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East Aurora Garden Club will hold its annual picnic and auction at noon Aug. 14 in Elma Town Park (Shelter No. 1), 3011 Bowen Road, Elma. In case of rain, picnic will be at the St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Main and Maple streets, East Aurora. Park in rear. Call 980-3202 or 652-4985. Cheektowaga Garden Club will hold its club picnic at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in member Sally…

"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…

Boston, New York City and Portland, Ore., are often heralded for their community walkability. Batesville, Ark.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Albert Lea, Minn.? Not so much. But those three communities are among those that have signed on to the principles of America Walks, a national organization that advocates safety and community well-being when it comes to pedestria…

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…

It's "Jurassic Park." It's "Into the Woods." It's something you won't find anywhere else, that's for sure. The Griffis Sculpture Park, sprawled over about 400 acres between Ashford Hollow and East Otto, radiates weird dreaminess. Birds -- you think they're birds, anyway -- are ingeniously poised atop high sticks. You can see them from the road. You can also see a crowd …

Thousands of people visited the gardens of Western New York in July and early August, many from distant states and countries. This week 344 of the visitors were garden writers (or bloggers, photographers, teachers) coming from as far away as Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, California, Florida and Iowa. They cast their eyes upon the gardens, met the gardeners, dined and …

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. …

For Joe Collier, whose connections to Buffalo and the old American Football League go back more than 50 years, this particular loss involved far more than a game. Dick MacPherson died Tuesday in Syracuse, at 86. He earned his greatest fame as head coach at Syracuse University, where he breathed new life into a once-elite program that had fallen off the map. His 1987 Ora…

"An Inconvenient Truth," about former Vice President Al Gore's science-heavy slide show on global warming, was one of the most successful documentaries in box-office history when it came out in 2006. The film raised awareness of the global threat and is the 11th top-grossing documentary to date. The film, directed by Davis Guggenheim, won an Oscar for Best Documentary i…

The annual Unit 116 picnic will feature two sessions of bridge Sunday, Aug. 20, in Rescue Fire Hall, 1241 Strad Ave., North Tonawanda. Between the games at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., a Weidner’s chicken barbecue will be served. Deadline for tickets is Tuesday, Aug. 15. For more info, call Paul Zittel at 992-4794 or Tova Reinhorn at 994-1582. For more info, click this link. …

“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…

This weekend you may see six large motor coaches driving to the Southtowns, roaming the gardening neighborhoods of Buffalo, and visiting our parks and public gardens. The giant buses are filled with tourists we very much want: guests who will write about us, take pictures, post, blog and publish. It’s the garden writers from across the United States and Canada, who ha…