1. Bob Dylan, “The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12” (Sony/Columbia).
Across a handful of sessions between Jan. 13, 1965, and March 10, 1966, Bob Dylan recorded “Bringing It All Back Home,” “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Blonde On Blonde,” the latter of which is a double LP — 36 songs over eight LP sides, the majority of which were also written during this less-than-14-month period. It is one of the greatest sustained bursts of creativity in the history of rock music. It may very well be the greatest.
The latest chapter in the Bob Dylan “Bootleg” series focuses on these studio sessions, a boatload of outtakes from all three albums, with everything mixed from the original studio tracking tapes.
There are three versions of this thing: A two-CD set for regular folks, a six-CD set for the increasingly hardcore and a monstrous 18-CD set for the most devout (or lunatic) Dylanologists that, according to the folks at Columbia, “will include every note recorded during the 1965-1966 sessions, every alternate take and alternate lyric,” as well as Dylan’s original nine mono 45 RPM singles released during the time period and hotel room recordings from the Savoy Hotel in London (May 4, 1965), the North British Station Hotel in Glasgow (May 13, 1966) and a Denver hotel (March 12, 1966) as well as a strip of original film cels from “Don’t Look Back.”
And yes, I will probably end up getting the six-CD one. Only God can judge me! And as you might notice looking down this list, it is holiday shopping season, which means box sets galore. (Friday)
2. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School” by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books). Do you know a child between 8 and 12 years old? Are you a child between 8 and 12 years old? If so, then you are someone, know someone or know someone who knows someone, who is extremely excited about a new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book. (Tuesday)
3. “Avenue of Mysteries” by John Irving (Simon & Schuster). Irving, aka an author one completely forgets is still producing until the next novel appears, writes the story of 14-year-old Juan Diego and his 13-year-old sister Lupe (who happens to read minds) and what happens to them in the past, present and future and how they interact. (Tuesday)
4. Billy Gibbons and the BFG’s, “Perfectamundo” (Concord). This right here is the legendary ZZ Top singer/guitarist’s debut solo album. Seems amazing it took this long, but when your band is ZZ Top, you don’t really need a solo career. (Friday)
5. Tim McGraw, “Damn Country Music” (Big Machine). Hard to believe that Taylor Swift’s first big single was a shoutout to this guy, who seemed like a lifer-style country vet even back then in 2006. (Friday)
6. John Coltrane, “A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters” (Verve). The album considered by many to be the greatest jazz recording ever made gets the deluxe treatment, with a two-CD set, including the original album, unreleased mono “reference” versions of two tracks and seven unreleased performances from the two sessions. A three-CD set adds a live performance of the entire album from the 1965 Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes. (Friday)
7. “Spectre.” Daniel Craig returns for his fourth outing as 007, as director Sam Mendes reintroduces a classic Bond baddie (the titular organization). With Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Léa Seydoux and Christoph Waltz. (Friday)
8. “Suffragette.” Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep and Ben Whishaw star in this British drama about the women’s suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Friday)
9. “A Wild Swan: And Other Tales” by Michael Cunningham and Yuko Shimizu (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Shimizu illustrates these modern fairy tales from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Hours.” (Nov. 10)
10. “The Sandman: Overture” by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III (Vertigo). The hardcover edition of Gaiman’s return to the Sandman, the character that built DC Comics’ Vertigo brand into an empire and became one of the most important fantasy novels of the 1990s. Illustrated by the almighty Williams, this is Gaiman’s best comic book work in a dog’s age. (Nov. 10)
11. Justin Bieber, “Purpose” (RBMG/Def Jam). Guess who’s back, back again, Biebs is back, tell a friend. He’s created a monster. (Nov. 13)
12. One Direction, “Made in the A.M.” (Syco Music). Highly anticipated fifth studio album by this pop sensation, their first after the departure of beloved, floppy-haired singer Zayn Malik. It’s on, Biebs! (Nov. 13)
13. Jeff Lynne’s ELO, “Alone in the Universe” (Columbia). As the name implies, there actually was a Lynne-less ELO (Named, as you might imagine, ELO Part II) running around, but no more. This is the first ELO joint in more than a decade; put your rollerskates on. (Nov. 13)
14. Squeeze, “Cradle to the Grave” (Caroline). Speaking of old people, this is Squeeze’s 14th studio album and the first collection of new songs from Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook since 1998. Your favorite musician is probably a huge fan. (Nov. 13)
15. “My All American.” Also known as the one about legendary Texas Longhorns safety Freddie Steinmark, with Aaron Eckhart as Darrell K Royal. Shot in Austin and directed by Angelo Pizzo, it is based on Jim Dent’s book “Courage Beyond the Game: The Freddie Steinmark Story.” Expect all of the tears from guys who don’t cry much. (Nov. 13)
16. Grateful Dead, “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” (Rhino). A box set of the July 5 final performance at Chicago’s Soldier Field by the four living original Dead members, with Phish’s Trey Anastasio in the role of Jerry Garcia’s leads. Four CDs plus two DVDs. (Nov. 20)
17. The Velvet Underground, “The Complete Matrix Tapes” (Polydor/UMe). A four-CD box set recorded Nov. 26-27, 1969, in San Francisco, also known as the shows that gave rise to the crucial “1969” live albums, which were the most important Velvet records released in the 1970s. (Nov. 20)
18. Adele, “25” (XL). The British singer finally follows up on her earth-shakingly popular album “21.” “Hello,” the power ballad first single, was released Oct. 23 and went to No. 1 on iTunes in 86 countries. Unless Taylor Swift drops something this quarter, this is the pop event of the season. (Nov. 20)
19. “Creed.” Michael B. Jordan stars — and creates some continuity confusion — as Apollo Creed’s son Adonis in this “Rocky” spinoff/sequel. Sylvester Stallone once again plays the Italian Stallion. Man alive, this looks awesome. (Nov. 25)
20. Pope Francis, “Wake Up!” (Believe Digital). His Holiness survives the Kim Davis fiasco (peace to the haters) only to drop this Vatican-approved pop-rock album composed in part by a veteran of the Italian prog scene. Does he love it when they call him Big Poppa? (Nov. 27)