Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

Book cover blog for the design savvy, antelope adventures on PBS Nature, new compilation from Glenn Campbell country, and more.

Courtesy of PBS
Capitol/EMI/PR Newswire/Newscom
Richard B. Levine/Newscom

land of the eland

Learn about true grit from the eland of South Africa, the world's largest antelopes, who survive in the Drakensberg Mountain range, an impossible terrain of spiky basalt peaks, birthed during the Jurassic period. Spanning more than 600 miles and towering over 10,000 feet, they are home to bone-devouring vultures, crab-hunting frogs, and furry ice rats. Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham narrates Drakensberg: Barrier of Spears, Feb. 8 on PBS Nature.

gems from a Rhinestone Cowboy

In the 1950s and early '60s, Glen Campbell was a popular session guitarist. But with the overnight success of "Gentle on My Mind," his solo career – which has included Grammy awards and his own TV show – took off. On Feb. 10, Capitol Records will release Glen Campbell: Greatest Hits, a remastering of songs like "Wichita Lineman" and "Southern Nights," along with two tracks from his 2008 album of covers. We're glad he's still on the line.

wild, crazy ... and versatile

Talk about a triple threat. For years, comedian and actor Steve Martin has fostered a steady writing career, from satire to "Shopgirl," his acclaimed 2000 novel. Now he's got an album of bluegrass, featuring the likes of Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, and Dolly Parton. And it's anything but silly. Over 15 tracks, Martin plucks his banjo with bravado, shuttling between frenetic barnburners to mid-tempo ballads. You can get The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo now exclusively at Amazon.

he's got it covered

Everyone loves a beautifully designed book. And now design-savvy bibliophiles have their own blog. At the Book Design Review, blogger Joseph Sullivan dissects the best – and sometimes the worst – covers in recent months, and you don't need an MFA to understand what he's talking about. Colorful JPGs abound: hardcovers, paperbacks, and coffee-table tomes. The blog, located at – it's unaffiliated with the Times – is updated daily. Happy clicking.

POrtrait of a global crisis

Having trouble understanding what the multibillion-dollar economic bailout is hoping to fix? Tune into CNBC's special two-hour documentary, House of Cards, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. The report walks us through interviews with all the key players from individual homeowners to mortgage brokers and bankers to paint a clear-eyed, if chilling, behind-the-scenes portrait of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

treats for your sweetheart

Need an idea for a Valentine's Day gift that's creative, personal, and, yes, edible? There's still time to order M&Ms with your own private messages or photos stamped on each one. Go to and pick from 20 colors (you can choose up to three). But think fast: They need seven to 10 days to arrive, unless you splurge for overnight shipping.

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