Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

The moon landing in 'real time,' a contemporary prom with old-time racial segregation, Afro-Cuban rhythms from Ricardo Lemvo, and more.

HarperCollins Publishers
The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu by Michael Stanley.
The History Channel
Prom Night in Mississippi, a documentary of the first multi-racial prom night in Charleston, Mississippi, funded by actor Morgan Freeman.

Botswana gets a new detective

Fans of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" novels who wish there were just a little more meat to the mysteries, may we introduce Botswanan detective Kubu Bengu? The cricket-loving gourmand – from writing duo "Michael Stanley" (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) – investigates the recent mur­der of a man who supposedly died nearly 30 years ago. As Bengu tries to unravel The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu, echoes of Zimbabwe's war for independence, as well as its current tragic status, resonate throughout a complex mystery that should appeal to both history buffs and armchair travelers.

Moon-umental event

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, The History Channel brings Moonshot, a dramatic retelling of the characters, crises, and culmination of that historic event. The movie, which airs July 20 at 8 p.m., is based on actual transcripts and events, but takes the liberties of docudrama to give us a more intimate and personal experience of these pioneers. It also solves the mystery of Buzz Aldrin's nickname – a younger sister couldn't pronounce "brother."

Choose the moon

On July 16 at 9:32 a.m. EDT, exactly 40 years to the minute after the moon launch, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will go live with The website will track every moment of the mission as it happened with archival audio, video, photos, and "real-time" transmission. Sign up online for updates during the four-day mission or follow it on Twitter.

Afro-Cuban bounce

Pop music has often bounced between Africa and the Americas during the past century, and perfecting that rich musical cross-fertilization for nearly two decades have been Congolese-born, Los Angeles-based Ricardo Lemvo and his band, Makina Loca. On his latest CD, Retrospectiva (Mopiato Music), Lemvo weaves his agile vocals into a group sound distinguished by accordion lacing through layers of electric guitar, brass, and percussion. Lemvo's voice embodies an understated civility and optimism in the face of bleak barriers. His band's percolating polyrhythms give further cause for good cheer on any Old- or New-World dance floor.

Can dogs talk?

Scientific American takes an amusing look at pet communication and why dogs have such poor pronunciation. They're good mimics, but as one dog expert puts it, "If dogs could talk, they would tell you, 'I'm just in it for the cookies.' " See the article at

Prom night in black and white

After discovering that the high school in his hometown of Charleston, Miss., still had separate white and black proms, actor Morgan Freeman a decade ago offered to pay for a single, integrated event – to no avail. In 2008, he tried again and HBO filmed the difficult, eye-opening path the town took to its first-ever multiracial prom night. This is must viewing for all who think the race question has been laid to rest in this country. Prom Night in Mississippi airs July 20 at 9 p.m.

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