THE DOLPHIN LETTERS, 1970-1979: Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Lowell, and Their Circle, edited by Saskia Hamilton. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 560 pp., $22.) “The Dolphin” is the book of poems in which Lowell lifted, and altered, lines from Hardwick’s anguished letters to him after he left her for the British novelist Carolyn Blackwood. “Their circle” includes the likes of Elizabeth Bishop, Adrienne Rich and Mary McCarthy.
DRIVING WHILE BLACK: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights, by Gretchen Sorin. (Liveright, 352 pp., $18.95.) Venturing far beyond the territory covered in the Oscar-winning film “Green Book,” this deeply researched history emphasizes African-American car ownership, and the ways in which the automobile helped fight Jim Crow and facilitate the civil rights movement.
MANY RIVERS TO CROSS, by Peter Robinson. (Morrow, 336 pp., $16.99.) When one of the young women lured to England by a pop-up escort agency turns out to be a “super-recognizer,” with extraordinary abilities to place a face, an “old story is given a new twist,” as our crime columnist, Marilyn Stasio, put it in her review of this Alan Banks detective story.
LIFE ISN’T EVERYTHING: Mike Nichols, as Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends, edited by Ash Carter and Sam Kashner. (Picador, 384 pp., $19.) The title was an oft-repeated phrase of the inimitable film and stage director (and, before that, brilliant improv actor), feted here, our reviewer, John Simon, wrote, with the “astonishing diversity” of “love, truth and reality” befitting such a cultural figure — who had above all, as Renata Adler noted, “presence.”