Top Picks: Michael Jackson's 'Off the Wall,' Stephen Harrigan's 'A Friend of Mr. Lincoln,' and more

Astronaut Scott Kelly's Twitter account includes glimpses from his time in space, comedian Samantha Bee's TBS program is a stand-out in the post-Jon Stewart late-night TV landscape, and more top picks.


King of Pop, remastered

In 1979, as his first great solo album was climbing the charts, a newly emancipated star wrote, “MJ will be my new name, no more Michael Jackson. I want a whole new character.... I will be magic.” On the recently reissued Off the Wall, the music burns as bright as ever, and that breakthrough album’s irresistible hit “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” and title track will leave nobody stationary. The lavish package includes Spike Lee’s documentary “Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall” on the King of Pop’s ascent.


Slingshot comic

Fans will know Samantha Bee from her time on “The Daily Show,” and now grown-up viewers can check her out on her new program, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, on TBS. Bee’s take on current events is a standout in the post-Jon Stewart late-night TV landscape. Fair warning: Her fiery feminist wit can be profanity-laced. Her show airs Mondays at 10:30 p.m. 

Single women power

NPR’s daily show “On Point” with host Tom Ashbrook recently featured The Rising Power Of Single American Women, which explored the social phenomenon of single women outnumbering married women for the first time. Ashbrook interviews Rebecca Traister, author of the recent “All the Single Ladies,” for insights and what this demographic could mean in an election year. Listen online at


Tweets from space

The whole world was watching the journey of astronaut Scott Kelly, now back in the United States after being in space for nearly a year. Kelly recorded fun and poignant parts of his experience on Twitter, including looking down on Earth during the Super Bowl and snapping a final shot of the sunrise. Check out his account at  

Lincoln bookshelf

Make room for yet another book about Honest Abe. Historical fiction author Stephen Harrigan depicts Lincoln as a young man in the delightful A Friend of Mr. Lincoln. A fictional friend named Cage Weatherby gives readers an up-close glimpse of the rough-hewed country lawyer in Springfield, Ill., who longs to achieve something meaningful. Up to the heartbreaking final sentence, Harrigan renders a gorgeous tale of an improbable, bittersweet journey.

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