Recent Stories: Books

February 6, 2018
If there is a barometer for pints of blood loss in books on crime, Kerriann Flanagan Brosky has chosen a wide range of felonious activity — horrifying to mundane. The mercury level is in the middle.

“Historic Crimes of Long Island”
Kerriann Flanagan Brosky
History Press, $21.99

It has been said that it is in our very nature to enjoy reading about murders and mayhem, but only as long as those bloody tales are seen as safely removed from our own protected existence. Since the beginning of time, we humans have been quite fascinated by crime and punishment. It is an instinct and a passion. Whether our ancestors eagerly queued up to watch early Christians get stoned to death or waited for the next edition of The London Times to catch up on Jack the Ripper’s latest escapade of slaughter, for better or worse, murder has held the headlines.

Star Staff
February 6, 2018
The Star welcomes submissions of essays for its “Guestwords” column of between 700 and 1,200 words. Submissions can be sent for review by email, in text or Word format, to submissions@ehstar.com.

The Star welcomes submissions of essays for its “Guestwords” column of between 700 and 1,200 words. Submissions can be sent for review by email, in text or Word format, to submissions@ehstar.com.

Please include a short biographical author’s note. Submissions should be final drafts. We cannot accept multiple versions of a piece. Selected work will be published in the newspaper as well as on our website, easthamptonstar.com.

Jamie Bufalino
January 30, 2018
BookEnds — a workshop established by Susan Scarf Merrell and Meg Wolitzer of Stony Brook Southampton’s M.F.A. program in creative writing.

Six aspiring novelists — all graduates of Stony Brook Southampton’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing — are sitting in a conference room on campus waiting to meet their mentors and receive the latest critique of their work. They’re pioneers, the first students chosen to take part in the BookEnds program, a new workshop established by the faculty members Susan Scarf Merrell, author of the critically acclaimed novel “Shirley,” and Meg Wolitzer, whose novels include the 2013 New York Times best seller “The Interestings.” 

January 30, 2018
Pushcart calls itself the “best of the small presses,” but its mission is large, and the big, meaningful questions humanity must ask can be found inside.

“Pushcart Prize XLII”
Edited by Bill Henderson
Pushcart Press, $19.95

There’s something downright virtuous in welcoming the Pushcart Prize every year. Hello, you editors, writers, and all concerned, I am with you, voting with my reading time for the independent. Read: the not corporate. Let us perpetuate the spirit of independence by participating! 

Pushcart calls itself the “best of the small presses.” Small how? In scale of production, perhaps, in how much cash enters and runs the endeavor, but not, clearly, in breadth of mission. The big, the meaningful, the questions humanity must ask can be found here.

January 23, 2018
“Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel” is the monumental result of Francine Klagsbrun's decade-long effort to understand the woman who became prime minister.

“Lioness”
Francine Klagsbrun
Schocken Books, $40

January 17, 2018
Nathan Sanford of Bridgehampton had a significant yet undervalued early influence on issues like universal suffrage, voter apathy, and political patronage.

“Reluctant Reformer”
Ann Sandford
Excelsior Editions, $29.95

Can a family member be a dispassionate biographer, even when writing about a distant ancestor, or will the romance of family legend and lore lead to a loss of objectivity? 

Kurt Wenzel
January 9, 2018
“Don’t Save Anything” contains a number of James Salter pieces that are indispensable, many of them rescued from boxes stored in places reachable only with a ladder.

“Don’t Save Anything”
James Salter
Counterpoint, $26

It is a near certainty in publishing that when a writer of renown passes away, a year or so later a haphazard collection will appear in bookstores. It is almost always a flimsy thing, this book, which may include some uncollected magazine pieces, a few poignant letters, a book review or two, some lost poems — any scraps the writer’s estate can find to pad what is advertised as the final word of a great writer. Twenty-six dollars, please. 

This was the fear in learning the daunting title of a new book of nonfiction by James Salter (who died in 2015), “Don’t Save Anything: Uncollected Essays, Articles, and Profiles.” 

January 9, 2018
A new poem by Philip Schultz in memory of Robert Long

    The dispersion and reconstitution of the self.

    That’s the whole story. — Charles Baudelaire

In memory of Robert Long

January 2, 2018
“Deadly Cure” by Lawrence Goldstone, a medical detective story set in Brooklyn in 1899, could have been written about the current opioid crisis.

“Deadly Cure”
Lawrence Goldstone
Pegasus Books, $25.95

“Deadly Cure,” a new novel by Lawrence Goldstone, the author of several previous novels as well as a number of nonfiction historical works, takes place in New York City at the dawning of the 20th century. It is September of 1899, and the brand-new age of electricity. “Reading was so much more pleasant by incandescent light. These rooms were his first that did not use gas or oil.”

December 26, 2017
The origin story of Lou Reed, from Long Island wiseass to victim of electroshock therapy to tutelage under the poet Delmore Schwartz.

“Lou Reed: A Life”
Anthony DeCurtis
Little, Brown, $35

In the veteran rock journalist Anthony DeCurtis’s new biography, “Lou Reed: A Life,” John Cale expounds on his Velvet Underground bandmate’s songwriting: “Lou comes to terms with himself in songs. It’s like somebody discovering their identity.” 

December 20, 2017
By Bruce Buschel

Every year
she gave him a shirt
yellow or worse
and every year
he hated her gift
and never failed
to tell her so.

Now he wishes
he had kissed her
forehead and understood
that a woman doesn’t
always know what to give
her only son
for Christmas.


Bruce Buschel is a writer, producer, director, and restaurateur who lives in Bridgehampton.

December 20, 2017
Some nonfiction gems in an off year for fiction, when current events overshadow everything.

“Manhattan Beach” and

“Lincoln in the Bardo” 

Interesting that two of America’s keenest observers of contemporary life turned to the past for their latest work. Coincidence, or have current events overshadowed the possibilities of fiction? Jennifer Egan’s book follows a female diver at the Brooklyn docks during World War II, while George Saunders’s inhabits a number of voices surrounding the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie in 1862. Neither is as good as these authors’ best works, but in an off year for American fiction, both were still among 2017’s most satisfying. 

 

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

Christopher Walsh
December 12, 2017
Joe Hagan presents Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone and master chronicler of his fellow baby boomers, as a brilliant, hugely ambitious, and deeply insecure man riven by contradictory impulses.
"Sticky Fingers"
Joe Hagan
Knopf, $29.95
 

"Jane got the house on West Seventieth Street and the estate in the Hamptons, plus the Picasso and her beloved Diebenkorn, now worth millions. Wenner was stung by the loss of the Hamptons home . . . but afterward he married Nye and built him a $12 million beach house in Montauk next to Ralph Lauren." 

December 7, 2017
Boy, do we miss Kurt Vonnegut, that shambling, head down, creased-face man in the beat-up raincoat who loved the world, and was broken by the foolish people who were trampling it underfoot.

“Kurt Vonnegut: 
Complete Stories”

Collected and introduced by Jerome Klinkowitz and Dan Wakefield
Seven Stories Press, $45

Once upon a time Kurt Vonnegut walked the Hamptons. The last time I talked to him was outside the Sagaponack General Store. I was walking to my bike with my lunch; Kurt was slogging north toward the store. Kurt didn’t really walk; he slogged as if the weight of the cosmos were on his shoulders. 

“Hi, Kurt,” I said. 

“Hi, Bill,” he said, and slogged on.

Star Staff
November 30, 2017
T.E. McMorrow will sign copies of “The Nutcracker in Harlem,” his new picture book, at two Books of Wonder locations in Manhattan on Sunday.

Christmas is less than a month away, for spiritual good, for consumerist ill. Here’s some good: The author of “The Nutcracker in Harlem,” The Star’s T.E. McMorrow, will be signing copies of the charming picture book, recently out from HarperCollins, at two Books of Wonder stores in Manhattan on Sunday — at 18 West 18th Street from 1 to 3 p.m., and at 217 West 84th Street from 4 to 6. He’ll be joined by the book’s illustrator, James Ransome, a veteran of the genre, and by two other children’s book author-illustrators, Matt Tavares and Susan Jeffers.

November 30, 2017
A brilliant chemist, a president of Harvard, a leader of the Manhattan Project, and a top Cold War diplomat. Meet James B. Conant.

“Man of the Hour”
Jennet Conant
Simon & Schuster, $30

The only element I might question in Jennet Conant’s new biography of her grandfather James Bryant Conant is the title. “Man of the Hour” does inadequate justice to the lofty accomplishments of Mr. Conant, not to mention the span of time during which his influence was felt. But perhaps I quibble.

Baylis Greene
November 22, 2017
Temporal slippage, a birthmark, and visions of a David ("Cloud Atlas") Mitchell adventure for young readers.

“Gertie Milk &
the Keeper of Lost Things”

Simon Van Booy
Razorbill, $16.99

I’ll be honest, and honestly I don’t particularly want to be honest, as I consider myself a fan of Simon Van Booy’s — from his recent entirely successful novel, “Father’s Day,” which out-realisms realism, to his heartfelt short stories, his Welsh background, his fin de siecle good looks. But with “Gertie Milk & the Keeper of Lost Things,” his new novel for young readers, I had trouble telling what was comedy and what was simply a lark.

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.