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Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince By Ben Greenman Henry Holt 286 Pages, $28 If you fall from that highwire bridging the chasm between fanboy love letter and sturdy critical inquiry, it's a long, lonely fall, and there will be no one there to catch you at the bottom. Journalist Ben Greenman loves Prince, and through…

FICTION You Belong to Me By Colin Harrison Sarah Crichton Books (FSG) 322 pages, $27 Every book-reviewing cliche about a good thriller is not just true about Colin Harrison's latest novel, but literally true. It really is riveting in the sense that you are not likely to move from your location once you start it. It really is a page-turner, and those page…

BIOGRAPHY Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet By Lyndal Roper Random House 540 pages, $40 This fall marks the 500th anniversary of the day an Augustinian monk at a backwater university in today’s east-central Germany hung his 95 theses on a door peg at the Wittenberg Castle Church and provided the spark that would ignite a firestorm of religious reformatio…

MEMOIR "Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood." By Kirk and Anne Douglas with Marcia Newberger Running Press 221 pages, $25 Kirk Douglas could see his future. It was 1958 and the actor was in London filming "The Devil's Disciple." But he was missing his wife, Anne, who had stayed in California after the birth of their second s…

“American Epic: The Companion to the PBS Series” by Bernard McMahon and Allison McGourty with Elijah Wald (Touchstone, 277 pages, $29.99). The PBS Series “American Epic” just completed its first run on Channel 17. Consider, just to begin with, those listed as the names “presenting” the series -- T-Bone Burnett, Robert Redford and Jack White. That should tell…

NONFICTION The Revolution Of Robert Kennedy               By John R. Bohrer Bloomsbury Press 384 pages, $30 This is a good time for a biography of Robert Kennedy: right after the 100th anniversary of the birth of his brother John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963), the 35th President of the United States. This well-written partial biography, “T…

CHILDREN'S The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi; Algonquin Young Readers, 320 pages ($16.95) Ages 8 to 12. ... This entertaining work of historical fiction, set in 1724, comes from prolific author Avi, who  won the 2003 Newbery Medal for "Crispin: The Cross of Lead" set in 14th century England. The unfortunately named Oliver Cromwell Pitts wakes up in …

MEMOIR If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating By Alan Alda Random House 213 pages, $28 By Kathleen Rizzo Young Buffalo’s 43North competition allows creative entrepreneurs to pitch their concepts to venture capitalists and investors. Their pitch is as important as their …

BIOGRAPHY The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life By Karin Roffman Farrar, Straus and Giroux 336 pages, $30 In a small market like postmodern poetry it’s not enough to be smart, well-read and determined. You need luck too. John Ashbery got lucky three times. First, the daughter of George Eastman’s lawyer plucked him out of high school i…

MEMOIR "The Mighty Franks" By Michael Frank Farrar, Straus and Giroux $26, 320 pages Memoirs often seem to do double duty as therapy for their author, a public way to sort through one’s  personal demons while trying to shoo them away. But Michael Frank, the acutely perceptive scribe behind "The Mighty Franks," doesn’t just place his dysfunctional ext…

NONFICTION Al Franken, "Giant of the Senate" by Al Franken; Twelve, 416 pages, ($28) In the fall of 2007, the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate was not entirely on board with the idea that the people of Minnesota would be interested in electing Al Franken to the august body the following year. First off, he had never run for office. Second, there was some v…

FICTION "The Thirst" By Jo Nesbo, translated from the Norwegian by Neil Smith Knopf; 462 pages, $26.95. As this newest blood-soaked outing from Norwegian crime master Jo Nesbo begins, legendary Oslo police detective Harry Hole is uncharacteristically happy: He has been married for three years to Rakel, he has quit police work for teaching at the Police College,…

NONFICTION "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy," by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant; Knopf, 226 pages, ($25.95) "The Outrun: A Memoir" by Amy Liptrot;  Norton, 280 pages ($25.95) Perspective comes at a steep price in two new chronicles of profound loss – one, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s searing account of lif…

"In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs," edited by Andrew Blauner, with a note by Paul McCartney; Blue Rider Press, 304 pp., $23. With the 50th anniversary of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” upon us, the Beatles, are. again, on the ascendant in the sine wave of pop consciousness. No less than Paul McCartney himself has been coaxed out of hi…