Top Picks: Lori McKenna's album 'Massachusetts,' the documentary '56 Up' on DVD and Blu-ray, and more

The Geocaching Intro app lets kids embark on a real-life treasure hunt, Andy Sharpless's book 'The Perfect Protein' lays out the case for careful consumption of fish, and more.

The documentary 56 Up on DVD
Lori McKenna's new release 'Massachusetts'
The Perfect Protein, by Andy Sharpless

Oceans of plenty?

Job-crushing catch limits for fishermen are controversial in the United States. And the idea of enforcing sustainable-harvest practices among seafood’s other countries of origin is ambitious. But The Perfect Protein, by Andy Sharpless, head of the conservation organization Oceana, lays out a strong case for the careful consumption of (mostly wild) fish as a way to save the oceans and feed the world. Its back pages feature recipes for species (think mullet and triggerfish) that may be new to you.

The Atlantic wall

Nazi Mega Weapons views World War II through the unique lens of the Nazis’ superhuman feats of engineering. The PBS series revisits the massive scale of the German defense against the Allied invasion of the Atlantic coast with reenactments, 3-D graphics, and footage of still-standing structures. The first three episodes air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m., beginning July 17.

Heart and home

Lori McKenna knows something about the struggles of the middle class, but she’s no politician. She’s a housewife, mother of five, and one of America’s most gifted singer/songwriters. Her affecting, inspiring new album is named after her beloved home state: Massachusetts. And it delivers on the mood of its cover – a snow-dusted rooftop panorama of her hometown – with stoic, lived-in lyrics such as: “These days nothing’s made to last/ the world keeps changing its mind but you and I/ we’re getting better with time.” If McKenna is talking about herself, we wholeheartedly agree.

Summertime brass

Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, Opus 9 for piano was considered so technically difficult and emotionally demanding that it was rarely played in public during his lifetime. Today, however, the depiction of masked Carnival revelers is one of Schumann’s most performed works. Now Canadian Brass has given it new life and whimsy on its Carnaval album under the Steinway & Sons label. Carnaval’s magnificent chord passages skip across a full brass section engaging the full range of the playful oompah of tubas, sweetly calling trumpets, and somber French horns. The album also includes Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Opus 15.

Treasure hunt

The free Geocaching Intro app will keep kids on break busy with a real-life treasure hunt (they’ll need a GPS device or a smart phone). The game relies on volunteers who hide “geocaches,” which usually contain a small prize or token, and then enter the coordinates of their cache on the Geocaching database. Go to to learn more. Cache locations are there, too – or simply open the app. Happy hunting!

Life stories

The documentary 56 Up, now available on DVD and Blu-ray, checks in on the adults who were first captured on film in elementary school in the 1964 film “7 Up.” The series of films by director Michael Apted has caught up with the subjects every seven years since the project has started, and the movies have turned into a long-form epic about the changes that life brings.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.