Top Picks: Inspiring Olympics moment, Peter Robinson’s novel 'When the Music’s Over,' and more

The app 'Verne: The Himalayas' offers dazzling visuals for children and adults, Lisa Hannigan's 'At Swim' is captivating, sombre, and otherworldly beautiful, and more top picks.

Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand stops to help Abbey D'Agostino of USA.

Sweet Olympics moment

Missing the Olympics already? Relive a small but sweet moment: When American Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand were competing in the women’s 5,000-meter event, D’Agostino ran into Hamblin. D’Agostino came back up first but took a moment to help her opponent and see if she was all right, exemplifying the message of the Games. See it happen at http://bit.ly/Olympics5000.

Winning movie

In 2000, a group of Welsh inhabitants of a former mining village decided to pool their resources and breed a racehorse. When the horse began doing well in races, they found themselves on an unexpected journey. The documentary Dark Horse, directed by Louise Osmond, tells this story and it’s now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Dazzling Himalayas

Travel virtually to the Himalayas with the new app Verne: The Himalayas, which uses Google Maps to allow you to see the vistas as a yeti known as Verne. Kids can learn from the app, but adults will appreciate the dazzling visuals, too. It’s available through Google Play (there’s no iOS version yet) free of charge.   

Captivating songs

Singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan first caught our attention as the beguiling duet partner of Irish heartthrob Damien Rice a decade ago. While Rice’s profile has dimmed, Hannigan is a rising star in Britain, and her gorgeous new album, At Swim, should continue her ascent. A fortuitous teaming with The National’s Aaron Dessner has taken her songwriting to new places, and the resulting 11 songs are captivating, sombre, and otherworldly beautiful.

Thoughtful banter

What better tonic for the dog days of summer than a respite with detective Alan Banks? Peter Robinson’s novel When the Music’s Over finds the detective in charge for the first time as superintendent. Robinson keeps the story and plot moving, but it’s Banks’s eclectic musings and thoughtful banter that make the novel a delight. Along the way, the author tackles everything from the unreliability of memory to ethnic profiling. This is pop fiction the way it should be: entertaining and brainy.

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