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Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor's staff

A photo-packed magazine on Central Asia, Miss Marple's mysteries out on DVD, the best of IMAX on TV, and more.

Courtesy of Laurent Weyl / ARGOS/Steppe Magazine

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When was the last time you imagined yourself traveling to Central Asia to investigate whatever happened to the Aral Sea and the people who depend on it? Or thought about comparing the strange and colorful bus stops, hats, or vehicles that cover the region? A quick perusal of Steppe magazine ( could just hasten that latent desire. Each issue is packed with vibrant photo essays, articles, and guest diarists that light the imagination and make the less-­traveled region accessible. The biannual magazine, available in Europe and Central Asia since 2006, recently made its US debut.


August is the perfect month for murders most foul – and who better to solve them than Agatha Christie's venerable sleuth, Miss Marple. Back in her latest incarnation by actress Julia McKenzie, Agatha Christie's Marple: Series 4 (Acorn Media, $59.99), a four-DVD boxed set, arrives Aug. 4. The British television series has lush production values, an A-list cast, and pitch-perfect mysteries.


If you enjoy tracking down your favorite movie scenes, Film + Travel: A Curated Guide to Your Obsessions (Museyon Guides, $15.95) will be dog-eared before you know it. The photo-packed paperback guides you to some of the best-known film locations in Europe (there are separate guides for North America, South America, and Asia/Africa/Oceania), and not always for the films you think. "A Fistful of Dollars" and "Lawrence of Arabia," for instance, were both shot in ... Spain.


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