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This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz; Riverhead, 213 pages ($26.95). At the risk of being peremptory and downright presumptuous, get this. If you care even a whit about the vitality of current American literature, that is. Junot Diaz has not exactly maintained a Joyce Carol Oates schedule in his output. His much-hosannaed short story collection "Drown" was published in 1…

Telegraph Avenue By Michael Chabon Harper 480 pages, $27.99 By Emily Simon NEWS BOOK REVIEWER "Jews and Blacks" was the name of a 1996 collaboration between Cornell West and Michael Lerner, examining the complex attractions and tensions that link the two cultures. It may also have been an alternate name for Michael Chabon's "Telegraph Avenue," which is in large part a pa…

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan Farrar, Straus and Giroux 304 pages, $25 By Ed Taylor NEWS BOOK REVIEWER Too late for beach season, but available for the beach season of the mind, arrives "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore," the center of a charming fictive contemporary world that's a combination of the real, the virtual, and the imagined that manages to m…

Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy By Paul Thomas Murphy Pegasus Books 668 pages, $35 By Edward Cuddihy NEWS BOOK REVIEWER Shooting Victoria? What kind of a title is that for a history? Why would anyone take a potshot at the venerable (and vulnerable) mother of the British Empire, grandmother to half the royalty in Europe, that fr…

The End of Men And the Rise of Women By Hanna Rosin Riverhead Books 310 pages; $27.95 By Melinda Miller News Book Reviewer The apocalyptic title of Hanna Rosin's new book is guaranteed to get attention, as it did when the magazine piece that inspired the book, also titled "The End of Men," appeared in The Atlantic in summer 2010. But it is not to be taken too literally. T…

Miles DiPaola Jr. is known as Bear Skin Rug when he works as a disc jockey at Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar in Allentown. He figures he has about 30,000 songs in his computerized sound library, though what he really likes to play is electronic dance music. At age 25, DiPaola has been a DJ for three years. His goal every night he plays is to fill the dance floor - whether he's …

Struggling to pay for your prescription medication? You're far from alone: Studies show roughly a quarter of patients don't take medicines they need because they cannot afford them. There are plenty of ways to save big on medicines, but the complexity of finding the best deal can be a huge headache. Along with patient assistance programs, there are countless coupons, and d…

The kids are back at school, and you can almost see the dust settling as the whirlwind of summer activities is replaced by peace and quiet.You can also see the fingerprints, the smudges, the stains in the carpet.Rather than filling your house with the smell of chemical detergents - and paying a fortune for them - why not try some all-natural alternatives that have withstoo…

Dear Car Coach: The headlights of my 1999 and 2004 Taurus are cloudy due to oxidation. I've used the Meguirer's system, but it has to be redone every few months. Are there other systems that work for a longer period of time? - B.B., Hamburg Dear B.B.: Hazy headlights can limit your visibility at night, look horrible and can lower your resale value. You can repair the he…

When I was 15 years old and my brother was 13, our parents sat us down and told us that we might be leaving Germany within a year. Our papers were in order and the entire family - Mom, Dad, my brother Wolfgang, my little sisters Angelika, 5, and Karola, less than 2 years old - would be traveling to Hamburg, Germany, 50 miles from where we lived, to see the American consula…

Q: I've been on many dates with a genuinely good man who doesn't have a car. He has a driver's license, but he firmly believes that walking, biking, or taking the bus is better for his health and the environment. I've had to drive myself to every one of the dates, and while I don't mind driving so far, I'm afraid this will get old quickly. What if he expects me to do all …

Tahmina Rehman is used to thinking in terms of basic comforts. Food. Friendship. And conversation. Such age-old comforts can bring people together in the worst of times, she believes. And four years ago, she saw conversation as a way to ease the tensions that came from a shocking tragedy. In 2009, 37-year-old Aasiya Hassan of Orchard Park was stabbed and decapitated by he…

Even though we have weeks more time in the garden - with wonderful September weather and kids-free time for some - the passing of Labor Day has a benchmark feeling. So let's not resist; let's ask ourselves what could have gone better, what has satisfied us and what has not, and what we might do now to make 2013 a better year in our gardens and landscapes.Heat, freezes, dro…

It seems as if everyone I've been talking to since Labor Day weekend has been 1) shopping for fall clothes, 2) shuffling around clothes in their closets, or 3) laundering at least some of their summer staples one final time for the season. Even though this week has been hot and humid, a change of wardrobe is in the works - even if it's too soon to pull on a wool jacket and…

NEW YORK - Fashion insiders pride themselves on being ahead of their time, and, with the start of New York Fashion Week on Thursday, they began previewing the outfits that will land in stores and in magazines for the spring season. More than 100 previews are on the calendar here for retailers, editors and stylists over the next seven days, before this crowd heads for Londo…