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“Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk,” by Kathleen Rooney
In the 1930s, Lillian Boxfish took New York by storm, working her way up from writing copy for R.H. Macy to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. Now it’s the last night of 1984, and Lillian — 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever — is on her way to a party. It’s chilly enough out for her mink coat, and Manhattan is grittier now. Her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl, but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a 10-mile walk around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed–and has not. This love letter to city life paints a portrait of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is young.
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“Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie,” by Woody Woodmansey
In January 2016, the unexpected death of David Bowie rocked the globe. For millions of people, he was an icon celebrated for his music, his film and theatrical roles, and his trendsetting influence on fashion and gender norms. Drummer Woody Woodmansey is the last surviving member of Bowie’s band, The Spiders from Mars, which helped launch Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona and made him a sensation. This memoir reveals what it was like to be at the white-hot center of a star’s self-creation. With never-before-told stories and never-before-seen photographs, Woodmansey offers details of the album sessions that made Bowie a cult figure and recalls the wild tours, eccentric characters and rock ‘n’ roll excess that eventually drove the band apart.