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The Big Ten

What to watch, read and listen to this month

Illustration Chloé Fleury


1 IN THE KEY OF KEYS

R&B superstar Alicia Keys has busy days ahead: Before she has her baby in November, she’ll release another baby of sorts—her seventh album. We’re expecting the latter to be a bit more pleasant-sounding. OCTOBER 20

2 NETWORK NEWS

David Fincher directs Jesse Eisenberg in a film about one of the most important inventions of our time: Facebook. The Social Network tells the story of how Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg built an empire. No poking, please. OCTOBER 1

3 BRIGHT IDEA

A blend of science, history and humor, Where Good Ideas Come From is a rapid-fire tome about the history of innovation. Written by Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good for You, Good Ideas manages to pull you in and make learning about business fun. OCTOBER 5

4 BOGIE ON DOWN

Just in time for the holidays comes Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection, an almost overwhelming 13-disc set that includes 24 films and a bonus documentary. It’s also available in Blu-ray. Here’s lookin’ at you, Santa. OCTOBER 5

5 ROCK STARS

This month, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock broadcasts a special live episode from its studio in New York. And East Coasters aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy the show: The cast will perform it twice, to the delight of Fey and Alec Baldwin fans across four time zones. OCTOBER 14

6 STARS AND (PIN) STRIPES

In The Silent Season of a Hero, a whiskey-soaked anthology of the sports writing of legendary journalist Gay Talese, we visit smoky boxing rings in the ’50s and muddy gridirons in the ’60s, and meet everyone from Ali to Joe DiMaggio. OUT NOW

7 FERRY TALES

If Olympus is the meeting place of the gods, Bryan Ferry’s Olympia is its musical equivalent. Rock ‘n’ roll heavyweights ranging from David Gilmour to Flea to Ferry’s former bandmate Brian Eno all make appearances on the upbeat, cover-heavy release. OCTOBER 25

8 BEATLEMANIA

Before John Lennon was “more popular than Jesus,” he was a fresh-faced, mischievous Liverpudlian teen. Nowhere Boy, starring Kristin Scott Thomas as Lennon’s Aunt Mimi, is a sweet and picturesque look at a legend’s formative years. OCTOBER 8

9 TRAVELS WITH IAN

Who says Siberia is a cold, forbidding and sometimes eerily anachronistic place filled with grizzled exiles? Ian Frazier, that’s who, in his new book, Travels in Siberia. Frazier wanders the Siberian expanse and observes its post-Soviet transformation. OCTOBER 12

10 OUT OF THIS WORLD

Those still in mourning for Battlestar Galactica will jump at the chance to gaze at this cult hit’s spacecraft in person. Watch films, follow storyboards, and check out the costumes at Seattle’s Experience Music Project—a closer destination than the 12 colonies. OCTOBER 23

High Art

Michael Cunningham’s latest novel is a tense look at gallery life.

By Molly Rosen

MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM, WHO won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1998 novel, The Hours, tends to begin his books blindly. “I just go marching in with a vague idea,” he says. “Then I see where I want to go.”

His latest novel, By Nightfall, is no exception. It introduces us to Peter Harris, a fortysomething Manhattan-based art dealer in the throes of an existential crisis. On the outside, Harris has everything—a Soho loft, a 21-year marriage and a college- age daughter in Boston. But when Harris’ recovering addict brother-in-law Mizzy (short for “mistake”) comes to visit, Peter sees just how fragile his perfect world really is.

Inspired by Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Nightfall is a family drama, but it’s also an exploration of gallery life. “It’s about a search for something transcendent,” says Cunningham. “I’m old-fashioned like that.”

To learn about the Manhattan art scene, Cunningham spent a few days hanging out in a gallery. “I was surprised by what a business it is,” he says. “That’s part of what Peter is so disillusioned about. Art that is equal parts aesthetics and car dealership.”

Even so, Cunningham refuses to become just another jaded, ironic author writing about the tragically fabulous lives of creative Manhattanites. “I’m embarrassingly uncynical,” he says with a laugh. “A lot of the books I read are pessimistic and over it, but I’m not over it.”

Photographs Courtesy of NBC Universal, Inc. ( Fey, Morgan), Courtesy of RCA Music Group ( Keys), Courtesy of Columbia Tristar Marketing Group, Inc. ( The Social Network), Photographs Courtesy of Adam Whitehead (Ferry), Courtesy of Richard Phibbs (Cunningham), Courtesy of the Weinstein Company (Nowhere Boy), Courtesy of Science Fiction Museum (Batttlestar Gallactica)

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