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MEMOIR Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat By Patricia Williams, with Jeannine Amber; Dey St./HarperCollins, 240 pages, $25.99 “Comedy and selling drugs have a lot in common. You need to be quick, work hard, and give people what they want.” -- Patricia Williams, aka “Ms. Pat” “Hustle and humor” were once all Patricia Williams knew – and, when sh…

"Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies" by Hadley Freeman, Simon and Schuster, 339 pages, $16 paperback original. Let’s start with “Steel Magnolias.” What is widely known now as as the Bechdel Movie Test for well-represented women in movies, came from cartoonist Allison Bechdel whose formulation was: A movie “has to have at least tw…

MEMOIR Cravings: How I Conquered Food By Judy Collins Doubleday 254 pages, $26 I met Judy Collins a few months ago when she visited Buffalo to promote her new PBS special. Everyone present was astonished at how gorgeous, ageless and ethereal she looked at age 77. In spite of all of her talents and accomplishments, her awards and her amazing life, “Cravi…

NONFICTION “Among The Ruins: The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Catholic Church” By Paul L. Williams Prometheus Books 338 pages, $24 Paul L. Williams, the author of “Among The Ruins,” stands amid what he considers the rubble of the Roman Catholic Church, precipitated by changes instituted by Vatican II. He claims on an earlier talk show, for example, …

Sometimes fame comes when you least expect it. It happened to poet Maggie Smith after "Good Bones" was published online in June 2016, the same week as a deadly nightclub shooting in Orlando and the assassination of an anti-Brexit leader in London. Smith's 17 lines of poetry on the beauty and ugliness of the world, and how to protect children from the worst of it, tou…

YOUNG ADULT In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody; Farrar Straus Giroux, 449 pages ($17.99) Ages 12 and up.  ... What if? What if you had a do-over of a decision you've lived to regret? Or at least a chance to see what might have been if you'd chosen a different course? Jessica Brody has crafted a clever, funny, hugely entertaining novel which plays with that very idea. …

“Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination” by Brent Hayes Edwards, Harvard University Press, 336 pages, $35. Brent Hayes Edwards is a literary scholar and Columbia University English Professor. His publisher here in this remarkable book is one of the most notable of all Academic Presses. It is, then, no surprise to find passing clumps of post-structural jargo…

FICTION All the Dirty Parts By Daniel Handler Bloomsbury 144 pages, $22 Well, actually not all the dirty parts available via online pornography are here, but enough likely to be used by relatively naive high school boys keep the action moving. And yes, the author's real name is Handler, so giggle if you must. Even more ironic, Daniel Handler also has…

HISTORY The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin’s House By Daniel Mark Epstein Ballantine Books 438 pages, $30 The story line of “The Loyal Son” contains all the trappings of a Shakespearean tragedy. It has warring kings, noblemen in the House of Lords scheming over fabulous riches, a revolution on one side of the Atlantic, and a fragile peace betwee…

CHILDREN'S Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh; HarperCollins, 288 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... Twelve-year-old Harper Raine has moved in the middle of the summer with her parents, her older sister Kelly and four-year-old brother Michael from New York City to Washington, D.C., into a spooky old house with "gothic charm" that is rumored to be haunted. Harper has a bad feeli…

NONFICTION The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’4'' African American, Hetereosexual, Cisgender, Left Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian By Kamau Bell Dutton Press 352 pages, $28.00 “Awkward” has a negative connotation as something to be avoided. But W. Kamau Bell believes that “all re…

I knew little about brotherly love, growing up with a sister and raising four girls. I see that penchant beginning to manifest itself as my grandsons hug. Perhaps that leans more toward choking or wrestling, but the affection is there. I also observed that love between my husband, Doug, and his six brothers. Three of those brothers were stepbrothers, but I never witness…

FICTION Men Without Women, Stories By Haruki Murakami Translated by Ted Goossen and Philip Gabriel Knopf 228 pages, $25.95 The Japanese philosopher, author and translator D. T. Suzuki toured American universities in the 1950s and gave us the gift of Zen. Haruki Murakami came to America in 1984 to see what we had done with Suzuki’s gift. Not much it t…

“Young Radicals: In The War For American Ideals” by Jeremy McCarter, Random House, 368 pages, $30. Jeremy McCarter’s introduction couldn’t possibly be addressed more pointedly to so many of us firmly ensconced in the political chaos of 2017. His book, he says, is “about what happens when the world, which had seemed to be spinning rapidly in the direction of pe…

YOUNG ADULT No Good Deed by Kara Connolly; Delacorte Press, 352 pages ($17.99) Ages 14 and up. ... This marvelous time-traveling adventure offers a clever girl-power take on the Robin Hood legend and is swashbuckling good fun, but it's debut author Kara Connolly's attention to historical detail that makes it such a terrific read. Eleanor "Ellie" Hudson is grieving the…