"There's a head sticking out of my best friend," marvels new dad Elisha Cooper in Crawling (Pantheon, $19.95), a memoir tender to the bone but also blunt. ... Sex in the City is secretly a "manifesto for a certain kind of raw, rough, promiscuous, anonymous gay male sex." The writings of Barbara Kingsolver, vastly overrated, wield all the moral impact of a plastic flower. In Falling Upwards (Basic, $25), cultural critic Lee Siegel stabs sacred cows. ... An incompetent surgeon who spent ten years paralyzing and killing patients, not on purpose exactly. A female NOPD officer slaughtering the staff at a Vietnamese restaurant. True gore and good journalism bespatter The Best American Crime Writing 2006 (Harper Perennial, $14.95). ... Acid trips and mental asylums, Prague's polyglots, celestial spawn in language as rich and layered as mille-feuille pastry, but funnier. If The Angel of Forgetfulness (Penguin, $15) is any clue, novelist Steve Stern should be tons more famous. ... Braving tornadoes; boiling liver-tongue-brain-kidney stew; putting live wasps in greenhorns' beds revisit the frontier with Richard Slatta's intelligent Cowboy: The Illustrated History (Sterling, $24.95).
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