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Book Gift Ideas Top This Week's Pop Culture Picks


1001 Movies You Must See

Before You Die


It starts with the 1902 silent short A Trip to the Moon and ends with last year's There Will Be Blood. In between are the greatest films ever made. For every expected entry (look, there's Citizen Kane!), there's a little-known gem like the Greek coming-of-age tale Landscape in the Mist. The colossal book comes with a handy checklist, so you can mark off Eraserhead and Boogie Nights.

The B List: The National Society of Film Critics on the Low-Budget

Beauties, Genre-Bending Mavericks and Cult Classics We Love

(Da Capo)

Nearly three dozen movie critics (including Roger Ebert, whose animosity toward John Waters' Pink Flamingos is a highlight) weigh in on some of their favorite under-the-radar classics. Plenty of ink has been spilled about Platoon and Reservoir Dogs, but these revealing pieces shed new light on their subjects. And passionate and insightful essays on Peeping Tom and Videodrome will have you rushing to Netflix.

The Clash

(Grand Central)

This mammoth, photo-stuffed document of one of rock's greatest bands was assembled by all four members (Joe Strummer helped out before his death in 2002). Many of these pics are from the guys' personal archives and have never been published. Best of all, there's tons of memorabilia here - from full-color record covers and posters to a complete discography. One of the best rock books of the year.

He Is … I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond

(Da Capo)

Rolling Stone writer David Wild confronts his lifelong obsession with the mom-approved singer-songwriter in this enlightening, and somewhat starfucking, book. Of course, Diamond isn't nearly as dreadful as, say, Barry Manilow: He's penned some great songs, and his latest album was produced by Rick Rubin. Still, the guy has recorded some schlock - which Wild freely admits and defends.

I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly & the Family Stone


Sly Stone boasts one of music's top crash-and-burn stories. But before he became a coked-up and reclusive weirdo, he recorded lots of great R&B tunes in the early '70s. Jeff Kaliss' bio chronicles the many ups (No. 1 singles, Woodstock) and downs (drugs, more drugs). Best of all, Kaliss actually sat down with Stone for his first extensive interview in more than 20 years. And, yes, he's still a freak.

Lost in the Supermarket: An Indie Rock Cookbook

(Soft Skull)

You wouldn't know it by their emaciated frames, but indie-rockers like to eat. This how-to book includes nearly 100 recipes by such not-too-cool-for-Trader-Joe's hipsters as Animal Collective, the Mountain Goats and Sonic Youth. Most enticing: Elf Power's Gummi Salad! - made up entirely of chewy candy worms and snakes - and Antony and the Johnsons' self-explanatory Fly Soup.

The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard

(Rough Guides)

This informative book crams a lot of info into its 275 pages: entries on great lost albums by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen; in-depth looks at forgotten rockers like Jobriath and Pretty Things; and convincing arguments on why you should buy records by Gillian Welch and Robert Wyatt. The book even maps out useful playlists for many of the artists, so you can make your iPod the coolest on the block.

The Rough Guide to Videogames

(Rough Guides)

More than just a history of our favorite time-sucker, this photo-packed volume is a virtual walk-through of the videogame hall of fame. Even hardcore gamers will get something out of "The Canon" section, which breaks down the 75 best games ever (featuring old-school hits like GoldenEye 007 and the recent BioShock). Plus, a chapter on gaming websites, magazines and movie spin-offs is indispensable.

Skydog: The Duane Allman Story


He co-founded one of the first jam bands. He was one of the world's greatest guitar heroes. And he died at age 24 in a motorcycle accident. Randy Poe's exhaustive look at Duane Allman (which was first published a couple of years ago; it's now available in a revised and expanded edition) includes it all. Best of all, Poe includes a rundown of Allman's session work with Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs and Derek & the Dominos.

Watching the Watchmen


We're totally geeking out over the trailers for the Watchmen movie coming out next year. In the meantime, this hefty doorstopper oughta satiate fans of the best comic book ever. It obsessively details every facet of Alan Moore's tale of renegade superheroes - from original character designs and unused pages to preliminary sketch and story ideas. It'll leave you grinning like a blood-stained smiley face.


More by Michael Gallucci


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