Blue Swan Black Swan: The Trakl Diaries by Stephanie Dickinson

Review by Walter Cummins The Austrian poet Georg Trakl endured a short, distressed life (1887-1914) before he overdosed on cocaine in a psychiatric hospital in Krakow, sent there after a…

My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers

Review by David Starkey There is much to recommend My Vanishing Country, a memoir by the former (and future?) politician and current CNN commentator Bakari Sellers. Growing up in a…

How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy

Review by David Starkey How to Write One Song is an okay book by a great songwriter. Unlike the carefully crafted lyrics of Tweedy’s songs for his band Wilco, the…

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Review by David Starkey “In October 2018, inspired by the centenary of the great flu,” Emma Donoghue tells us in the Author’s Note of her new novel, “I began writing…

Rodham: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

Review by David Starkey The first of the three parts of Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel Rodham is entitled “The Catch,” and it mostly follows the historical record of Bill Clinton and…

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey

Review by David Starkey As she tells it in her memoir Memorial Drive, former United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey had a relatively idyllic childhood, especially for a biracial girl…

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Review by David Starkey Elizabeth Strout is a fine writer, and novels such as The Burgess Boys and My Name Is Lucy Barton are very good. Still, Olive Kitteridge, her…

Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Review by David Starkey It certainly seems like a gimmick to write a novel composed entirely of lists, and yet Matthew Dicks pulls it off so successfully, that by the…

Piranesi by Susana Clarke

Reviewed by David Starkey On some level, every novel is about its protagonist’s journey to find out who they really are, although Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi follows that pattern more literally…

Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson

Reviewed by David Starkey Anyone who has looked out an airplane window while flying between the Americas and Asia has no doubt marveled at the vast expanse of water and…