Joan Baum

According to reports, the famous astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, won’t be available to answer any questions during Monday's solar eclipsey.  Tyson says he’ll be in an undisclosed location where he will experience this celestial phenomenon in private.   

In her moving, elegiac new novel The Burning Girl, Claire Messud alludes to childhood as a Wordsworthian time when we still trail “clouds of glory.” For adolescence, though, she invokes the Biblical phrase “through a glass darkly,” meaning that what we think we see and know of life and ourselves is imperfect. That the “weight of the world falls upon us” in adolescence, and pain and fear and uncertainty replace the bliss of being young.

Despite praise for Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films – an assignment journalist Molly Haskell accepted for Yale University Press’s Jewish Lives series, this witty, accessible though sometimes glib inquiry disappoints. But not because Haskell’s not Jewish.

At an age many people retire – or expire – Judy Gethers who never worked a day in her life became a renowned gourmet chef. The granddaughter of a famed dairy restaurant owner on the Lower East Side, Ratner’s, she loved to eat well, but that was it. And then one day, sitting with her husband in Ma Maison, Wolfgang Puck’s upscale restaurant in Los Angeles, she suddenly decided she wanted to learn how to cook. She was 53.  

It’s been said that if there are raised letters on the jacket cover and the pages have a ragged, hand-cut look, the book’s important. Of course, that doesn’t mean it is, but in the case of Anita Shreve’s new novel, The Stars are Fire, her 18th, the signaling design proves correct. 

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