2009 Gift Guide
Monitor picks for TV, movies, music, and games.
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The National Parks: America's Best Idea ($99) Buy on Amazon.comSkip to next paragraph
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Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns continues his love affair with the American spirit in this six-part series that aired on PBS this year. Narrated by Peter Coyote, this journey through 53 of the nation's stunningly panoramic preserves, including Yosemite, Denali, and Yellowstone, may well constitute some of the most dramatic public spaces ever captured on tape or film. Supported by his trademark banjo and violin soundtrack, Burns takes a fascinating two-century trip through old letters, archival materials, and personal stories.
Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 ($26.95) Buy on Amazon.com
When it comes to iconic brand names, few match the mystique of a Steinway piano, the instrument of choice for most of the world's top performers. This 80-minute documentary, which aired on PBS, traces the year-long creation of a single instrument, a process that involves 12,000 parts and 450 craftsmen. While the journey from forest to concert hall is rich and engaging, the extras are equally compelling – portraits and performances of a handful of today's top pianists, including Lang Lang, Hélène Grimaud, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard.
Just because you can't name George Harrison's high school (think of the city from whence the lads hailed, plus "Institute"), don't get discouraged. Surely you will know he wrote and sang the lead on "Here Comes the Sun." No? Not to worry. In this edition of Trivial Pursuit, with more than 2,500 questions in six categories, there will be puff questions for the diehard fan and impossible ones for the casual fan, but sharing and thinking about a time of life that most baby boomers remember fondly is certainly most of the fun.
The Beatles Remastered Box Set ($259.98) Buy on Amazon.com