Monitor picks

From a books podcast to Free Comic Book Day, here are five things we think you'll really like.

Hoop Dreams

Put the Don Imus basketball fiasco behind you. The Heart of the Game, a documentary now on DVD, shows the character of a multiethnic group of women – the Roughriders of Seattle's Roosevelt High – whose coach uses wolf-pack tactics to hone their game even as they confront a challenge to the eligibility of their star player, a teen mom.

Listen up, book lovers

Much noise has been made in recent weeks over the future of the newspaper book review – sections are shrinking and editors are decamping. But The New York Times Book Review has one solution, and it's downloadable. Navigate to, where you'll find a podcast of your favorite authors talking shop with Times staffers, with a mass of original book-geek news to boot.

Think small

Good news for adherents of – or aspirants to – the simplification movement. Architect and forward-thinker Sarah Susanka, author of the "Not So Big House" books, has extended her how-to franchise with The Not So Big Life, applying her pare-back-and-declutter philosophy to day-to-day behavior. Shelve the BlackBerry for this relaxed summer read.

Harmonize your music

If your MP3 library is measured in days instead of hours, your mood can change long before you're done distilling that perfect playlist. Try Pick three "seed songs" and The Filter compiles a playlist of similar tunes from your collection and suggests new tracks you can purchase online. The free download is available for iTunes (Macs and PCs) and Windows.

Freebie alert!

The "free" in Free Comic Book Day should be enough to active your spidey-senses. But if it's not, consider the fine print: On May 5, a handful of publishers, from Marvel to D.C., will drop a big pile of free books at your local dealer. Visit for more info.

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