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Baum on Books

With an eye on reviewing fiction and nonfiction that has regional resonance for Connecticut or Long Island, Joan Baum 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.

Latest Episodes
  • Writer Howard Owen puts his years as a reporter and editor to good use in his next mystery novel, Dogtown. It won’t be available until the first week of December, but book critic Joan Baum got a peek at his latest work and has this review.
  • In his latest mystery novel, former Israeli Ambassador and Yale professor, Michael Oren, explores a forgotten piece of World War II history that occurred in New England.
  • Mary Rodgers was a composer, an author, and the daughter of the celebrated Richard Rodgers. She passed away in 2014. But a new memoir reanimates her voice and offers a peek behind the Broadway curtain and its cast of famous characters.
  • A bar in the Lower East Side is the setting of one short story in a collection of 16 pieces that explores writing, art, and the human condition. Book critic Joan Baum has this review.
  • He was born Melvin Kaminski in Brooklyn, New York. He’s been a 1,000 year-old man, the King of France and Dr. FRAHN-ken-steen. But he’s best known as Mel Brooks and he has a new memoir out.
  • Women and book clubs go together. In the U.S. close to 80% of all participants in book clubs are women.
  • A well-known 19th century artist from Long Island plays a key role in a new novel by Robert Crooke.
  • The latest novel by native New Yorker Larry Duberstein, examines the ordinary life of a retired high school guidance counselor who discovers he may not be as ordinary as he thinks. Book critic Joan Baum has this review.
  • Books that grace many summer reading lists are often filled with tales of daring exploits and steamy liaisons. And it would be all the more compelling if those stories were true. Well, relatively true. Yale University Press has released a new biography on the audacious life of Italian adventurer, Giacomo Casanova. Book critic Joan Baum has this review.
  • Writer Iris Smyles hails from Long Island. However, her scant on-line biographies identify her place of residence as, “somewhere." That will give you a sense of her quirky and whimsical writing style. Book critic Joan Baum read her latest work, “Droll Tales.”