The Washington State Book Awards this year created a new award to go along with the familiar categories like "Fiction" or "Books for Young Readers." Recognizing that some tomes defy easy categorization, the Washington Center for the Book created the new "Washington Voices" prize, and their first honoree is Washington 129, the collection of poems from poets scattered across the state that was a major project of former state poet laureate and Gonzaga prof Tod Marshall. The Center called it an "important contribution to the literary landscape of our state." (DAN NAILEN)
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
Some noteworthy new music arrives online and in stores Oct. 12. To wit:
Kurt Vile, Bottle It In. I predict some woozy guitar jams.
Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Look Now. Having survived a cancer scare, Elvis is ready to rock once again.
The Monkees, Christmas Party. Yes, it's a Christmas album. Yes, it's really the Monkees. And yes, that's really Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, XTC's Andy Partridge and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck writing some of the tunes.
St. Vincent, MassEduction. A voice-and-piano-only remake of her brilliant MASSEDUCTION album. I'm here for it. (DAN NAILEN)
Sadly, we may never get another season of Flight of the Conchords on HBO, but at least the duo is back for an HBO concert special that debuted this month. If you liked the show, you'll love the special. They play the classics from the show, sure, but the real laughs come from the new songs, including some wicked solos using everyone's favorite instrument, the recorder. (WILSON CRISCIONE)
Jeff Goldblum is a national treasure and everyone's favorite character from Jurassic Park. So I was thrilled when I came across a small book of Goldbum-isms at Spokane's Zine Fest. Jeff Goldblum Pocket Wisdom is a small, homemade booklet filled with brilliant sayings, such as: "I like a pickled cucumber. A regular cucumber I'm not so interested in." Author Rachel Abellar compiled the book by combing through various interviews with Goldblum. This was just one of a handful of fun finds. Can't wait to see what's in store next year. (QUINN WELSCH)
Guacamelee!, the colorful and humorous Mexican culture-inspired Metroidvania platformer is back with a new sequel, set seven years after the original. Beefy luchador hero Juan is called back into action to save the Mexiverse from another power-hungry foe by punching, wrestling and suplexing his way to victory. Guacamelee! 2 brings back its predecessor's progressive skill acquisition, but different this time is more labyrinth levels to traverse, secrets to unlock, meta references and boss fights. Also: Chicken Illuminati. From an art perspective, Guacamelee! 2's beautifully designed world is truly a fiesta for the eyes. Get it now for PC and PS4. (CHEY SCOTT)