Top Picks: James Bond reboot, Bill Moyers on faith, Franz Liszt at 200, and more

Ian Fleming's 007 in a new novel, Bill Moyers looks on church and state, a tribute for Franz Liszt's 200th birthday, and more recommendations.

Mr. Bond is back

Ian Fleming's estate made a superb choice when it turned to thriller writer Jeffery Deaver for this summer's James Bond reboot Carte Blanche. In his latest incarnation, the venerable British spy is a 21st century 007, battling baddies ranging from agribusiness and big pharma to NGO nasties. At the heart of the plot is a mysterious, green-friendly trash and recycling baron with a disquieting interest in human decay. Familiar Fleming touches abound, from M and Moneypenny to exotic locales. Then, too, Deaver adds a knowing wink with his femmes fatales and otherwise, including the superbly named Ophelia Maidenstone and Felicity Willing. A spry spy bash not to be missed.

Magical duo

Recommended: Culture and Science

At a Nashville, Tenn., workshop two struggling songwriters are sent to a room to write a hit. John Paul White of Alabama and Joy Williams of California meet that day and oh, how the sparks fly. From the very first notes, their voices blend like brother and sister, with soaring, aching harmonies not heard since the Everly Brothers. Under the moniker The Civil Wars, they record a stunning debut album Barton Hollow. "Grey's Anatomy" features their song "Poison and Wine," and the video becomes a YouTube sensation. It's time to catch up with the magical duo everybody's buzzing about.

A celebration of Liszt

Newcomer Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili marks her debut with a two-disc CD/DVD set devoted to celebrating the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt's birth. Titled Franz Liszt, highlights include Liebestraum, Mephisto Waltz No. 1, and La Lugubre Gondola, plus a short concert film.

Personal faith and public action

Bill Moyers: God & Politics is a three-part DVD series featuring the landmark television program hosted by Mr. Moyers, which aired on American TV in the late 1980s. The show examines the interaction between church and state, focusing on the hot spots of that decade, primarily in Central America. While the headlines are dated, the issues of the role of faith and government are not.

Songs of protest

Kenneth Bowser's new documentary Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune, out on DVD July 19, examines the life of elusive and shortlived 1960s folk artist Phil Ochs. Convinced he would be a folk icon and competing with the likes of Bob Dylan in the political protest song niche, Ochs makes for a fascinating study in 1960s counterculture. Pick up this DVD for what Monitor reviewer Peter Rainer calls "a complex portrait of an ultimately unknowable man."

Map maven

If you travel a lot, City Maps 2Go from Ulmon Solutions could become your favorite app for navigating a new city. With more than 7,000 maps you can download and use off-line, including user-generated points of interest, it will save you roaming charges, spotty coverage, and losing your way. $0.99 from iTunes.

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