Monitor picks

Eat this book

If you're one of those foodies who relishes good writing about comestibles, here's a tome you can consume beside the fire. The Oldways Table, a collection of essays and recipes from the "culinary think tank" that bears its name, advances a range of philosophies (local food, Mediterranean diet, sustainability) and gives voice to everyone from Paula Wolfert to the Peanut Institute. Even wild game gets it due.

Rising voices

Nothing against "American Idol," but those wailing participants made us wonder: Why isn't there a popular-vote forum for original singer-songwriters? It seems there is; sponsors range from ASCAP to Epiphone. Hit www.songwritingcompetition.com before noon Eastern time, Feb. 28, to hear and vote for (very good) finalists in many genres. The $1,500 People's Voice award will be announced along with winners next month.

Nintendo Noir

Video games aren't all shoot-em-ups and button mashing. Hotel Dusk: Room 215, an interactive detective novel for the Nintendo DS, is a gritty, dialogue-heavy game that revolves around solving puzzles, finding clues, and interrogating suspects. But be tactful, if you push a witness too hard you'll get thrown out of the hotel – game over.

Every little thing they did was magic

Weekend is willing to take out a mortgage to pay for tickets to The Police reunion tour, which go on sale next week. Check out the recently released Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, a documentary filmed by the trio's brilliant drummer, Stewart Copeland, to understand what all the fuss is all about.

Commas, clauses, verbs – oh my!

In the vein of bestselling "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" comes Ben Yagoda's popular grammar book When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It. (The title is borrowed from a Mark Twain quote.) There are few things more entertaining than a writer's musings on the parts of speech, and Yagoda fills his pages with prickly quotes by literary grammarians. It may not make you a better writer, but it will definitely get you parsing like one.

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