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NONFICTION Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House By Donna Brazile Hachette Books 288 pages $28 This week, America celebrated and mourned the first anniversary of the 2016 presidential election. Whether you partied or pouted depends on which candidate you liked more -- or maybe hated less -- and wh…

Books

“Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live By From the WTF Podcast” by Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald, Flatiron Books, 401 pages, $27.99. His devoted listeners were waiting. Early in the week, Comedian Marc Maron accommodated them on his popular and amazingly influential “WTF Podcast.” About his friend Louis C.K.’s admitting the uglier facts about the New York Times reporta…

FICTION The Chateau By Paul Goldberg Picador 400 pages, $26 "God save the czar!" shouts Bill, a newly unemployed Russian-American Washington Post reporter. Recently fired for insubordination, he endures a plethora of trials as "The Chateau" builds to a bizarre conclusion. The slogan is mild enough among the residents of the crumbling condo in Miami Beach. An…

NONFICTION Man Of The Hour: James B. Conant, Warrior Scientist” By Jennet Conant Simon & Schuster 608 pages $30 “Man Of The Hour,” written by James Bryant Conant’s granddaughter, Jennet, seems an apt enough title. It makes reference to the U.S. government calling upon an unelected person, James B. Conant (1893 – 1978), to perform valuable service for …

Nevermoor, The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend; Little, Brown, 461 pages ($17.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... A cursed, unloved child is spirited away from certain death to a magical city by a mysterious patron who has entered her in a dangerous competition to win a place in the Wundrous  Society in this marvelous, beautifully crafted fantasy from debut author Jess…

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All you writers out there, today is your day. It's I Love to Write day, celebrated this year on Nov. 15. No matter your genre of preference, you've probably experienced writers block. Get rejuvenated and motivated by looking at these recognizable names that hailed from your own fair city of Buffalo. Check out these names and see if you're surprised by any: F. S…

“American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank” by RJ Smith, Da Capo Press, 327 pages, $35. In the history of the Arts Department of the Buffalo Courier Express, no one of its writers was ever more idiosyncratic or interesting than RJ Smith, who functioned as the late newspaper’s pop music critic when the Courier finally decided to follow its competition into havin…

Books

EDITOR'S CHOICE (MOVIES) A personal pantheon: No actor I've ever met has ever approached the personal charm of Ton Hanks. The only other celebrity in the mega-star business that matched -- indeed exceeded -- him was Paul McCartney in the '80s. In neither case could it possibly be a surprise. Their stratospheric charms are often manifest on television and elsewhere. T…

Books

FICTION Smile By Roddy Doyle Viking 214 pages, $30 “Smile” is Roddy Doyle’s 11th novel. It’s been a long time since he had hits like “The Commitments” (which became a film by Alan Parker) and “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”, which won the Booker Prize. “Smile” isn’t a return to good form; it’s more a grimace at memories half-repressed of school days past. It begi…

Books

ARCHITECTURE Michael Graves: Design for Life Princeton Architectural Press 304 pages, $30 Ever since Vitruvius in the 1st century B.C., architects have written books to promulgate their ideas and their buildings but biographies of architects are a relatively recent development, a manifestation of the influence of the media-driven cult of personality that emerge…

GRAPHIC NOVEL Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer l. Holm & Matthew Holm, color by Lark Pien; Graphix/Scholastic, 217 pages ($24.99 hardcover, $12.99 paperback) Ages 8 to 12. ... The brother-sister team behind graphic novel series "Babymouse" and "Squish" offer a marvelous sequel to"Sunny Side Up," a poignant but upbeat tale in which young Sunny was sent off to live wit…

Young Adult The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, translated by Lilit Zelukin Thwaites; GodwinBooks/Henry Holt; 423 pages ($19.99) Ages 12 and up. ... This stunning novel of the Holocaust, from Spanish novelist and journalist Antonio Iturbe, is based on the true story of 14-year-old Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus who risked her life to protect a ragged asso…

Gusto

On the afternoon of Nov. 9, 1967, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Buffalo-bound plane sat on the tarmac at the Atlanta Municipal Airport, the pilot's voice crackled over the intercom with ominous news. The plane, as King recounted in a speech later that evening in Kleinhans Music Hall, had been the subject of a bomb threat. It was the latest of dozens of threats…

Books

NONFICTION The Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant 50 Years of New York by the editors of New York Magazine Simon and Schuster 418 pages, $65 Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 Phaidon Unpaginated, $89.95 On July 15, 1980, the current president of the United States was a brash, visibly self-satisfied young man pictured with four older men as one of "the men…

Columns

A few weeks ago, I ran into Amy Dickinson, the internationally celebrated author and advice columnist, at a writer's event in Skaneateles. Dickinson, who has immortalized her nearby hometown of Freeville in Tompkins County, had a question. She wondered if we'd be interested in her written "thank you" to Buffalo. Until last spring, she said, her father, Buck, was in l…