Joan Baum

Joan Baum is a recovering academic from the City University of New York, who spent 25 years teaching literature and writing. Joan has a long career as a critic and reviewer, writing for, among others, WNYC, Newsday, The Christian Science Monitor, MIT's Technology Review, Hadassah Magazine and writing on subjects in her dissertation field, the major English Romantic poets. She covers all areas of cultural history but particularly enjoys books at the nexus of the humanities and the sciences.

With an eye on reviewing fiction and nonfiction that has regional resonance for Connecticut or Long Island – books written by local authors or books set in the area – Joan considers the timeliness and significance of recently published work: what these books have to say to a broad group of readers today and how they say it in a distinctive or unique manner, taking into account style and structure as well as subject matter.

It’s not every day that a 95-year-old-man comes out with an engaging memoir that looks back 80 years to trace the start of a successful theatrical career and a rewarding personal life as a gay man.

Prize-winning fiction writer, journalist, and witty, celebrated British bad boy of novels and cultural criticism Martin Amis, 71 now, and a resident of Brooklyn and East Hampton, has just come out with Inside Story.

Here are two books that offer unique voices on surviving Nazi occupied Europe and have several key plot points in common. Both feature women as the main characters and neither is Jewish. Both works also explore the immigrant experience in the U.S. after the war. But that’s where the similarities end.

Book Review: The Favorite

Nov 30, 2020

Seventy-one-year-old Lucinda Watson, the granddaughter of IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr. and the fourth child of six of Thomas J. Watson, Jr. who ran IBM  from 1952-1971, calls her debut collection of poetry The Favorite because, she says, she WAS her father’s favorite,  “the pretty one” of  five daughters.

What literary text could seem further from reality these days than Beowulf — that approximately 1,500-year-old Anglo Saxon verse epic about a Scandinavian hero fighting monsters that’s known mainly by English majors and then, mostly in translation! Yet here are two new Beowulfs, different translations and genres, out this past August, that in their separate imaginative ways have something to say to our troubled times.

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