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.

In 1995 a Harvard-educated mathematics prodigy who went on to study and teach at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, sent an anarchist manifesto to The New York Times and The Washington Post called “Industrial Society and Its Future.” He wrote that if it were not published immediately, he would continue to send bombs to those he perceived as the enemies of nature and humanity.

With his new book called “Howard Stern Comes Again” – two decades after the off-the-charts sales of “Private Parts” and “Miss America” – Howard Stern, the Shock Jock of the Western World, may disappoint those who expected his new memoir to be as shocking. But the old “poster boy for doing everything offensive,” as he once described himself, delightfully surprises . . . and charms. Though not to worry, he’s still outrageous.

Who knew that until the middle of the last century, East Granby, Connecticut, was a center for Connecticut Shade, a hand-tended tobacco leaf used as a wrapper for premium cigars? And that the work, which relied a lot on summer migrants, many students from the South, once included Martin Luther King? Keith Scribner knew because he spent a lot of time in East Granby when he was young, and he knows that growing and harvesting tobacco is a back-breaking chore.

Book Review: 'Working'

Jul 2, 2019

Want to be a political journalist or biographical historian? Forget graduate or journalism school. Read Robert Caro’s "Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing." Caro, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and recipient of so many other prestigious awards, got them for superb investigative reporting on brilliant, ruthless men.

To judge from much contemporary fiction and successful film adaptations, The Psychological Thriller is hot. Typically featuring dark twisty plots and mysterious, pathological characters, many of these nerve-wracking novels turn on the menacing machinations of vengeful women.

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