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  • Herbie Hancock's memoir recalls a creative life and all that jazz
    Herbie Hancock's memoir recalls a creative life and all that jazz

    Herbie Hancock has had the kind of career that's unlikely to ever be duplicated. Appearing on landmark recordings with Miles Davis as well as his own band in the 1960s, Hancock memorably scaled to even greater fame while fusing jazz and funk with the Headhunters in the '70s and becoming the...

  • Ha Jin roves U.S. and China, charting 'A Map of Betrayal'
    Ha Jin roves U.S. and China, charting 'A Map of Betrayal'

    With a National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkners and a Pulitzer nomination under his belt, Ha Jin is one of America's most decorated living novelists. He's made a name for himself writing beautiful stories centered in China, where he was born and raised. Jin didn't start writing in English until...

  • Lydia Millet finds mermaids in her new novel
    Lydia Millet finds mermaids in her new novel

    Lydia Millet's new novel, "Mermaids in Paradise" (W.W. Norton: 290 pp., $25.95), operates on a variety of levels, from parody to romance to (in its own way) oddball thriller, tracing a couple on their honeymoon who get embroiled in high-stakes drama after they discover actual mermaids...

  • Michael Connelly sends Harry Bosch into 'The Burning Room'
    Michael Connelly sends Harry Bosch into 'The Burning Room'

    Twenty-two years ago, Michael Connelly introduced the world to Harry Bosch, a determined cop with a haunted past and a heart of gold. Bosch was an old soul at the start of "Black Echo," a homicide detective in his early 40s with an infamous, colorful career and two tours in Vietnam to boot....

  • A gripping 'One Million Steps' examines Marines in Afghanistan
    A gripping 'One Million Steps' examines Marines in Afghanistan

    In the preface to "One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War," Bing West announces that "this is my sixth and final book about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." If so, West has clearly left the best for last: a gripping, boot-level account of Marines in Afghanistan during the bloody...

  • George Clinton's funk chronicle, 'Brothas Be, Yo Like George'
    George Clinton's funk chronicle, 'Brothas Be, Yo Like George'

    George Clinton's memoir features aliens, spaceships, George W. Bush, grown men wearing diapers and platform shoes, and a wealth of stories about some of the seminal music Clinton and his collaborators in the Parliament-Funkadelic collective have made during the past 30 years. It also features...

  • 'Elsa Schiaparelli': Fashion designer too elusive for words
    'Elsa Schiaparelli': Fashion designer too elusive for words

    Among the many remarkable aspects of designer Elsa Schiaparelli's remarkable life — she became a world-famous couturier without knowing how to sew, collaborated on sartorial projects with Surrealists like Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, raised her daughter alone at a time when this was...

  • A black teen is shot in Kekla Magoon's 'How It Went Down'
    A black teen is shot in Kekla Magoon's 'How It Went Down'

    Kekla Magoon's riveting postmortem account of a tragic shooting is as familiar a scenario in contemporary urban YA fiction as it has been in recent national headlines. "How It Went Down" opens seconds after a white bystander, Jack Franklin, guns down African American teen Tariq Johnson after...

  • 'The Hilltop' views everyday absurdism in occupied territories
    'The Hilltop' views everyday absurdism in occupied territories

    Assaf Gavron's 2010 novel "Almost Dead" does something I would have thought impossible — it makes satire out of terrorism. The story of a man who becomes an Israeli national hero after surviving three attacks in a single week, the book offers a sharply ironic look at the intersection of...

  • Amy Poehler memoir 'Yes Please' is smart, funny, a little messy
    Amy Poehler memoir 'Yes Please' is smart, funny, a little messy

    Amy Poehler has written a book. Called "Yes Please," it is, as Poehler fans might expect, funny, wise, earnest, honest, spiritually ambitious, occasionally self-indulgent and structurally messy.

  • The unconventional family that gave birth to Wonder Woman
    The unconventional family that gave birth to Wonder Woman

    Now nearly 73, Wonder Woman has become a relatively uncontroversial cultural icon in her old age, for sale on countless lunch boxes, T-shirts and collectible toys — even gracing the big screen in her very own motion picture slated for 2017. In "The Secret History of Wonder Woman,"...

  • Fuminori Nakamura's 'Last Winter, We Parted' blurs reality, invention
    Fuminori Nakamura's 'Last Winter, We Parted' blurs reality, invention

    "Last Winter, We Parted," the third novel by Japan's Fuminori Nakamura to appear in English, is crime fiction that pushes past the bounds of genre, occupying its own nightmare realm.

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