OTHER LIVES: Big-name authors dominate the fall lineup, which is usually marked by the arrival of buzzy literary offerings from sparkling fictional narratives to juicy celebrity memoirs to sobering nonfiction. Leading the pack this season is our very own Harry Belafonte, whose memoir, My Song (due Oct. 11, via Knopf) traces his Jamaican roots and his rise from the poverty-ridden streets of Harlem to becoming one of the world’s greatest living entertainment icons. Among the season’s other notable upcoming releases: Stephen King’s sci-fi-esque 11/22/63 (Scribner, Nov. 8), where the bestselling author reimagines the events surrounding the Kennedy Assassination; and Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking) returns with Blue Notes (Knopf, Nov. 1), another frank sample of the family-oriented journey she is making.
EASY LISTENING: Norah Jones earned instant stardom – and a slew of Grammys – with the critically acclaimed debut collection, Come Away With Me, featuring songs steeped in love and longing. Though released in 2002, one never tires of gems like “Don’t Know Why,” “Lonestar” and the lingering title track.
WOMAN OF HER WORD: Widely regarded as one of Jamaica’s all-time finest literary exports, the Canada-based Lorna Goodison gathered some of her wittiest, most memorable poems for 2006’s Goldengrove: New and Selected Poems, a comprehensive career retrospective that highlights a legacy of Jamaican, European and American culture with compassion, humour and warmth. Personal faves include “The Cruel Room,” which takes us inside “Annie Palmer’s renovated mansion” at Rose Hall, and “Petition to the Magdalen,” where the poetess recalls the Biblical temptress.
DYNAMIC DUO: Pop phenoms Nicki Minaj and Rihanna join forces on the soaring “Fly,” off Minaj’s platinum-selling debut Pink Friday. Addressing adversity and rising above naysayers, the iPod-perfect single allows both artistes to shine without dimming their individual wattage.