First published in 1989, this magical volume of stories, several of which are narrated from a child's perspective, chronicles life in towns and villages across Jamaica. As ever, Senior moves with relative ease between the past and present, conveying the disillusionment of characters that tend to feature prominently in her writing. In short, these are seven Jamaican tales ("The Tenantry of Birds", "Tears of the Sea") mired in wistfulness, wit and wisdom.
>> LET'S JAM: The Roots' How I Got Over
The venerable hip-hop band's first effort since joining NBC's late-night lineup delivers all the funk/soul/jazz vibes fans have come to expect. What's more, the album (spawning such hits as "Right On" and "Dear God 2.0") features their successful debut foray into the word of indie rock.
>> QUEEN OF COMEDY: Joan Rivers' A Piece of Work
She's well-known for her biting red-carpet commentary, but in this vivid R-rated documentary, vibrant new light is shed on Rivers' lifelong commitment to comedy and just how she managed to blaze a trail for today's generation of stand-up comics.
>> WORLD BEAT: Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project
The Grammy-winning jazz-piano maestro joins forces with an international roster of guest collaborators to cover such spirited anthems as "A Change is Gonna Come" and "Imagine." Though the tracks don't all score a home run, more often than not Hancock hits the spot. Best of all, his interpretation of Bob Marley's "Exodus" (featuring Somalia's K'Naan and Los Lobos), which takes you on a global odyssey.
AUTHOR, AUTHOR: Christopher Hitchens' Hitch 22
"Electric and electrifying" is how the New York Times aptly describes the late British-American journalist and essayist's internationally praised memoir, in which he presents (in trademark wit and keen observations) the candid personal history of a complicated man, stalwartly bohemian and rigorously intellectual. Hitch, who died a couple of years ago from lung cancer, had quite a life. And Hitch 22 entertainingly opens a window into its most private dimensions with prose that's as robust and cunning as it gets. Hitch will make you a believer.