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Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

Elvis at 75 on CD, Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel, ‘Shadows of Russia’ film festival on Turner Classic, and more.

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Long live the king

Elvis Presley would have been 75 years old this January, hence the name of a stellar new four CD set: “Elvis 75: Good Rockin’ Tonight.” If The Pelvis has left the building of your current musical tastes, take a fresh listen to tracks like “Love Me Tender,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Crying in the Chapel.” Try to forget the gyrations and gaudy jumpsuits – and just listen to the man sing. Box includes notes on every track and lots of photos.

Word play

Scrabble meets Tetris in Must Pop Words – popwords – an online game from designer Bart Bonte that’s trickier than it looks. Orange balls with letters drop into the field – type as many words as you can from the letters without letting 50 unused balls pile up.

Scottish stories

The gang’s all back for “The Unbearable Lightness of Scones,” the fifth volume of the 44 Scotland Street series, crafted by Alexander McCall Smith: Matthew, newly married; Angus, wrestling with his philandering canine, Cyril; Olive, small but bossy; and the author’s saxophone-playing protagonist, 6-year-old Bertie. Although strikingly different from the author’s more famous series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, these tales provide similar endearing glimpses into everyday lives. However, if you’re waiting for the scones, they don’t appear until Chapter 98.

Show tunes for people not big on Broadway


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