Monitor Picks

Five things we think you'll like, including a food magazine ripe with avocados, the voyage of a replica of a Viking longship, and a heartening DVD about Sudanese refugees in the US.

Savory read

We always salivate over Saveur, the well-designed magazine for discerning foodies. The September issue lured us with a cooling cover shot of a buttery avocado, heralding a comprehensive guide to varieties and (of course) summer recipes. We also relished features on Hmong family farmers in California's Central Valley and Vladivostok as culinary crossroads.

Apocalypse wow

With the exception of the Peter Sellers film in which Slim Pickens rides a falling atomic bomb rodeo style, the end of the world is seldom a laughing matter. Yet Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, reissued in paperback, turns the apocalypse into a Douglas Adams-style comedy.

Vikings hit Ireland

On Tuesday, a replica Viking longship, Stallion of the Sea, made fast in Dublin after covering about 1,000 miles in the six weeks since it left Denmark, roughly retracing (with GPS and the occasional tow) the path of the ancient invaders. Officials took pains to note that the trip celebrated seamanship, not ax-wielding. For more on the voyage, visit

Music to our ears

This month, the Library of Congress appointed Charles Simic as poet laureate. Three cheers. The New York Times calls Simic a surrealist with a "dark view"; his verse is often structurally rheumy and morally complex. But Simic is among the most accessible poets writing today. Looking for a place to start? Try The Voice at 3 A.M. – out in paperback.

Lost boys

Could there be a more compelling testament to human resilience than the "lost boys" of Sudan? Twenty-five thousand fled their war-torn country on foot. God Grew Tired of Us, a film narrated by Nicole Kidman, follows three refugees as they resettle in the US. We watch as they encounter escalators and doughnuts for the first time, all the while maintaining ties to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where so many of their friends remain.

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