Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World that Made Him (Algonquin, Nov.), David and Joe Henry’s biography of the comedian and actor, is one of the best books I’ve read this year. The authors have superbly presented Pryor’s genius, fears, insecurities, and—let’s be frank—madness, while presenting his story against the backdrop of the history of black comedy in America. Without Pryor, there wouldn’t be a Dave Chappelle, to take just one example. Pryor forever changed the comedy world through the stories he told and the humor he created out of practically nothing, making us laugh and cry at the same time, until Parkinson’s trapped him in a body he could no longer control. I read Furious Cool in one sitting and immediately created a Richard Pryor station on Pandora Internet Radio. Needless to say, I can listen only before the store opens, but that’s okay: there’s still plenty of time for me to laugh until I cry.