Here’s what I’m excited about this week:

1. Fantasies by Metric.  Being Canadian, I have a soft spot for Canadian rock and Metric is one of my favorite bands.  This album is remarkably pop-y for the group, which is great for those on the lookout for foot-tapping summer hits (I keep being tempted to listen to it on the bike to work, which is bad since I am a firm believer that no one should listen to iPods while they bike).  Bottom line: it is alt-rock hip and lead singer Emily Haines rocks out like nobody’s business.  Favorite tracks right now include: Collect Call and Help I’m Alive, the awesome video for which is available on Metric’s website: The album also features great artwork by Hollywood in Cambodia, a graffiti artist collective from Argentina.

2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  I picked up Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, about a cub reporter from Chicago sent to her Missouri hometown to cover the murder of a young girl and deal with her own dysfunctional family, last month when she came to read at The Parlor, a monthly reading series I help organize here in Chicago. I knew of Flynn thanks to my Entertainment Weekly subscription (she had been the magazine’s TV critic for a number of years) and I will admit that I was skeptical of her ability to transition from magazine writer to novelist. Needless to say she made me eat my words. Sharp Objects was an eerie thriller that I absolutely couldn’t put down.  Dark Places, her second novel which released in early May, about a murder cults,  the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, Missouri strip clubs, redheads and farming, cements her as a thriller writer to watch in my mind.   Flynn’s writing is impeccable and meticulously researched, her mysteries fresh and unique, and her characters dark, flawed and compelling.  

3. Star Trek – Three words: Best Summer Movie.  I really can’t remember the last time I left the theatre wanting to head back to the box office to buy a ticket for the next screening.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a trekkie to enjoy this film. I’m not, but I was sucked in by the action, the romance, the aliens and Eric Bana as the evil Nero. I sat on the edge of my seat, I laughed, I cried (really, I did).

4. The Time Traveler’s Wife Movie – It’s not releasing until August, but I’m already excited. As you all know, this is one of my favorite books (and I am officially on the lookout for the YA equivalent!) and it’s never too early to start hyping a movie.  Did I mention that it also stars Eric Bana?

5. Memorial Day – Hooray for the first long weekend of summer! Here’s to BBQs, baseball (though I am still caught up in hockey at the moment, Go Blackhawks!), bike rides and beach reads. Happy Memorial Day!