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Culture is what sustains us in uncertain times. So we can be thankful that even in the annus horribilis of 2016 -- when so many of our great artists, musicians and cultural forces departed for greener pastures -- yielded an astounding collection of worthy books. Whether you're interested in more deeply exploring local treasures like the Albright-Knox Art Gallery…

NON-FICTION Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital By David Oshinsky Doubleday 387 pages, $30 Pulitzer Prize winner David Oshinsky is out with the remarkable story of Bellevue Hospital on New York City’s East Side. It’s the place where we usually think only the poor are taken for treatment. What a mistake. …

Novel Every Man For Himself By Mark Hannon Apprentice House Press 427 pages, $19.99 There aren’t many Buffalonians around who still remember the infamous “Pinball Scandal” of the early 1950s. More than six decades ago, many Buffalo bars and restaurants had pinball machines that could be mechanically rigged into gambling devices. In terms of taking p…

"In Sunlight Or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper," edited by Lawrence Block, Pegasus, 277 pages, $25.95. The Mystery Writers of America have a nice Renaissance Craftsman-like way of recognizing the worthiest among their fellow craftsmen. They call them “Grandmasters.” Lawrence Block, who grew up on the corner of Starin and Parkside av…

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Nonfiction The Daily Show (The Book); By Chris Smith, Foreword by Jon Stewart; Grand Central Publishing, 459 pages ($30) The great ones have a way of making it look easy. Think of Joe Montana throwing a touchdown pass or Frank Sinatra singing a Cole Porter tune. For more than 16 years on “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart made it look easy. Now a new book chroni…

Books

MEMOIR Settle For More by Megyn Kelly; HarperCollins, 340 pages ($29.99) For journalists, especially on a national level trying to gauge the temperature surrounding a Donald Trump presidency, the information contained in Megyn Kelly’s new memoir offers little hope of a smooth ride over the next four to eight years. In fact, “Settle For More” may send the merc…

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William Faught's black-and-white and color photographs take center stage in "Allentown: A Photographic Journey in the Heart of Buffalo, NY" (Buffalo Heritage Limited, 102 pages, $49.95/$29.95). Faught is a retired architect and urban planner, and Allentown is his adopted home. He lives on Irving Place, but grew up a world away in Arkansas. Living in the Washington, …

PICTURE BOOK The Beach at Night by Elena Ferrante; translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein; illustrations by Mara Cerri; Europa editions; 40 pages, $13. ... Anyone familiar with the legendary Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet (beginning with “My Brilliant Friend”) will not be surprised to discover her illustrated fable, “The Beach at Night,” to be an …

By Gail Fischer Married straight down to her widow’s misery, it was one of those days when she couldn’t go on. So, we were taken out tobogganing by the neighbors, for some fun, to the Chestnut Ridge Park full of whole families’ gaiety under blindingly blue winter sun. One time I went downhill alone on a sled going so fast, and everybody started yelling, …

Books

"I wish I could have had this anthology when I was considering moving to Buffalo in 2007," writes Jody K. Biehl. There was nothing quite like it, she discovered. So she put one together herself. And "Right Here, Right Now" is absolutely one of the best books about Buffalo ever created -- a genuinely essential book to be put on the same shelf as Lauren Belfer's "City of …

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Author Margaret Creighton spent her childhood years in Western New York, growing up in Hamburg and moving to Buffalo at age 16. Creighton went on to graduate from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in English, get a master's in journalism at Boston University and and continue on to earn a Ph.D in American Studies. She has been  back in Buffalo over the years t…

PICTURE BOOK Du Iz Tak? Carson Ellis; Candlewick Press, $16.99. ... Author/illustrator Carson Ellis (creator of “Home” and collaborator with her husband, Colin Meloy, on the Wildwood series) offers a beguilingly strange picture book, written in an invented language, of two damselflies marveling at a tiny shoot on the forest floor. (“Du Iz Tak?” “Ma nazoot.…

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NONFICTION Hitler: Ascent, 1889 - 1939 By Volker Ullrich Knopf 998 pages, $40 The lie of the Adolf Hitler myth was born more than 90 years ago in the Alpine region south of Munich. From there, it grew from a laughable little nasty lie into a monstrous world-altering lie of gigantic proportions. Even with Hitler’s suicide in a Berlin bunker in the face o…

"The Best of the Harvard Lampoon; 140 Years of American Humor" with an Introduction by Simon Rich, Touchstone, 254 pages, $26. The BEST of the Harvard Lampoon? Really? I think not. The book is certainly representative and and fascinating and chronological but this doesn’t have the ruthlessly “elitist” earmarks of a “Best” of anything but rather a protective…

Books

FICTION Moonglow By Michael Chabon Harper $28.99 448 pages The premise of “Moonglow” is that Michael Chabon – winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, darling of American letters – has gone to his grandfather in his declining days, plying him with soup and narcotic painkillers (warranted as palliative; he is dying of cancer), warming him and opening him en…