2021 Poetry Month Reviews: April 22-30

by David Starkey Back in 2014, when I was reviewing books for the Santa Barbara Independent, I proposed an offbeat idea to my editor. I would offer one very short…

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl

Late Migrations is an elegantly-crafted collection of brief essays, many less than a page long, that focus on Renkl’s family history and the way she sees reflections of that history…

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

Review by Walter Cummins Has climate change reached a tipping point? Is it too late, or do we still have an opportunity to redeem the planet? Some optimists, citing previous…

The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? by Michael J. Sandel

Review by Brian Tanguay The belief that markets and merit are the only way to organize society has become an article of faith in American society and culture. Over the…

Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World by Tom Burgis

Review by Brian Tanguay Kleptocracy is nothing new. Dictators and tyrants like the Shah of Iran, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, and Vladimir Putin in Russia,…

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…

The Gospel According to H.L. Hix by H.L. Hix

Review by Walter Cummins First, came the gospel writer cluster of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Now, two thousand years later, the world has another “according to” version, in this…

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…