Monitor Picks

Bill Nighy lends his silky voice to audiobooks, fashion wheels out its big Gunn, and a new kind of 'look-up' on Google.

Silky Voices, Classic Reads

Stage and screen actor Bill Nighy has a new love, actually. An advocate of literature, he's heading up www.silksoundbooks.com, a website featuring British thespians reading great books. Jeremy Northam reads Henry James, for example, while Susannah York takes on Elizabeth Gaskell. Audiobooks never sounded so good.

Literary Craft

At a time when the confessional memoir couldn't be hotter and fiction readers are gobbling up romans à clef, a new lit mag has decided to capitalize on our hunger for the person behind the words. With essays on the craft of writing, in addition to traditional fare, Canteen calls itself "the literary magazine that comes with instructions."

Fashion's Big Gunn

Tim Gunn doesn't so much reinvent the wardrobe-rehabilitation reality TV genre as much as he does add a touch of charm. In Tim Gunn's Guide to Style (Bravo, Thursdays, 10 p.m.) the fashion guru and model Veronica Webb show sartorially challenged folks how to understand which outfits work best for their body types. Call it project runaway success.

Enter the Matrix

In Spook Country, a handful of strangers navigate the blurred line between the physical world and the sprawling, cyber-reality of "the grid." William Gibson's new novel sounds, on first inspection, like something out of a 22nd-century badland, but it's staged in present-day America, which makes it that much more riveting, affecting – and frightening. Gibson is a master at spinning hulking technological yarns, and this is one of his best.

New Kind Of Look-Up

We should have seen this coming from the online outfit that gave us the pan-and-zoom pleasure of exploring Earth from above, then zipped us down for a Street View in selected cities. Update your Google Earth (even the free version) and reach for the stars with Google Sky, which uses data and imagery from a half-dozen sky-watching organizations to put a virtual observatory on your desktop.

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