Stephen King
Photo: Larry French/Getty Images

The book to read

Stephen King, The Outsider

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Stephen King’s The Outsider is in many ways a throwback novel, a creature feature that seems ripped from his ’80s heyday, his pulpiest book since perhaps Cell, but a work undeniably founded in today’s fears. Ostensibly centered around a shapeshifting Pennywise-like murderer of children, its darkest threats are less fantastical and defeatable than uncontainable and unnervingly mundane. King’s real subjects here are a world spinning out of control, the dangers of people who refuse to see the truth, and the rotting of a society in moral decay, like a supernatural No Country For Old Men.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The comedy special to watch

Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here

“Tig Notaro commits to the present—and the future—in Happy To Be Here. She trusts that we know enough about her past not to ask her to wallow in it; and, as sublime as her grief is, Notaro proves there’s so much more to her comedy than tragedy. Her happiness doesn’t blunt any of her humor, and it also provides a fitting end to Notaro’s unofficial trilogy. If Live marked her lowest point, then the giddy-in-comparison Boyish Girl Interrupted declared Notaro’s intention to fight back. Happy To Be Here is both the fulfillment of that promise and Notaro’s reward.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The album to listen to

Low Cut Connie, Dirty Pictures (Part 2)

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“On Dirty Pictures (Part 2), ragged soul-rockers Low Cut Connie harness their live energy within crisp songwriting that’s reverent (but not slavish) toward decades of popular music: gritty honky tonk (‘All These Kids Are Way Too High’), gospel-driven rock (‘Every Time You Turn Around’), and boogie-woogie blues (the Rolling Stones-esque ‘Desegregation’). Yet the Philadelphia band’s keen sense of dynamics, as well as deceptively simple lyrics that hint at greater truths, elevate Part 2.
Read the rest of our review here.


The movie to watch

Who We Are Now

“One of the best films released last year, From Nowhere, was seen by almost nobody […] Writer-director Matthew Newton tackled the plight of Dreamers with uncommon frankness and candor. Newton’s equally strong follow-up, Who We Are Now […] lacks a topical angle of any kind but does at least boast a more recognizable cast. Once again, he refuses to pretend that lives in disarray can be magically repaired by good intentions, while simultaneously avoiding the defeatist attitude that insists there’s consequently no point in even trying.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The video game to play

Dark Souls Remastered

“It’s amazing how profoundly different this game becomes when you’re revisiting it. You’ve learned everything there is to learn, and you’re here to see your favorite sights, using all that accumulated knowledge to plan out the perfect, most efficient path. That the interlocking cylindrical sprawl of the world supports cracking apart the whole flow of the game like this is one of its truest beauties, and it’s the one thing that maintains the original Dark Souls’ place atop its trilogy.”
Read about the games we’re playing this week here.

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The podcast to listen to

Bad Science, “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back W/Reggie Watts 

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“NASA’s Emily Manor-Chapman is the real attraction here, gamely digging into subjects such as the biological and meteorological conditions necessary for a tauntaun to actually serve as a safe haven in a snowstorm. [Host Ethan] Edenburg keeps things moving and surprising, and the comedians make for lively conversationalists, but Manor-Chapman and the scientists of later episodes are the biggest draw. Come for the yuks, stay for the passionate conversations about explosives, sound in space, and the correct pronunciation of ‘AT-AT,’ all with an eye toward honest-to-god science.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.