“Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol” by Steve Jones with ben Thompson, Da Capo, 308 pages, $26.99 We’re lucky that Steve Jones fit learning to play the guitar into his busy boyhood schedule of stealing cars, picking pockets, and thuggish petty thievery in the streets of mid-'70s London. If he hadn’t, we’d never have had the Sex Pistols, we’d never have had …

BIOGRAPHY Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast By Megan Marshall Houghton Mifflin Harcour 368 pages, $30 Randall Jarrell, a poet better known for his criticism than his poetry, said this about Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry: She appears “to be doing what is statistically and aesthetically impossible — writing only great poems.” Bishop’s father…

FICTION Whatever Happened To Interracial Love?: Stories By Kathleen Collins Ecco paperback original 175 pages, $15.95 “Posthumously published” takes on a whole new meaning with the reading of the late Kathleen Collins’ raw, electric and nuanced story collection, “Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?” From its provocative title to its 16 spare bu…

NONFICTION Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend By Deidre Bair Doubleday 395 pages,  $30 Al Capone keeps some heady company in Deidre Bair’s literary work. After all, the biographer has previously examined the lives of such cultural icons as French writer Simone de Beauvoir, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and Romanian-born New Yorker cartoonist Saul Stei…

CHILDREN’S The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli; Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers; 339 pages, ($16.99) Ages 9 to 12. ... This poignant novel of love, loss and sacrifice, set in 1959 in the small town of Two Mills outside Philadelphia, comes from the author of many acclaimed novels for this age group including Newbery Medal winner “Maniac Magee. “ Twelv…

CHILDREN’S Elon Musk and The Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance; HarperCollins, 288 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 and up. Adapted for young readers. (Jan. 24 publication.) ... Journalist Ashlee Vance had exclusive access to Elon Musk and his family and friends (even his classmates from Musk’s childhood days in South Africa) for this riveting biography, adapted for…

Psychologist and author Harriet Lerner has been one of the country’s most respected relationship experts since “The Dance of Anger” was published in 1985. The New York Times bestseller sold several million copies and appeared in 25 foreign translations. It was followed by such titles as “The Dance of Intimacy,” The Dance of Deception” and “The Mother Dance…

FICTION The Nix By Nathan Hill Knopf 628 pages, $24.95 Of course, John Irving likes "The Nix" and compares Nathan Hill to Dickens. How could he not? Hill's manic energy and astounding breadth of knowledge put him right in Irving's footsteps and perhaps beyond Dickens in historical scope. Hill starts with the everyday, wanders off into every possible kind …

“Steven Spielberg: A Life in Film” by Molly Haskell, Yale University Press, 248 pages, $25. Toward the end of this book we find this about the night Steven Spielberg showed his film “Lincoln” at the Obama White House: “After a screening....he and the president got into a lively discussion in which Spielberg told Obama about how he uses technology to tell stori…

NONFICTION Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty -- An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother By Kate Hennessy Scribner 384 pages,  $27.99 Dorothy Day (1897 – 1980) was called a “great American” by Pope Francis on his recent visit to the United States. Note that the pope didn’t call her a "saint," as she is not; although the Catholic Church…

NONFICTION The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War By H.W. Brands Doubleday 437 pages, $30 That wonderfully ambiguous document – the U.S. Constitution – the glue that has bound the great American experiment for more than 225 years, is indisputably clear when it states: “The President shall be commander in chief o…

CHILDREN'S Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan; Penguin Random House, $16.99. Ages 8 to 12. Jan 31 publication ... This fabulously entertaining novel, rich in both humor and heart, was inspired by Holly Goldberg Sloan’s childhood experience playing a Munchkin in a summer theater production of “The Wizard of Oz.” It was also inspired by her experience being the shortes…

FICTION TRANSIT By Rachel Cusk Farrar, Straus and Giroux 218 pages, $25 One forgets, between books, just how exceptional a writer Rachel Cusk is, with her pin-perfect focus on the day-to-day or, as one of her characters puts it, “the inherently traumatic nature of living itself.” Her latest novel, “Transit” -- a sequel to her irregular yet critically…

FICTION THUS BAD BEGINS By Javier Marias Knopf 444 pages, $27.95 Hamlet says after stabbing Polonius in Act 3, scene 4, “I must be cruel to be kind. Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.” And therein lies the iceberg-like symbolic import of the three-word title of this latest novel by lauded Spanish fiction writer and essayist Javier Marias, translat…

NONFICTION The Wood for the Trees -- One Man’s Long View of Nature By Richard Fortey Knopf 304 pages,  $28.95 Had I seen this book earlier in 2016, I should have recommended it as my ‘best read’ of the year. It’s for everyone who ever had dirt under their fingernails. “The Wood for the Trees” author, Richard Fortey, has been the winner of the…