store See at iTunes See at Amazon


Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well — Jamie Chan

Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well — Jamie Chan

Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer

I've always wanted to get into development, specifically game development. I've also had the desire to learn something other than HTML and PHP. C# is now my part-time project, using Unity along the way. I decided to pick up a copy of Learn C# in One Day and Learn it Well for beginners, which helps big time. Authored by Jamie Chan, I've found the book to be incredibly useful when used in conjunction with video tutorials and self-teaching by attempting to perform tasks and breaking things in the process. Learning C# is a long-term goal of mine and this feels like a solid start.

Download the Kindle book at Amazon


Camino Island — John Grisham

Camino Island — John Grisham

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

American author John Grisham is well known for his simple-to-read legal thrillers, a few of which were turned into hit movies in the '90s. The term 'beach reading' comes to mind. (It's getting cold as hell in Boston right now, so the beach sounds quite nice … ) And there's nothing wrong with beach reading.

Grisham's latest novel, Camino Island, fits that bill well. And it takes place (mostly) on a beach in Florida. It's the story of a heist that nets five priceless F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts, including The Great Gatsby. But the book isn't your typical caper, and it's more about what happens to the manuscripts after the smash and grab.

Grisham examines the word of bookstores, writing, authors, first editions and other rare books, and the associated black market, all of which I find fascinating. And Camino Island is a real page-turner. If you're looking for some good beach reading to ward off the impending cold (or for whatever weather you find yourself in), you'll appreciate Camino Island. It's one of my favorite books I've read during the past few months.

See at Microsoft Store See Kindle book at Amazon See Audible audiobook at Amazon

The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

After re-reading Oryx and Crake, the first book in the MaddAddam trilogy, I'm now moving on to The Year of the Flood. Rather than continuing with the story of Snowman, the protagonist from the first book, we're now introduced to survivors of God's Gardeners, a religious group that also made it through the bio-disaster that the first book references.

Instead of looking at the events from the privileged life of Snowman (a.k.a. Jimmy), who lived his life in protected compounds, we're shown from the perspective of the Pleeblands, which are essentially the ground-level streets and buildings we inhabit now.

This is my first time reading The Year of the Flood, and I'm excited to see how things play out for different people.

See at Microsoft Store Download the Kindle book at Amazon Download the Audible audio book at Amazon


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