Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

Classic puzzlers in a crisp new book, Jack Bauer is back in a '24' movie, Stephen Colbert croons his way into Christmas, and more.

Courtesy of Time, Inc. Home Entertainment
Courtesy of Kelsey McNeal/FOX
Courtesy of Kristopher Long

Puzzle me this

If you like word games, number puzzles, or figuring out how to cut a pie into eight pieces with only three cuts, grab your thinking cap and Fabulous Fun with Puzzles, by Joseph Leeming (Time Inc., $13.95). Geared for adults, this collection of brain teasers will please your inner problem solver. As for the aforementioned pastry? What fun would it be if we just told you the answer?

Name That Tune

You hear a song on the radio, but can't remember the singer. Sound familiar? Now, if you're an iPhone or "Google phone" user, you can forgo the frustration: Simply download the great new discovery engine from Shazam, a London-based media company. Shazam's mobile applications analyze, identify, and categorize mystery tunes – all you have to do is hold your phone up to the nearest speaker. For information on rates and file sizes, go to


The first shock of A Colbert Christmas, an hour-long special airing on Comedy Central on Nov. 23 at 10 p.m., is seeing Stephen Colbert in a Mr. Rogers cardigan. The second is that the comedian can actually sing! In this irreverent musical revue, Colbert sings with the likes of Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello and, most notably, Jon Stewart on a tune called "Can I Interest You in Hannukah?" But the song you'll most want to download is Leslie Feist's lovely "Please Be Patient."


In March, Dr Pepper promised every American a free can if Guns N' Roses released "Chinese Democracy" in 2008. It was a reasonable gambit – the world's most expensive album had more missed deadlines than Boston's Big Dig. Dr Pepper is making good on its promise: go to on Nov. 23 to register for your beverage.

What's cookin'?

If you love cookbooks as much as you do memoirs, you'll enjoy The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food, by cookbook editor Judith Jones, just out in paperback (Anchor, $14.95). Jones shares from her wealth of experience as she mixed, stirred, and rewrote alongside culinary greats from Julia Child to James Beard. She offers recipes and tips, and encourages all to improvise. It's an invitation into the kitchen that's hard to resist.

Jack is back!

The writers' strike sidelined Jack Bauer and crew earlier this year, but now the creative team behind Fox's hit thriller is back with a two-hour movie event, 24: Redemption, airing Nov. 23 at 8:00 p.m. Set four years after the cliffhanger finale of Season 6, a guilt-ridden Bauer finds that dirty dealings at the highest level of American governance can't seem to leave him alone even in the depths of rebel-torn Africa. Sure, he saves orphans from certain death, but, more important, he paves the way for Season 7, which launches in January. Viewer beware: There are scenes of graphic torture and violent death, but after all, this is "24."

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