Six picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

A newsroom thriller, NASA missions on the Discovery Channel, hybrid owners' annoying efficiency, and more.

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Super Rupa

We've fallen for Extraordinary Rendition, the debut CD from Rupa & the April Fishes. Rupa Marya, chanteuse (and San Francisco physician), spent parts of her youth in India and France and picked up languages in which to sing (along with Spanish). Some songs with strings and accordion evoke tango. Others swirl like waltzes. We heard the languorous, otherwordly "Yadd" in the car and even commuting became serene.

Newsroom thriller

Recommended: 10 excellent international thrillers

In State of Play, a team of British reporters discover a connection between the assassinations of a pickpocket, a bike messenger, and a parliamentary researcher. The DVD miniseries (contains some language, brief violence, and brief innuendo) is the most exciting and intelligent political thriller set in a newsroom since "All the President's Men."

Rocket trip

New technology meets NASA history in When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions, a sparkling, six-part series from the Discovery Channel. What began as an effort to preserve the agency's vast archives using cutting-edge, high-definition imagery has blossomed into an engaging, user-friendly walk through four decades of the US in space, from the vetting of the first astronauts through the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo missions and on into the shuttle and Hubble telescope adventures. The recent Mars landing makes this a perfectly timed trip down memory lane (Sunday, June 8, 9 p.m. ET).

'Careless in red'

Fans of writer Elizabeth George have had a long wait since Thomas Lynley's wife was gunned down at the end of "With No One as Witness," but that's nothing to what the New Scotland Yard detective superintendent has gone through. Battered by grief, Lynley has chucked his job and spends his days hiking through Cornwall. His solitude comes to an abrupt end when he finds the body of a climber, and the overworked local inspector presses him into helping her. As readers of George's top-notch mysteries have come to expect, the plotlines are dense, the characters complex, and there are enough dark secrets to fill Pandora's box.

Good sports

In a retro matchup that transcends sport, it's back to the 1980s as the Celtics meet the Lakers in the NBA finals (Game 2, Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC). Now where did we leave our Wayfarers?

Always in drive

We appreciate good auto writing, and the Maureen Dowd of motorheads is Ezra Dyer. In a recent Dyer Consequences column in Automobile magazine, cheeky Ezra analyzes the sometimes annoying efficiency quest of hybrid owners who remain in electric mode by driving, as he puts it, as though they're "pulling an invisible trailer full of chandeliers."

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