Top Picks: Alison Krauss's 'Paper Airplane,' 'The Dark Knight' on Facebook, and more

A new album from Alison Krauss and Union Station, Warner Bros. movie rentals on Facebook, a book of art from Irish illustrator Nigel Peake, and more recommendations.

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    The latest release by Alison Krauss & Union Station, "Paper Airplane".
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a whimsical look at rural life

Nigel Peake lives in the Irish countryside – the middle of nowhere, as he describes it – interpreting the rhythms of the land in pencil and ink and muted watercolors. In the Wilds: Drawings by Nigel Peake (Princeton Architectural Press) shows the whimsy behind the obsessive detail of his illustrations, from the bird tracks that circle a tree trunk to the fallen shed and hay bales wrapped in plastic – colorful reimaginings that capture an inherent joy about his surroundings.

Talent to spare

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The 24-year-old piano phenom Eldar Djangirov has released his fifth album, Three Stories, on Sony Masterworks. This is a dazzling display of virtuosity across three disciplines – classical, jazz, and personal compositions – from Bach to Gershwin, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, Chick Corea, Dave Matthews, and his own creations. Djangirov's national tour runs through October. Check www.eldarjazz.com for dates.

Krauss and her Union crew

It's been a long seven years since Union Station's last album, and the new one, Paper Airplane, is well worth the wait for Grammy queen Alison Krauss's ethereal voice alone. But there's so much more: harmonies that define the very word, nonpareil bluegrass musicianship by fiddler Krauss, dobro master Jerry Douglas, and multi-instrumentalist Ron Block. And what other ensemble can boast two lead vocalists as gifted as Krauss and Dan Tyminski of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" fame. Bluegrass? Yes. Simply great music? Oh, yeah!

A poet who travels light

Linda Pastan is one of those rare poets who understands that the "ordinary" is anything but. Her new book, Traveling Light (Norton), is a joy to read because it delivers exactly what the title promises. Pastan shares universal experiences – love, family, loss, and art – and leads readers through a landscape that is punctuated by color, such as a red cardinal against an evergreen. She shows that poetry can be meaningful, satisfying, lovely – and leave people feeling whole.

TiVO for radio

The new DAR.fm website lets you record, play, pause, and rewind radio shows using your computer or smart phone. With music, the free service even lists every song that aired, allowing you to replay or skip to any track. DAR is legal, at least according to Michael Robertson, the longtime media maverick behind the project.

Facebook rentals

"The Social Network" brought Facebook to movie theaters. Now Batman has turned Facebook into a movie theater. Warner Bros. recently kicked off $3 Facebook movie rentals, starting with "The Dark Knight," with more titles to come. The price matches those of most online competitors, but Facebook gives you two days to watch, pause, and resume – double the 24-hour limit with Apple or Amazon rentals.

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