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YOUNG ADULT Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden; Bloomsbury, 217 pages ($17.99) Ages 13 and up. Tonya Bolden, brilliant chronicler of the African-American experience, brings the fire to this searing, heart-rending, unforgettable novel based on a disgraceful, little-known event  in American history: Near the end of the Civil War, during Sherman's March through Geor…

FICTION The Rise And Fall of D.O.D.O. By Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland William Morrow 752 pages, $35 What doesn’t exist anymore? Magic – at least in this new novel, “The Rise And Fall of D.O.D.O” (Department of Diachronic Operations), by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. The book is a category-bender, a near-future thriller combining history…

MEMOIR Stay Interesting By Jonathan Goldsmith Sutton 305 pages, $27 It was probably inevitable: a memoir from the guy who rocketed to fame as “the most interesting man in the world” in the long-running Dos Equis beer commercials. Not to begrudge a little opportunistic cashing-in on a lucky break (the author admits as much), Goldsmith delivers a rambli…

North American Pairs qualifying games, awarding extra points, half of them red points, will be played today, Saturday, June 24, and Monday, June 26, through next Saturday, July 1, at the Airport Bridge Club; and from Tuesday, June 27, through next Saturday at the Bridge Center of Buffalo. * * * Congratulations to Nancy Wolstoncroft, the Buffalo area player who earned the…

It's Western New York's field of dreams. Batavia's Dwyer Stadium is in such an idyllic setting that it seems to appear out of the ether. Going there, you pass Centennial Park, a village green right out of Norman Rockwell. Victorian mansions are decked out for summer. The Batavia Downs, the legendary horse racing track dating to 1940, was an earlier stop on our 100 T…

Vocalist Kristin Gilmet is nothing if not adventurous. She first regaled audiences with the Global Village idiots, the local band whose music had trace elements of avant-garde, surf, dance pop and improv, with the occasional sugary pop song or Broadway tune thrown in for good measure. The off-beat chanteuse performed early 20th-century novelty songs with the Parlor S…

On a hot and muggy Saturday afternoon this week I had just about the most fun a gardener could have. On Friday I’d received a surprise crate of summer flowering bulbs from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, and it was my time to play. It was Christmas. It was my birthday. Someone watching might think the project looked like a lot of work, but gardeners know: This is the kind of …

NONFICTION Draw Your Weapons By Sarah Sentilles Random House 320 pages, $28 This book is a meditation “on art and war.” It’s meant to provoke you by changing the way that you see the world. Our author writes about how "art and metaphor condition us to accept violence,” and offers a corrective about how to break its stranglehold on our sensibilitie…

“Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan” by Elaine Hayes Ecco 415 pages, $27.99 It’s an irony of jazz in the 21st century that its singing tradition is once again its commercial sustenance, the way it often was in the eras of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and, a little later, Sarah Vaughan. Anyone who ever witnessed Vaughan in her lifet…

CHILDREN'S Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar; Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 231 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... Ruth Behar  takes her childhood experience of a year spent in a body cast after a terrible car accident to create a powerful tale of suffering, courage, forgiveness and starting anew in her marvelous first novel for young readers. Ruth and her family were Cub…

NONFICTION My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War By Andrew Carroll; Penguin Press, 383 pages ($30) The World Remade: America In World War I By G.J. Meyer; Bantam Books, 651 pages ($30) You’d be hard pressed to find two more diverse takes on America’s involvement in World War I than the new books by Andre…

It’s here. High school graduation. Like many parents, I have mixed emotions – including feeling excited about my daughter embarking on a new life at college. If only I survive senior summer. Come late August, we will no longer have the cello in the living room, the pile of shoes by the back door, the backpack on the kitchen chair. Our inventory of phone and lapto…

FICTION The Accomplished Guest: Stories By Ann Beattie Scribner 270 pages, $25 One is tempted, when reading the sublime Ann Beattie, to do so in one fell swoop. Her stories are that delectable, that easy – at first pass. But it is best to slow down, to savor their cadence, their quirkiness (and trademark humor) before realizing that every single one of …

The Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 25 on the front lawn of the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave. Vendors will offer nature-themed items or works that can be displayed in gardens including sculpture, metalwork, paintings, woodwork, architectural remnants, found art, jewelry,…

The rubber ball turned up first. A 10-foot rubber ball, such as a daredevil would use to go over Niagara Falls. They found it in April. On June 2, they found the body of the daredevil, Kirk Jones. Jones was the guy who went over Niagara Falls in 2003, with no barrel, nothing, and survived with hardly a scratch. Apparently he was trying to go over the falls again, …