Monitor Picks

Five things we think you'll really like.

Petty for your thoughts

For those of us still dreaming of being rock stars, journalist Paul Zollo has provided a detailed and entertaining guidebook in Conversations with Tom Petty. Written in Q&A format, Petty offers telling insights about holding his band together for more than three decades; jamming with his music idols Dylan, Orbison, and Beatle George; and how hits like "Breakdown" and "Free Fallin'" were born. Rock on, Tom.

Balm in 'Gilead'

Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Gilead is a rare modern novel that takes Christianity seriously. Marilynne Robinson's second novel, now out in paperback, is note-perfect and leaves a reader feeling touched by grace.

Hey bud, let's party

The website is easy to navigate, and filled with both traditional and more exotic flowers and arrangements - including an array of roses, freesia, and orchids. Most arrive in bud form, giving your valentine the chance to watch them bloom, as well as that much more time to enjoy them.

Be like Bode

Torino 2006, the official video game of the XX Winter Games in Turin, makes you feel a part of the Games without actually being there. It has 15 different events in eight winter sports, including alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsled, luge, and skating. You can challenge up to three other players in the multiplayer mode or take turns competing at three levels of difficulty. Double your Olympic fun. (Rated G; for PC, PS2, and Xbox.)

A Dog's life

Some 2,600 pups will pile into Madison Square Garden next week for the 130th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second-longest-running animal sports competition in the US behind the Kentucky Derby (USA Network, Feb. 13 & 14, 8 p.m. EST). Only the pooches have been to the beauty parlor as owners in the flattest of shoes and most sensible of skirts vie for Best in Show. You can't watch without learning of an exotic breed you've never heard of before.

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