Recent Stories: Books

Kurt Wenzel
November 16, 2017
Social observation, city atmosphere, and a highly sexual, white-collar hero: Colin Harrison is back with another New York noir.

“You Belong to Me”
Colin Harrison
Sarah Crichton Books, $27

If there is such a thing as “classic” Colin Harrison, the Brooklyn and Jamesport-based writer’s new novel, “You Belong to Me,” would certainly qualify. This, Mr. Harrison’s eighth novel, is yet another of his New York noirs that marry traditional crime fiction with elements of social observation. 

Jackie Pape
November 9, 2017
One essential aspect of the women’s suffrage movement — the role men played in helping sway history — has been largely overlooked. Not anymore.

“The Suffragents”
Brooke Kroeger
Excelsior Editions, $24.95

Although the 19th amendment, which gave women voting rights nationwide, is still less than 100 years old, this month marks the centennial of New York State’s granting women enfranchisement three years before the rest of the nation followed suit in 1920. 

Baylis Greene
November 2, 2017
Virginia Walker's empathy-themed poetry contest? We have the winners . . .

Reader, if you were paying close attention to the Aug. 3 issue, you may have seen a short notice like this one having to do with a poetry contest — empathy was the theme — raising money for the Lustgarten Foundation for pancreatic cancer research. 

Well, we have the winners: Stacey Lawrence of South Orange, N.J., Joanne Pilgrim of Springs and of The East Hampton Star, and the late Cecilia Crittenden of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, whose poem was submitted by friends. A poetry reading will be held in their honor on Nov. 18, a Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Onyx Theatre of the CM Performing Arts Center on Montauk Highway in Oakdale. Other participants’ poems will also be read. 

Judy D’Mello
November 2, 2017
Paul Moschetta's psychological thriller offers an insider’s knowledge of the abuse that exists in mental institutions.

“Do No Harm”
Paul Vincent Moschetta
Post Hill Press, $16

“You are susceptible to very high highs and very low lows,” says the psychiatrist to Andy Koops, the manic-depressive protagonist in “Do No Harm,” a debut novel by Paul Vincent Moschetta, a psychotherapist specializing in marriage therapy with offices in Manhattan and East Hampton. He and his wife, Evelyn Moschetta, have co-authored several books on marriage counseling and were contributing editors to the popular and long-running Ladies Home Journal magazine column “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” 

Star Staff
October 26, 2017
Sarah Maslin Nir's "Horse Crazy," and a Civil War-era "Because of the Horses"

Sarah Maslin Nir’s “Horse Crazy”

You might know Sarah Maslin Nir from her night-prowling articles in The New York Times. Or by way of her father, the late Yehuda Nir, a psychiatrist and author who lived part time in Springs. Or maybe from her stint as a writer for The Star, where she once even contributed to that fun but defunct freebie, The Daily Classic, which the paper used to put out during the week of the Hampton Classic horse show in Bridgehampton.

October 26, 2017
By Bernard Goldhirsch

The bus bores into the city
Of noises, rectagons
And life in death museums.

Getting to its pickup
Means a daydream drive
Through an Eastern woodlet:

Oak, pine, hickory
And shy dogwood trees,
Reclaiming their dead leaves.

The road is steeply banked,
Exalting the modest trees
And their rose windows.

I, too, am elevated
Passing through the glen’s
Green, quiet peace.

Then a Then, keener
Than this Now:
A school bus trip;

A yellow flying carpet
Sweeps my fourth grade class,
Mackinawed and lunch bagged,

Past stoops and bars,
Life insurers, pool halls,
Funeral homes and florists,

Baylis Greene
October 26, 2017
Susan Verde and Billy Baldwin look on the brighter side in two new picture books.

Can the descriptor “prolific” apply to an author who writes, in the latest example, a book with all of 238 words in it? 

Whatever the answer, Susan Verde of East Hampton is back with another children’s book that optimistically pushes back against the encroaching darkness — of geopolitics, on the domestic front, in the form of in-school and after-school pressures, and courtesy of the consciousless wizards of Silicon Valley who conjure gadgets and flickering applications increasingly difficult to pull eyes from.

Star Staff
October 19, 2017
Art-inspired writing at the Parrish, Grace Schulman on John Ashbery at Canio's

Art and Writing at the Parrish

Creative fiction is the goal of Jennifer Senft’s next writing class at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, where students will tread the halls in search of artistic inspiration. “Enjoy friendly conversation and feedback in a small group environment,” the museum website pipes in.

The instructor’s background? “She’s got more degrees than a thermometer,” as Dr. Phil would say — a bachelor’s in cinemas studies from New York University, a master’s in psychology, also from N.Y.U., and an M.F.A. in writing and literature from Southampton College. She teaches women’s studies, humanities, and English at Suffolk Community College.

Jennifer Landes
October 17, 2017
The visionary of the ages, captured by the man who made Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs relatable.

“Leonardo da Vinci”
Walter Isaacson
Simon & Schuster, $35


Unfinished, abandoned, fanciful, and failed are hardly the words we associate with genius in today’s results-oriented society. So it is a good thing that Leonardo da Vinci, a true Renaissance man, did not come of age in the 21st century. We would snicker at the thought of him, even as we partook of the modern iterations of his inventions or the things that became possible after adapting his ideas.

October 12, 2017
Justin Spring weaves the lives of his six literary and cultural subjects into a larger, lively narrative of how America was dragged from its culinary provincialism.

“The Gourmands’ Way”
Justin Spring
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30

In this era of the Food Network, local sushi and ramen bars, and international ingredients readily available at your neighborhood supermarket, it may be hard to fathom how provincial America’s relation to food once was. Just a century ago there was virtually no European or Asian influence on our nation’s menu. As Justin Spring argues in his new book, “The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy,” it took two world wars and a handful of Americans abroad to drag European cooking to this country. 

October 5, 2017
A picture of a kooky, crafty, ambitious, hilarious, insecure, sometimes spiteful, always entertaining Nora Ephron as she pursues her brilliant career as a novelist, essayist, script writer, and director.

“I’ll Have What
She’s Having”

Erin Carlson
Hachette, $27

Many years ago, when Nora Ephron and I were young and single, a mutual friend tried to fix us up by inviting both of us to a party. Unfortunately, she invited so many other people that Nora and I never connected. 

September 28, 2017
“Truth reveals itself . . . it’s really that simple.” Such is at the core of Alice McDermott’s extraordinary new novel, “The Ninth Hour,” about several nuns serving an early-20th-century Brooklyn neighborhood.

“The Ninth Hour”
Alice McDermott
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26

“Truth reveals itself . . . it’s really that simple.” These lines are the spine of Alice McDermott’s extraordinary new novel, “The Ninth Hour,” a work astonishing for how compellingly it tells the tales of several nuns who serve an early-20th-century Brooklyn neighborhood, and for how those nuns interact with those in their care, and the mistakes and corrections made by all of these people.

September 21, 2017
By Bruce Buschel, a writer, producer, director, and restaurateur who lives in Bridgehampton.

There is nothing lonelier looking
than a solitary ear of corn lying
on a kitchen counter all husked up
saying nothing yearning to have
its silk removed by excited 
fingers in the autumn dusk 

A tomato has that color and shine
plump with the promise of messiness 
a cucumber has that cool and feels 
no need to speak to you — not like a 
a root vegetable whose heroic soul 
has endured dirt dark and excavation

When far from the madding field 
kidnapped from the good farmer’s 
roadside stand tenement stack
600 kernels and 16 rows are not 
enough to give a singleton cob 
a sense of community

Baylis Greene
September 21, 2017
With the syndication of his "Sportlight" column, Grantland Rice became the most famous and highest-paid sportswriter in the country.

“Legendary Sports 
Writers of the
Golden Age”

Lee Congdon
Rowman & Littlefield, $35

Judy D’Mello
September 14, 2017
With its timely twist and the current sociopolitical climate, "The Nutcracker in Harlem" begs to be on the shelves now rather than later.

“The Nutcracker
in Harlem”

T.E. McMorrow
and James Ransome
HarperCollins, $17.99

It seems unfashionably early to be discussing holiday season fare. Either the marketing blitz for the festive period has begun earlier than ever or T.E. McMorrow has breathed new life into a children’s Christmas classic with such a timely twist that, in the current sociopolitical climate, it begs to be on the shelves now rather than later.

Baylis Greene
September 14, 2017
Barney Rosset reconsidered, and Martin London's life as a pugnacious lawyer.

Rosset, Considered and Reconsidered

Looking for more Rosset? There was the front-page obituary in The New York Times in 2012, but after a lull there followed in relatively speedy succession a posthumous autobiography, a collection of his decades of correspondence with his friend Samuel Beckett, and “Barney’s Wall,” a documentary film about a 12-by-15-foot collage and mural the publisher and part-time East Hamptoner put together toward the end of his life in his East Village apartment — each written about in these pages.

Baylis Greene
September 11, 2017
Writers Speak starts Wednesday, with the college's new hires, Amy Hempel and Cornelius Eady, reading from their work.

Get out your Kleenex, should Amy Hempel choose to read "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried," her most famous story, and justifiably one of the most anthologized of the last 30 years -- a meditation on friendship and loss that also touches on life in Los Angeles and even the regrettably familiar particulars of an extended hospital stay. To say nothing of one of the most moving "kickers," to borrow a term from journalism, in the American short-story tradition.

Baylis Greene
September 7, 2017
Poetry Pairs is back at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater on Sunday with readings by Stephen Dunn and Jill Bialosky.

After the hubbub of the season, here’s a sane respite, and it’s free: Poetry Pairs is back at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater on Sunday, with staged readings by Stephen Dunn, a winner of a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and Jill Bialosky, an editor at W.W. Norton, novelist, and author of a new memoir, “Poetry Will Save Your Life.” 

That book traces the comfort that poems by Ben Jonson, Emily Dickinson, and W.H. Auden, among many others — often offering insight into the experience of bereavement — have provided Ms. Bialosky throughout her life, from the premature death of her father to her sister’s suicide to two failed pregnancies. 

Christopher Walsh
September 7, 2017
In “Liner Notes,” Loudon Wainwright III weaves tales of a meandering career marked by deep ambivalence with candid admissions of personal shortcomings that closely tracked those of his father, the celebrated Life magazine writer.

“Liner Notes”
Loudon Wainwright III
Blue Rider Press, $27

The subtitle of the musician Loudon Wainwright III’s memoir, “Liner Notes,” leaves nothing to chance. A longtime visitor to East Hampton and sometime resident of Shelter Island, Mr. Wainwright’s memoir, published on Tuesday (his 71st birthday), is a lengthy rumination “On Parents and Children, Exes and Excess, Death and Decay, and a Few of My Other Favorite Things.” 

August 31, 2017
On the life and excellent enthusiasms of a 19th-century Parisian photographer, writer, illustrator, and balloonist.

“The Great Nadar”
Adam Begley
Tim Duggan Books, $28

The title of Adam Begley’s amiable and readable new biography, “The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera,” might provoke a couple of questions. The first is “Who?” Nadar (the nom de plume of a 19th-century Parisian photographer, writer, illustrator, and balloonist christened Félix Tournachon) may or may not be familiar throughout France, but he’s hardly Monet or Victor Hugo. 

And “Great” in what ways? As an artist or, as the title suggests, as a showman? He seems to have been both. 

August 24, 2017
Lucas Hunt, in his new book of poems, “Iowa,” engages his subject matter through use of precise evocative imagery.

Iowa
Lucas Hunt
Thane & Prose, $21.99

Lucas Hunt’s new book of poems, “Iowa,” is a somewhat uneven collection that shows the poet engaging his subject matter through use of precise evocative imagery, while other poems — notably his shorter ones — fail to engage because they neglect to provide readers with surprise or illumination. So there is much to admire in this collection and much one wishes Mr. Hunt had further revised. 

August 17, 2017
Jill Bialosky uses 51 poems in her affecting memoir to demonstrate how reading and remembering poetry can provide a kind of salvation.

“Poetry Will Save
Your Life”

Jill Bialosky
Atria Books, $24

In 1939, W.H. Auden famously asserted that “poetry makes nothing happen.” Jill Bialosky seems to offers a diametrically opposing view in her unusual and affecting new memoir. Using 51 poems, ranging broadly from nursery rhymes to a Shakespeare sonnet, she sets out to demonstrate how reading and remembering poetry can provide a kind of salvation. 

Bryley Williams
August 10, 2017
The fund-raiser called “the premier literary event of the Hamptons” is bound to be a good time.

The fund-raiser called “the premier literary event of the Hamptons” is bound to be a good time. The 13th annual Authors Night on Saturday, benefiting the East Hampton Library, offers a chance to mingle with favorite writers and illustrators under a tent at 4 Maidstone Lane in the village. The evening will kick off at 5 with a book signing and reception complete with hors d’oeuvres and wine.

August 10, 2017
Dodge City may have been a small cow town, but it had 16 saloons, 47 prostitutes, and gunfights nearly every night.

“Dodge City”
Tom Clavin
St. Martin’s, $29.99

For such a small town, Dodge City had an outsized reputation. The cow town sat in southwest Kansas, the last stop before the Great American Desert, the huge swath of mostly unexplored land that stretched to the Rocky Mountains. On the edge of the frontier, it was known as the “wickedest town in the West.”