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What to read this week: New books by Gary Giddins, Hiro Arikawa and Ron Howell

"Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star" by Garry Giddins (Little, Brown; November 2018) Photo Credit: Little, Brown

BING CROSBY: SWINGING ON A STAR — The War Years, 1940-1946, by Gary Giddins. In 2001, the first volume of this Bing Crosby biography established "Der Bingle" as a groundbreaking artist of recording and broadcasting. It's been a long wait for Book 2, and now comes the prime of Crosby's career, including "White Christmas" and the "Road" movies with Bob Hope. (Little, Brown; $40)

THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES, by Hiro Arikawa. Yes, this diminutive novel — a bestseller in Japan now translated into English by Philip Gabriel — has a feline narrator, a stray adopted by a good-hearted human who, after five years, must find Nana a new home. Dogs may reign in literature, but cat lovers and Japanophiles alike will cherish this simple tale. (Berkley, $20)

BOSS OF BLACK BROOKLYN: The Life and Times of Bertram L. Baker, by Ron Howell. Born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Betram Baker came to the U.S. at 17 and was the first black politician elected to the New York Assembly, representing Brookln's Bed-Stuy. The author is his grandson, a veteran journalist at Newsday and other publications. (Fordham University Press, $29.95)

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