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The latest offering from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Underground Railroad” is the playful tale of a heist, set at a Harlem hotel in the early 1960s. Penguin Random House, Sept. 14

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Looking modern without seeming goofy, the Nissan Kicks handsomely wears the latest in Nissan tailoring. Performance is peppier than you’d expect, although it comes only with front-wheel drive. The cabin is roomy, the seats are high, and cargo space is a generous 25.3 cubic feet. You’ll get a kick out of it.

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— “John Was Trying to Contact Aliens”: Matthew Killip's 16-minute short, premiering Friday on Netflix, won the jury award for short non-fiction film at the Sundance Film Festival, and it's about as charming as a little movie can be. It's about a man in northern Michigan named John Shepherd who became obsessed with contacting extraterrestrial life. From his youth living with his parents and onward, he fills his home with all manner of computing and radar gear. Mostly he plays DJ, beaming out music — Kraftwerk, Art Blakey, Harmonium — to the cosmos. The twist is that “John Was Trying to Contact Aliens” is about finding love here on Earth. See it if for its tenderness and top-notch beards.

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All of Phaedra Patrick's books give me the warm fuzzies, and her latest is no different. This novel is literally about finding joy with a book. Martha has spent her life caring for others, sacrificing her own happiness in the process, until a mysterious book from her supposedly dead grandmother appears. She has to follow the clues. Charming and satisfying, you'll be cheering on Martha's journey to set her life back on track.

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