Recent Stories: Books

December 1, 2016
Why and how does someone come to embrace a compulsive myth and commit totally to a humanitarian cause for achieving worldwide perpetual perfection?

“True Believer”
Kati Marton
Simon & Schuster, $27

Why and how does someone come to embrace a compulsive myth and commit totally to a humanitarian cause for achieving worldwide perpetual perfection? Answering this problem requires an understanding of the subject’s historical context. 

Sheridan Sansegundo
November 23, 2016
The story of a daughter who's unlucky in love, her search for her deadbeat dad, and the solace he finds in a dollhouse.

“Feminine Products”
Rita Plush
Penumbra Publishing, $11.99

You are in the bookstore and your eye falls idly on the cover of a new book. It is called “Feminine Products,” and the cover shows a wispy female form covered in little flowers, like a Tampax ad. Does it inspire you to grab it? Hell, no! 

November 17, 2016
If you think Jews as boxers sounds like a contradiction in terms, or a comical misprint, or perhaps a racist joke, you need to meet Max Baer and Barney Ross.

“Max Baer and 
Barney Ross”

Jeffrey Sussman
Rowman & Littlefield, $36

November 17, 2016
By Bruce Buschel

I first heard it when a friend
sat me down and said, “You don’t
even need a joint.”

After listening to Side One
I asked if Side Two was just
as good.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Side One
goes so high, I never got to the
other side of the mountain.”

November 10, 2016
Keats observes the last World Series game of the year.

(Keats Observes the Last World Series Game of the Year)

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

November 10, 2016
I'm grateful for novels that not only incorporate the World War I era, but bring it to life on an intimate scale: history writ small. That's what Helen Simonson has done masterfully in "The Summer Before the War."

“The Summer  
Before the War”

November 3, 2016
James D. Zirin blames personal ideologies among the justices, identity politics, and rank partisanship for a compromised Supreme Court.

“Supremely Partisan”
James D. Zirin
Rowman & Littlefield, $28

Baylis Greene
October 27, 2016
Readings with a Halloween theme, and an editor talks about the publishing business.

So How Beleaguered Is It?

October 27, 2016
By Carol Sherman

With bright eyes
we look out from photos;
beautiful and strong
beloved mother, sister,
wife, friend.

Why do you cry? 
Were we really here?
You remember our warm breast
our soft lips.

October 27, 2016
Erica Abeel’s “Wild Girls” follows three friends who meet at Foxleigh — an amalgam of Barnard and Smith — as they negotiate the changing landscape of a woman’s place in America from the 1950s through the early 2000s.

“Wild Girls”
Erica Abeel
Texas Review Press, $24.95

October 20, 2016
Lawrence Goldstone has come down to earth. Following his 2014 book, “Birdmen,” a history of early aviation, he has now presented us with “Drive! Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age.”

“Drive!”
Lawrence Goldstone
Ballantine, $28

Joanne Pilgrim
October 20, 2016
Joe Dolce is not a stoner. The author of “Brave New Weed: Adventures Into the Uncharted World of Cannabis,” he makes a point of that, but also has no hesitance in “piercing the veil” and talking from a user’s as well as a researcher’s point of view about pot.

Joe Dolce is not a stoner. The author of “Brave New Weed: Adventures Into the Uncharted World of Cannabis,” he makes a point of that, but also has no hesitance in “piercing the veil” and talking from a user’s as well as a researcher’s point of view about pot.

Baylis Greene
October 13, 2016
New children’s books explore a West African girl's dreams of a time she won't have to tote water from a far-off well, lessons in gratitude at school, the adventures of a destructive dog, and a Christmas tree that avoids the ax to live another day.

Look what wonders a change of scenery can bring. For her latest children’s book, Susan Verde of East Hampton has left behind art museums, yoga, leisurely bicycle rides, budding friendship among felines, and every other conceivable bourgeois nicety for the desert sands and dirt-floor huts of West Africa.

Star Staff
October 6, 2016
Janet Lee Berg's first novel involves a father in Nazi-occupied Holland who trades a painting by Rembrandt for his daughter’s safety and that of 25 other Jews.

“Rembrandt’s Shadow” by Janet Lee Berg tells the story of Sylvie Rosenberg, a teenage daughter of a successful but emotionally distant art dealer in Holland in the 1930s. When the Nazis occupy the country, her father trades a painting by Rembrandt for his daughter’s safety and that of 25 other Jews.

October 6, 2016
A mother-son writing duo? Possible treacle alert. A teenager who started his own school? Back-patting danger. But this book? No need for alarm, it's thought-provoking, even moving.

“A School of Our Own”
Samuel Levin and Susan Engel
The New Press, $25.95

September 29, 2016
A thriller is supposed to thrill and this one does, but not with the usual car chases or shootouts or otherworldly phenomena, instead with masterful plotting, tight prose, and assured psychological insight.

“Under the Harrow”
Flynn Berry
Penguin Books, $16

Star Staff
September 29, 2016
From Robert Caro's achievement award to "Ghost Hampton" readings

Achievement Award for Caro

Star Staff
September 29, 2016
It’s that time again. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, the kids are back in school. And readings have returned in earnest to the college.

It’s that time again. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, the kids are back in school. And readings have returned in earnest to the college.

Baylis Greene
September 22, 2016
A high tea north of the highway in Sagaponack will feature the poetry of the recently departed as read by other poets to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation.

A high tea in woodsy Sagaponack north of the highway on the property of a sculptor of some note might be enough of a draw.

Baylis Greene
September 22, 2016
Harry Hurt III will sign copies of his newly re-released "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump" on Saturday in Sag Harbor.

Over the summer The New York Times ran a piece about a rush by publishers to reissue books about Donald Trump, given his ascendancy to the Republican nomination for president. When it came to Harry Hurt III’s 1993 “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump,” however, the original publisher, Norton, would have none of it.

Kurt Wenzel
September 22, 2016
Colson Whitehead is too smart a writer to make "The Underground Railroad" simply another litany of white atrocities and triumphant freedom; he finds a new way to tell the story.

"The Underground Railroad"
Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, $26.95

Baylis Greene
September 13, 2016
There may be a murder at the heart of Ray Merritt’s first novel, “Clamour of Crows,” but what’s really of interest is the author’s exploration of the culture of a Wall Street law firm.

“Clamour of Crows”
Ray Merritt
Permanent Press, $29.95

September 8, 2016
Listening to the Bernie Sanders supporters, I heard Buffalo Springfield's refrain in my head, "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."

“From Silk to Silicon”
Jeffrey E. Garten
HarperCollins, $29.99

September 1, 2016
A new poem by Kathy Engel

Lola the aging Chesapeake 
retriever turns to a pup again 
jumping in circles when I say 
beach so I often spell it if not 
intending to actually go there 
(with her). Now at 6 a.m. we 
are going and she knows it! 
I spread the synthetic red