Books

When it came time for Iris Smyles to meet with the publicity people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to “do the usual thing of getting blurbs,” as she put it, for her book “Dating Tips for the Unemployed,” the ass-kissing and self-promotion could’ve sent her soul fleeing her body like a shirt ripped from a hanger. Instead, pausing in her consumption...

Iris Smyles’s new book is a hybrid work, a mix of autobiographical fiction and humor writing that builds a witty, of-a-certain-moment novel. With an unpredictable blend of the confessional and the satirical, the absurdist and the heartfelt, Ms. Smyles chronicles the ins and outs and overnights of a 21st-century single writer-about-town who dwells...
Montauk. It’s all the rage. But there’s cool Montauk, day-tripping Montauk, partying Montauk, and then there’s a somewhat more authentic Montauk, exemplified by the grizzled veterans of the fish-stinking rocky promontory who’ve put their literary heads together to come up with an anthology celebrating the place.

While it is a truth that anyone who lives to old age will experience inevitable deterioration, the facts of each case go universally unacknowledged. The personal reality of decline is hard to express, takes time away from life itself, and conflicts with the abundance narrative — youth, marriage, sex, and childbirth are more celebrated. Who wants...
Chris Knopf has left the fabulous Hamptons behind for the browner pastures of the Bronx. In “Back Lash,” the seventh installment in what is the original of his several series of crime novels, the geographically pretentious reference has even been excised from the cover, the billing simply reading “A Sam Acquillo Mystery.”
Is history soft, malleable, open to interpretation? Or is it stiffly a matter of facts, immutable, regardless of the “perspective” (that overused word, at once inclusive and diminishing) of the beholder?

By Bruce Buschel

Stars-in-the-eyes young poet meets literary and art world icons in the Hamptons. And re-meets and reconsiders. And admires. And continues to honor and to create his own work.

Of contemporary spy novelists, Alan Furst is the undisputed king of historical espionage. The majority of his 14 novels are set in Europe during the 1930s and ’40s, dealing primarily with the machinations of resistance fighters and spies — with a love affair or two thrown in for good measure. At their best they are atmospheric and suspenseful,...

In the famous arrogance of youth, old age is the shore we’ll never reach.
Especially in a presidential election year such as this one, it is timely and interesting to delve into the backgrounds of the forces that are shaping the political scene. Neil J. Young has given us a detailed and thought-provoking history of one of those movements in “We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics.”
Friends, now is the time to hear your neighbors rise up and read from their workshopped essays, the result of their efforts in a class led by Carla Riccio of the Hayground School, who’s a former Dial Press editor, by the by. It starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton.
“Think about it this way,” Jason the neck-tattooed motorcycle aficionado says to his adopted daughter in Simon Van Booy’s new novel, “Father’s Day,” explaining his lack of even one date during her two decades in his life, “I’m a single parent with no money, a dead-end job, a fake leg, bad teeth, and a criminal record. Plus I’m a recovering...