Critical Mass, The Blog of the National Book Critics Circle

Summer solstice ushers in reviews of highly anticipated books by Arundhati Roy and Roxane Gay

by Anjali Enjeti | Jun-19-2017

Reviews and interviews:

This week on Lit Hub, Jane Ciabattari, NBCC VP/Online, focused on the new Arundhati Roy and Catherine Lacey novels, an anthology edited by Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon called “Kingdom of Olives and Ash,” and more.She also captures the Bay Area Book Festival in four acts.

NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn interviews Sherman Alexie for The Seattle Times about his new memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.”

NBCC board member Colette Bancroft reviews Roxane Gay's memoir "Hunger" and Arundati Roy’s "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness for the Tampa Bay Times.

NBCC board member Tom Beer reviews Arundhati Roy's “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” for Newsday.

NBCC board member Anjali Enjeti reviews Scott Gould’s “Strangers to Temptation” for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Arundhati Roy’s “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” and Camille T. Dungy’s “Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History” for the Star Tribune.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviews Don Lee’s “Lonesome Lies Before Us” for the Washington Post.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews Arundhati Roy’s “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” for San Antonio Express-News.

Karen Long reviews Roxane Gay’s “Hunger” for Newsday.

Joan Silverman reviews Ann Beattie’s “The Accomplished Guest” for the Portland Press Herald.

Carol Iacofano reviews Joseph Finder's "The Switch," Scott Turow's "Testimony" and Ben Coes' "Trap the Devil" for WBUR, as well as Elizabeth Strout's "Anything is Possible" for WBUR.

Lanie Tankard reviews "The Tower of the Antilles" by Achy Obejas for The Woven Tale Press. 

Laverne Frith reviews  Charles Simic's "Scribbled in the Dark" for the New York Journal of Books. 

V. Joshua Adams reviews “First Thought: Conversations with Allen Ginsberg,” edited by Michael Schumaker for PopMatters.

Dianne Scharper reviews "All the Rivers" by Dorit Rabinyan for The Weekly Standard. 

Maureen Corrigan reviews Maile Meloy’s “Do Not Be Alarmed” for NPR. 

Carl Rollyson reviews Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway: A Biography” for the San Francisco Chronicle.

For Slate, Ismail Muhammad reviews Teju Cole’s book of photography, “Blind Spot.”

For The Millions, David Nilsen reviews “Priestdaddy” by Patricia Lockwood.

Meg Waite Clayton reviews “Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge,” by Helen Rapport for the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Marcie Geffner interviews author Lee Daniel Kravetz about his book, “Strange Contagion.”

And in other exciting booknews:

Author of the NBCC-award winning “The Lost,” Daniel Mendelsohn, has a forthcoming memoir, “An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic” that will be published in September.

Critic Maureen Corrigan was the featured critic in Ploughshares, “The Readers Series.”

NBCC award-winning author Leanne Shapton’s new book, “Was She Pretty,” was reviewed in Pop Matters. 

Your reviews seed this roundup. Please send items, including news about your new publications and recent honors, to NBCCCritics@gmail.com. Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password. Please include your name, the publication, a description of your article, and a URL. We love URLs. We do not love hyperlinks.

Differing views on David Sedaris and other news from the world of criticism

by Laurie Hertzel | Jun-02-2017

Reviews and other writings:

NBCC VP/Online Jane Ciabattari's May 30 Lit Hub column includes tributes to Denis Johnson and buzz about the new Arundhati Roy novel.

NBCC board members Tom Beer, Marion Winik and Katherine A. Powers contributed to Newsday's roundup of best audiobook titles, including Katie Kitamura's "A Separation," David Grann's "Killers of the Flower Moon," and Viet Thanh Nguyen's "The Sympathizer." 

NBCC board member Anjali Enjeti reviewed Lisa Ko's "The Leavers" for the Star Tribune and interviewed An Tran about his debut collection, "Meditations on the Mother Tongue," for Brooklyn Magazine 

NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn reviews “Churchill and Orwell” by Thomas Ricks for the Los Angeles Times. 

NBCC board member Laurie Hertzel reviewed David Sedaris' diaries, "Theft by Finding," for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she is the senior editor for books. She also wrote her weekly column about keeping -- or not keeping -- a book journal.

NBCC board member Marion Winik reviews David Sedaris for Newday, and has a different take on it than Hertzel.

David Cooper reviewed “The Journal of Albion Midnight,” by Kenneth Patchen, in New York Journal of Books.

Heather Scott Partington reviewed Courtney Maum's novel, “Touch,” for Electric Literature.

Anita Felicelli has reviewed Laleh Khadivi's "A Good Country” for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Ron Slate has written about Madison Smartt Bell’s new novel “Behind The Moon.”

 Paul Wilner reviews "Lost Addresses: New and Selected Poems'' by the late Diann Blakely and "Life In Suspension - La Vie Suspendo'' for Zyzzyva magazine. Both are from Salmon Poetry, in Ireland.

Dean Rader reviews "Rilke Shake" by Angelica Freitas for the Kenyon Review.

Former board member and Balakian recipient Steven G. Kellman reviewed Colm Toibin’s “House of Names” for Barnes and Noble.He also reviews "The Schooldays of Jesus," by J.M. Coetzee, for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Julia M. Klein reviews Victor Ripp's "Hell's Traces" for the Forward.

Cliff Garstang reviews “Village,” by Stanley Crawford, in the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Michael Lindgren writes for the Washington Post about "In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs."

Michael Berry has reviewed "New York 2140," by Kim Stanley Robinson, and a roundup of fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle. He also reviewed Paul Theroux's "Motherland" for the Portland, Maine, Press-Herald.

Jenny Yacovissi reviewed David J. Garrow’s "Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama," for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Diane Scharper reviews "The Hundred Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey," by Dawn Anahid MacKeen, for National Catholic Reporter.

Joseph Peschel reviews Tracy Chevalier's "New Boy" in the Raleigh News and Observer.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviewed "Aliens: The World's Leading Scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life," edited and with an introduction by Jim Al-Khalili, for the Christian Science Monitor.

And, in other fabulous news:
Hélène Cardona reports that her book, "Life in Suspension," has won the 2017 Independent Book Award in Poetry.

Dean Rader's recent collection of poems, "Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry," is reviewed in The San Francisco Chronicle, Publisher's Weekly, The Rumpus, and other publications.

Former NBCC board member and criticism finalist Stephen Burt has a new poem in the New Yorker.

Linda Simon's book, "Lost Girls: The Invention of the Flapper," will be published in September by Reaktion Books.

Your reviews seed this roundup. Please send items, ncluding news about your new publications and recent honors, to NBCCCritics@gmail.com. Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password. Please include your name, the publication, a description of your article, and a URL. We love URLs. We do not love hyperlinks.

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