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NONFICTION Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy that Will Prevail By Jonathan Chait Harper Collins 240 pages, $27.99 There may have been a time when you could read a political book about a polarizing figure that presented an argument so compelling about him as to be geometric and said, “Well that’s sure going to change some…

Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey By Elena Ferrante, Europa Editions, 384 pages, $24 By the end of 2016, this exceptional book had proved to be one of most controversial literary books of the year. It came out in November. What preceded its publication were news stories in which the true identity of Elena Ferrante -- one of the most admired Italian writers since Calvin…

NONFICTION Insane Clown President: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus By Matt Taibbi Spiegel and Grau 314 pages, $26 Why should it be that in 2017, America's essential political writer is a fellow who once covered John Kerry's presidential run by wearing a Viking costume at the candidate's press conferences? (He'd previously worn a bear costume but it got too h…

FICTION The Signal Flame By Andrew Krivák Scribner 288 pages   $26 In the small town of Dardan in northwestern Pennsylvania, Hannah and her son Bo are the only ones left at home in an immigrant family scarred by deaths of their menfolk in successive wars.  It is 1972. This is the start of a fine novel, “The Signal Flame” by Andrew Krivák, who ear…

Christopher Hyzy enjoys photography, aviation and Buffalo's architecture. Combining all three, the 26-year-old graphic designer from Kenmore has produced a new book of aerial photographs that celebrates Buffalo's historic legacy. It's called "B is for ... Buffalo: An Aerial Alphabet" (Buffalo Heritage Press, $29.95/$19.95 56 pages), and is available at local bookstores …

“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…