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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Mike Katz and Crispin Kott want to take you on a trip through Bay Area music history. If you’re game, all you have to do is pick up a copy of “Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area,” their cool new book detailing where Jerry Garcia, Grace Slick, Tupac Shakur and other music stars lived, walked and worked in the region. It also covers a number of ...

I'm not sure there is any experience more poignant than caring for an elderly pet in its final months; I'm not sure there's any creature on Earth sweeter than an old dog. Jenna Blum captures the sorrow and joy, the sweetness and grief in "Woodrow on the Bench" (Harper, $22.99), her memoir of caring for her old black Lab during his final months. We first meet Woodrow when he's 15 — quite old ...

A powerful, emotionally rich novel about 10 individuals affected by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. "What Storm, What Thunder" by Myriam J. A. Chancy; Tin House (320 pages, $27.95) ——— On Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake, one that killed between 250,000 and 300,000 people and left more than a million homeless. Haitian-Canadian-American author Myriam J.A. Chancy wanted ...

"Renegades: Born in the USA" by Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen; Crown (320 pages, $50) ——— In 2008, an unlikely friendship began to flourish between a rock 'n' roll legend and an American politician. Barack Obama was campaigning to become the first Black president of the United States, and he invited Bruce Springsteen to perform a concert at a rally in Ohio. "I had wonderful experiences ...

FICTION: Inanimate objects speak in this thought-provoking novel. "The Book of Form and Emptiness" by Ruth Ozeki; Viking (560 pages, $30) ——— Early in "The Book of Form and Emptiness," Ruth Ozeki's heady new novel, an off-course bird bangs into a classroom window: "THWACK!" The middle schoolers are stunned. One is particularly upset. Benny Oh approaches the glass. He whispers to it, then ...

CHICAGO — Sandra Cisneros, at 66, firmly ensconced on Chicago’s literary Mount Rushmore, hasn’t lived in Chicago in ages. Not since she made a young, bold splash. If that doesn’t make you feel old, consider: “The House on Mango Street,” her signature, so routinely assigned to students now it’s practically a middle-school textbook, marks its 40th anniversary in a few years. What had once read ...

FICTION: Joy Williams' grim, goofy meditation on the apocalypse. "Harrow" by Joy Williams; Alfred A. Knopf (224 pages, $26) ——— It's a good thing this is a short book, because if there were much more of its crazy brilliance, a reader's head might well explode. In "Harrow," Joy Williams, who has the sad distinction of being a writer's writer, but one of the best, has created a future world ...

Sen. Ed Markey, long overshadowed by his fellow Senator of Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren, has been making legislative waves since winning reelection in November. Local experts say his primary win against Joe Kennedy III has given the senator a new zeal. There are lots of comparisons between Ed Markey and the more famous Bernie Sanders. 

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