Read This: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
This Pulitzer-prize winning collection of short stories links together the tales by threads of sadness and compassion. It is the first book for Lahiri, who is the author of the novel-cum-film The Namesake. Writers understand the pressure to produce a connection between character and reader, more difficult to achieve in a short story, but Lahiri seems to have what Italian's call "sprezzatura" - the ability to make the difficult appear effortless. You will fall quickly in love with each of her characters, feeling the gentle touch of Lahiri in each memorable story.
Watch This: Waiting for Guffman starring Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard
Part of the Spinal Tap series of satirical films that feature the same group of actors, this film follows a group of small town Blaine, Missouri residents as they pull together a musical in honor of the sesquicentennial anniversary of the city. Led by Corky St. Claire, a director who embodies theater flamboyance and emotion, this makeshift group of actors reenacts the history of town, including an alien encounter with the musical track "Nothin Ever Happens on Mars." The group practices and finally performs in anticipation of Mort Guffman's attendance, a producer from NYC. Guffman never appears, and any Recessionista familiar with the playwright Samuel Beckett sees the obvious parallels to the play "Waiting for Godot." Guest's genius (he also wrote the screenplay) is turning Beckett's themes of absurd of and in life into satire, rather than a more sardonic tale like Godot. If that doesn't convince you, I have two words that will - Parker Posey. No need to wait to borrow this - laughing is still free!
Listen to This: Best of Henri Salvador
For anyone who likes the music of the Rat Pack (and for those who do not, but enjoy impressing others with their worldly taste), Henri Salvador performs Big Band as only the French could - sultry with unapologetic originality. "Crooner" seems a misnomer for Salvador, who performed with a glimmer of mischief in his eye absent from more "blokey" contemporaries, like Sinatra. His voice seduces, but not by happenstance. He knows full well that you are falling for him. This is an album to listen to while contemplating the art of seduction. La Petite Fleur is a favorite.
Recessionista Tip of the Day: What if you could save a life by just opening your mouth? Easy enough, right? Next time you are at the doctor's office, ask about being entered into the National Bone Marrow donors database. Your doctor need only swab the inside of your cheek with a Q-tip, register you, and if you match someone in need, you will be contacted. Need a reason to donate? Check this out: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=6691192. Be someone's angel - it is free, after all.