Books - The Buffalo News

Share this article

Books

print logo

NONFICTION Gene Smith’s Sink: A Wide-Angle View By Sam Stephenson Farrar, Straus and Giroux 218 pp, $26 Perhaps the reader will remember the tender image of two children walking toward the crest of a hillock, into the light, framed in an oculus of branches, the children seen in silhouette. It is the closing image in Edward Steichen’s globally distributed boo…

Gusto

“You Can’t Spell America Without Me: A So-Called Parody by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Anderson, Penguin Press, 246 pages, $29; “The Trump Leaks” from The Onion, Harper Design, Unpaginated, $35; “The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics” by Maureen Dowd, Twelve, 483 pages, $18.99 paper. Among the countless things that distinguish humor professional…

POETRY I'm Just No Good at Rhyming And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-ups by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith; Little, Brown, 221 pages ($19.99) Ages 6 and up .... Chris Harris, writer and producer of "How I Met Your Mother," proves himself a worthy heir to the late, great Shel Silverstein ("Where the Sidewalk Ends") with this marvelous an…

NONFICTION Hell is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement Edited by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway and Sarah Shroud The New Press 226 pages, $17.95 Solitary confinement was the only thing they didn’t show me when I taught at Attica Correctional Facility. A no-nonsense sergeant told me how easy it would be to end up a prisoner if I didn’t play by …

Gusto

BIOGRAPHY Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux 448 pages, $28 Rock biographies tend to be monomyths: tales of a hero’s journey. We meet our protagonist at the humble beginning – he’s a special kid in difficult circumstances. He heeds the call to adventure, escapes his town full of los…

Gusto

BIOGRAPHY Leonardo da Vinci By Walter Isaacson Simon &  Schuster 572 pages, $35 Biographer Walter Isaacson has a thing for genius. He has chronicled the lives of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs and Henry Kissinger. In this latest work he tackles Leonardo da Vinci, grandaddy of all polymaths, archetypical Renaissance Man and arguably, histo…

Local News

"Wearing the Letter P," a book about Polish women who were forced into labor in Germany from 1939 to 1945, will be the topic of a lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Canisius College. Author Sophie Hodorowicz Knab wrote the book to keep a promise with her mother, who was a slave laborer during the war. German soldiers forced approximately 12 million people from alm…

Books

“Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies” by Dick Gregory Amistad, 236 pages, $24.99 When Dick Gregory died Aug. 19 at the age of 84, he was still almost a month away from publication of this book. Had he lived and been vigorous enough to flog the book everywhere possible on the book hype tour, there is no question in my mind that this book would …

Gusto

FICTION "A Legacy of Spies" By John Le Carré Viking 264 pages, $28 Spying is an old game the Good Book tells us. “God said to Moses, Choose twelve men, one from each of the tribes of Israel, and send them to spy on the land of Canaan.” John Le Carré’s latest spy novel, “A Legacy Of Spies,” is a book whose title is chosen carefully. John Banville, the wond…

Gusto

FICTION The Ninth Hour By Alice McDermott Farrar, Straus and Giroux 247 pages, $26 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  (Matthew 27:46) Alice McDermott reaches deep into the well of human experience once again in her superlative  “The Ninth…

Gusto

FICTION Origin By Dan Brown Doubleday 456 pages. $29.95 Exploring the competitive tensions between religion and science, Dan Brown’s “Origin” is a mystery that will appeal to readers looking for thoughtfulness and thrills. Brown tells the tale of Edmond Kirsch, a brash computer scientist and atheist activist who thinks his recent discovery about humanity’s o…

Gusto

Terry Tempest Williams is an acclaimed writer and advocate for conserving public lands. Her most recent book, "The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks," offers a collection of essays on the value of national parks, the regenerative power they offer and the need to fight for their preservation against private interests. Williams will be spe…

MEMOIR An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, And An Epic” By Daniel Mendelsohn Knopf 306 pages, $26.95 “An Odyssey” is, all at once, a beautiful personal narrative and literary interpretation by Daniel Mendelsohn, a classicist at Bard College. It has a retrospective father-son theme, using the literary device of Homer’s  "Odyssey" as its mirror image. Mendelsohn’s fa…

Gusto

“Funeral Platter” by Greg Ames, Arcade, 244 pages, $24.99 Titling is an art all by itself--especially in postmodern fiction where a title’s vector can be straight ahead or at a sharp ironic turn from the story. A book of short stories called “Funeral Platter” goes only part way into telling you just how unbuttoned Greg Ames’ literary sensibility can be. You need to get …

Gusto

The middle finger of the Swedish academics remains metaphorically raised to contemporary American literature. That is one inescapable conclusion from Thursday's announcement that the Nobel Prize for Literature went to Kazuo Ishiguro, the ultra-English novelist whose family arrived in England from Japan when he was five. It isn't that Ishiguro isn't a worthy writer. H…