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For Your Consideration 

A banjo duo, a lumberjack app, and a book set in Sierra Leone

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GAME APP | Chop left. Chop right. The free 8-bit game app TIMBERMAN doesn't get much more complicated than that. Striving for the stripped-down, tap-frenzied infatuation of Flappy Bird, this hipster-ready lumberjack game involves an endless effort to chop down a massive tree — one whack at a time. Move left or right to avoid the descending branches as you rack up points and gain access to more than 20 characters including mock Indiana Jones, President Obama, Mr. T, an Ebola-ready hazmat worker and that damn Flappy Bird. An increasingly impatient timer forces you to chop faster, but watch out for those widowmakers or you'll earn yourself a headstone.

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ALBUM | If you couldn't throw on a copy of the new self-titled BÉLA FLECK & ABIGAIL WASHBURN album, it would be hard to imagine covering so many styles and rhythms with as simple an instrument as the banjo. As two of the finest banjo pickers in the world, the husband-wife duo have recorded a collection of intricately refreshed folk workhorses, injecting new urgency and beauty. "Railroad" mines the best out of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" to impressive effect. Washburn also carries vocals over a slew of new songs, with a few tightly arranged instrumentals thrown in, to really show off what the twangy, oft-maligned banjo can do in the hands of two devoted masters.

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BOOK | An elusive sometimes-resident of North Idaho, author Denis Johnson has turned his pen over strung-out ramblers, haunted professors, railroad workers and Vietnam veterans. In his new novel, THE LAUGHING MONSTERS, Johnson weaves a tale of international allegiances and espionage in Sierra Leone. The novel, due for release on Nov. 4, follows agents and mercenaries on a twisted journey, punctuated by Johnson's signature black humor. An early excerpt follows a man as he checks into an exotic hotel and writes up cryptic mission emails — a subtle opening expected to rapidly spiral into a tour of the dark and damaged.

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