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Top Picks: Philip Kerr's book 'The Lady from Zagreb,' the TV program 'American Ballet Theatre: A History,' and more

A 'NOVA' episode titled 'Lethal Seas' looks at the effect of the increase in carbon emissions on our oceans, Ludovico Einaudi proves to be a musical mixologist on the album 'Taranta Project,' and more top picks.

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Poetry in motion

The American Ballet Theatre and its performances have been an important part of culture for decades, and a new documentary directed by Ric Burns looks at the history of the theater for its 75th anniversary. The documentary includes interviews with current stars and footage of performances at the theater. American Ballet Theatre: A History airs as part of the “American Masters” program on PBS on May 15 at 9 p.m.

Salty seas

Lethal Seas on “NOVA” looks at the effect of the increase in carbon emissions on our oceans. As the acidity of the water rises it threatens the development of shells and sea creatures. What can be done? This new episode centers on scientists who are looking for solutions. “Lethal Seas” airs on PBS on May 13 at 9 p.m. 

Hard-boiled mystery

Gallows humor defines Bernie Gunther, the German noir detective in the 10th and latest installment of Philip Kerr’s historical fiction series. In The Lady from Zagreb Bernie once again finds himself trying to save a sliver of his sanity and decency in Hitler’s Germany. The novel’s femme fatale is a star in propaganda movies and lures Bernie into the baffling violence and vengeance of the Balkans. 

Illuminated art

Former Monitor correspondent and art critic Carol Strickland has published an e-book and a new way of experiencing art in Seeing Impressionism in a Whole New Light. Strickland’s book, designed for tablets, provides an illuminated tour of the French artists who endured scathing criticism to create a pivotal movement of their own. Embedded info boxes serve as curatorial guides, explaining everything from brushstrokes to societal influences. Students and art history fans alike will appreciate this work. It’s available at the iBooks Store for $8.99.  

Classical crossover

Ludovico Einaudi is a musical mixologist. On Taranta Project, the popular composer shakes up classical music convention with this potion of trance music from West Africa; Turkey; and Salento, Italy. Guitarist Justin Adams and ritti player Juldeh Camara – both from Robert Plant’s band – play African riffs that gust through traditional Italian folk music like the hot sirocco winds that begin in the Sahara and move across the Mediterranean. Einaudi contributes meditative piano to “Nuvole Bianche.” A potent concoction.

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