Monitor Picks

Five things we think you'll like, including the best baseball fan sites for the World Series, an alternative to iTunes, and a celebrity author's selection of short stories.

Short but sweet

Stephen King edits Best American Short Stories 2007, becoming one of the first "mainstream" authors to land the gig. Expecting a few tales about zombies or murderous dogs? Well, there is some pop fiction involved – as King admits in the introduction, he's a sucker for a juggernaut of a story. But pieces by John Barth – that genius of modern satire – Lauren Groff, and critical darling William Gay round out a collection any literati would be proud to flaunt.

Dip into the dirt

For Red Sox Nation, BostonDirtDogs.com has long been the resource for quirky team news, delivered in accessible blog format. As the Sox barrel through a showdown with the Rockies, the site is a sure bet for up-to-date gossip and analysis. Bring a sense of humor.

Rocky Mountain High

Over in Denver, where a baseball tradition is still in its infancy, RockieFans.com offers – among other gems – MySpace layouts and truly epic computer wall-paper. On the fan site this week: a short history of the Rockies, playoff footage, and some of the best team tribute songs, including "We're The Best," by Hank and the Hanksters.

Get a Download of This

Much as we love iTunes for popularizing digital music, we're smitten with amazon.com's new download service. It's iPod compatible, the sound quality is superior to that of an iTunes MP3, and it's cheaper, too: Each track is 89 cents.

Weekend on the porch

For last-minute leaf peepers, The Porches Inn (www.porches.com) is offering fall packages in Massachusetts' Berkshires. Spread over six renovated row houses connected by a long porch, the inn sits across the street from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in the old mill town of North Adams. Rooms are eclectic but tasteful, and include access to a year-round pool and hot tub. (Be sure to call. Availability may differ from website listings.)

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