Monitor Picks

Five things we think you'll like this week including the return of the Grinch, a film festival on TV, and holiday-time 'Country Living.'

Try bottling this sensation

No wonder Hairspray, now on DVD, was such a hit in theaters: The musical's joie de vivre holds as much appeal to the John Travolta generation as it does the teen set who turned up for Zac Efron. Set in early 1960s Baltimore, it centers on zaftig teen outcast Traci Turnblad (a luminous Nikki Blonsky) who dances her way to acceptance.

A real page turner

It's almost December – the time of year most bibliophiles begin to panic. Have we read everything we're supposed to read? Head over to's Best Books of 2007 to find out. The section is a bit tricky to find from Amazon's home page (try the link on the left rail of the homepage), but the rewards are plentiful: a veritable panoply of lists, from staff favorites to customer favorites, to the best biographies and picture books of the year.

Yule for Y'all

With another Thanksgiving in the books, the shelter and food mags have burst gleefully into winter-holiday mode. A vintage-looking Christmas tree adorns the December Country Living, an issue that features inviting images from inside an Alabama home (we noticed a Southern-holiday spin this year in several publications) among the usual warm array of rural dwellings – with tips for homespun elegance that usually transfer, even if you're a city mouse.

Film festival flicks, free of charge

Can't make it to Cannes or Sundance this year? No worries. Film Movement, the company that created a Netflix for independent and foreign films, has launched the free Film Festival Channel, available nationwide to Cox and Verizon FiOS customers. Each month, eight new offerings from festivals around the world become available. The best part: The on-demand feature allows you to watch at anytime.

Return of the Grinch

For the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss's green, mean, but ultimately soft-hearted character, Random House offers a retrospective edition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! that includes 32 pages of commentary by Seuss scholar Charles D. Cohen, vintage imagery – even seldom seen works including "Perfect Present." (Just for the record, it's a Three-fingered Zifft.)

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