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A bumper crop of local books

An unusual number of fine books this holiday season came from local writers, local presses or both. They’re available in a variety of independent bookstores, local galleries and other businesses as well as online. Available now are:

Classic Rock Jock: The Jim Santella Story Buffalo Heritage Press, 200 pages, $19.95 paper.

Before he was a blues disc jockey and a theater commentator at WBFO-FM in the station’s last incarnation, Santella was one of the founders of progressive radio in Buffalo and one of its best-known free-form voices. His uncommonly full history of his life – which began as a jazz drummer – and of local radio also includes his life as a contributor to The Buffalo News and other outlets.

The Beatles: Having Read the Book by Greg Sterlace, 348 pages, $20 paper.

Greg Sterlace’s hilarious weighted traversal of the full available Beatles library is as informative as it is funny.

Buffalo Noir Edited by Ed Park and Brigid Hughes, Akashic, 224 pages, $15.95 paper.

Twelve writers with Buffalo connections, including co-editor Ed Park, write dark tales from “the city of no illusions” with locations as disparate as Nottingham Terrace, Allentown, South Buffalo, Delaware Park and the Anchor Bar. Writers include Joyce Carol Oates and Lawrence Block. Subjects include Rick James and the Bubble Man, whose work adorns the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street.

What’s New, Harry: The Best of Buffalo Courier-Express Columnist Phil Ranallo No Frills Publishing, 248 pages, $17.95 paper.

The late great Courier-Express columnist and racetrack reporter on all manner of subjects from Muhammad Ali to Ralph Wilson to Big Bad Bob Lanier. Many are shown off in his characteristic smoky and beery dialogues.