Top Picks: Dad bloggers in the spotlight, bluegrass female force Della Mae's new album, and more

HBO's new documentary 'Love, Marilyn' examines newly discovered diaries and letters, Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' is remastered, and more top picks.

Love, Marilyn airing on HBO
This World Oft Can Be by Della Mae
Wrote a Song for Everyone by John Fogerty

Keep on turning

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hits are so embedded in American heads and hearts that “Proud Mary” is practically a national anthem. The song’s creator, John Fogerty, proves as ageless as his songbook on Wrote a Song for Everyone, an inspired collection of duets with a stellar lineup. Jennifer Hudson delivers a Big Easy-flavored “Proud Mary,” Fogerty trades sizzling guitar licks with country star Brad Paisley on “Hot Rod Heart,” and rock icon Bob Seger and Fogerty turn “Who’ll Stop the Rain” into a soulful lament. Each familiar CCR hit becomes new again.

Dads who blog

We’ve all seen plenty of mommy bloggers, but how about the dads who write about parenting? has been highlighting a dad blogger every day for the past month leading up to Father’s Day on June 16. Some of those include Scott Behson, who offers tips on balancing work and family, and Scotty Schrier of “Dads Who Change Diapers.” Not to be missed: a compilation video of fathers singing the theme song to “The Little Mermaid.”

Band of sisters

A new sensation has been storming the bluegrass stage. Della Mae, a five-woman ensemble of talented pickers on guitars, fiddle, mandolin, and bass, has managed to both capture the sounds of American musical traditions as well as craft its own spirited and lilting lyrics. The group’s second album, This World Oft Can Be, will strum its way right into your heart.

Riot of spring

Don’t miss the newly remastered iconic 1958 recording of Stravinsky’s ballet “Le Sacre du Printemps” (“Rite of Spring”) with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. Sony Classical has released this legendary recording in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Russian ballet and its riotous score, described by Maestro Bernstein as a “volcanic” masterpiece.

Children make a difference

PBS reminds us that children are the best change agents we have in the “Independent Lens” film The Revolutionary Optimists. The documentary follows former lawyer and activist Amlan Ganguly as he helps the children of the worst slums in Calcutta, India, transform their own world. Shot over a period of three years, the film takes us through a landscape of child labor, poverty, and disease, showing how children can make a difference – from cleaning up trash to delivering medicines. It airs on PBS June 17.

Marilyn’s inner life

The 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death has produced a rush of activities around the iconic star. But one of the most intriguing has to be Love, Marilyn airing on HBO June 17. The documentary is a swirl of reenactments of moments in the star’s life – the fame and scandals – based on newly discovered diaries and letters hidden away in Lee Strasberg’s archives. A parade of actresses speak Norma Jean’s own words, and the film includes archival footage and dramatic readings of passages by famous writers reflecting on Monroe and her remarkable impact.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to