“Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan”
by Elaine Hayes
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…
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…
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…
The Accomplished Guest: Stories
By Ann Beattie
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 …
“Churchill & Orwell: The Fight For Freedom”
By Thomas E. Ricks
326 pages, $28
Never having met wasn’t necessary for these two. It was their joint dedication to individual freedom – the weld-spot of conscience – that held the West together in the face of Hitler and Mussolini’s totalitarianism. Pulitzer Prize Historian …
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century
By Jessica Bruder
251 pages, $26.95
Meet Linda May, a 60-year-old grandmother who is spending Thanksgiving alone in the beat-up trailer she calls home.
Like May, a growing number of Americans are giving up houses and apartments they can no longer afford and living instead in their …
By John Grisham
290 pages, $28.95
By Scott Turow
Grand Central Publishing
483 pages, $28
Pity the poor U.S. courthouse. John Grisham and Scott Turow just don't want to go there anymore.
Instead, they've opted for a literary change of venue.
Grisham, in his new book, "Camino Island," has moved to a s…
“Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American '70s”
By Charles Taylor
197 pages, $27
It’s never been easy to be a movie critic. In the current digital era, though, where the internet has ignited an occupational holocaust in every direction of the information business, everyone seems t…
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson; 272 pages ($17.99) Ages 14 and up.
This lovely novel, of learning to love again after unspeakable loss, delicately interweaves the stories of three teenage girls across a 150-year sweep of history. Anderson, author of critically acclaimed "Tiger Lily" and "The Vanishing Season," brings to vivid life three v…
Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies
By Ann Hornaday
320 pages, $26
To paraphrase Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, opinions are like backsides. Everyone has one. Of course, the loose-cannon cop used a less family-friendly anatomical term to refer to one’s posterior. But his observation has never been more pertinent, thanks to our obs…
The tears we cry from peeling an onion are different than our tears of joy or sorrow.
The latter tend to contain hormones to lift our spirits or ease our pain.
“They’re 50 percent water and 50 percent love,” said David Kessler, a leading grief and healing expert who will lead daylong seminars in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse next week.
The pain that comes …
Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World by Mitch Prinstein; Viking, 273 pages, $36.
Mitch Prinstein has news for us and it’s not especially good. In life, “The enduring power of popularity can be traced to the fact that those same (childhood) dynamics are still a part of our daily lives.” The factors of popularity aren’t much different. As in…
Ernest Hemingway: A Biography
By Mary V. Dearborn
738 pages, $35
“In life one must (first of all) endure,” said Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961).
Regrettably, the same must be said of Mary V. Dearborn’s exhausting biography of Hemingway, the first, her publisher said, in 15 years. There’s a reason for that: Hemingway’s inbox of s…
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman; Henry Holt, 424 pages ($19.99)
Deborah Heiligman was a National Book Award finalist for her marvelous biography "Charles and Emma" for young readers, and she brings the same original perspective, artistry, meticulous research and love for her subjects to this ambitious, heart-wrenc…