Critical Mass, The Blog of the National Book Critics Circle

Critical Notes: Book launches, reviews and profiles

by Laurie Hertzel | Nov-20-2017

Louise Erdrich reads from her new novel in Minneapolis.

Louise Erdrich reads from "Future Home of the Living God" in Minneapolis on pub day.

Reviews and profiles

For the Seattle Times, board member Mary Ann Gwinn interviewed David Buerge about his new biography of Chief Seattle, the Native American chief who gave Seattle its name.

Board member Kerri Arsenault profiles the great John McPhee for LitHub.

Board member Laurie Hertzel wrote her weekly column for the Star Tribune about which books readers might save in case of a disaster. She also wrote about Louise Erdrich's launch of her new dystopian novel, "Future Home of the Living God."

Hamilton Cain reviews "Prairie Fires," the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews "How to Behave in a Crowd" by Camille Bordas for the National Book Review.

Erika Dreifus profiles Rachela Krinsky,  one of the "dramatis personae" featured in David E. Fishman's "The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis."

Linda Simon reviews "The Extra Woman" by Joanna Scutts for Newsday.

Diane Scharper reviewed "At Play in the Lion's Den: A Biography and Memoir of Daniel Berrigan," by Jim Forest, for America Magazine.

Ilana Masad reviews "The Boat Runner" by Devin Murphy for The New York Times Book Review, and writes about "I, Eliza Hamilton," by Susan Holloway Scott, for Broadly.

Lanie Tankard reviews Spomenka Štimec's fictional memoir "Croatian War Nocturnal" for The Woven Tale Press.

Joan Silverman reviews Anne Fadiman's memoir, "The Wine Lover's Daughter," for the Press Herald.

Yvonne Garrett reviewed "Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout" by Laura Jane Grace with Dan Ozzi for The Brooklyn Rail, and "After Kathy Acker" by Chris Kraus for The Brooklyn Rail. 

Robert Birnbaum (Our Man in Boston) considers Three Women—Joan Didion, Oriana Fallaci and Elizabeth Hardwick, plus the cast of the film made from Kent Haruf's novel Our Souls at Night, and photographer Lee Friedlander.

And other honors and work

Hélène Cardona's "Life in Suspension," published by Salmon Poetry, is the winner of the 2017 Best Book Award in Poetry, sponsored by the American Book Fest. She was featured in AWP's "In the Spotlight," and interviewed by Alison Williams in "World Literature Today."

Ilana Masad is featured in the ongoing series, "Secrets of the Book Critics," on Lit Hub.

 

NBCC members note: Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items, including news about your new publications and recent honors, to NBCCCritics@gmail.com. With reviews, please include title of book and author, as well as name of publication. Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password.​ We love dedicated URLs. We do not love hyperlinks.

Reminder: Balakian Award Submissions Due December 17

by Jane Ciabattari | Nov-19-2017

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. Since 2012, the Balakian carries with it a $1,000 cash prize, thanks to a generous donation by former NBCC board member Gregg Barrios. Past winners include last year's winner, Michelle Dean (at left), Ron Charles, Parul Sehgal, Carlos Lozada, Kathryn Schulz, Katherine A. Powers and William Deresiewicz.

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. The citation is awarded in honor of Nona Balakian, a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle, where she served as the board’s first secretary. The eminent critic and longtime editor at the New York Times Book Review also served on the Pulitzer Prize committee, the Board of Directors of PEN, and the Authors Guild board, was the author of Critical Encounters: Essays (1978), and co-author (with Charles Simmons) of The Creative Present (1969).

2017 Submission Guidelines

You must be a member of the NBCC to be considered. If you are not a member, you can join online before December 17, 2017 in order to be eligible for the award. All submitted reviews must have been published in 2017.

2017 Submission Procedures

Submissions must be made by email. Emails must be time stamped no later than midnight (PST) Sunday, December 17, 2017. All submissions must be transmitted electronically by email.

What to submit via email: Send up to five book reviews (all published in 2017) of no more than 5,000 words collectively. The total word count for the submissions must not exceed 5,000, or the entire submission is disqualified from consideration for the award. In your email, include a note listing the venue; title and word count of each piece submitted.

Please attach PDFs or screenshots of your book reviews as they appeared online or in print. Also, provide a link if available online. A link alone is not sufficient as some venues have paywalls. Please make a print backup of your submission. In other words, make sure you have one print copy of each book review, preferably the published version. If there is a problem with your electronic online submission, you may be asked to submit a print version.

For questions about the award and submission process, e-mail the Balakian Committee chair, Katherine A. Powers. Email: kapow3@gmail.com

Further guidelines and procedures for submissions, plus a list of committee members' emails for submissions and all previous winners are here.


 

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From the Critical Mass blog

Critical Notes: Book launches, reviews and profiles

Louise Erdrich reads from "Future Home of the Living God" in Minneapolis on pub day. Reviews and profiles For the Seattle Times, board member Mary

Reminder: Balakian Award Submissions Due December 17

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. Since 2012,

Coming up in Chicago: NBCC Critics Talk about Favorite Books of the Year

Join us at The Book Cellar--a great Chicago bookstore which also has a wine bar--for a special NBCC event for members and booklovers. NBCC Critics

Leonard Prize Reviews: ‘My Absolute Darling’ by Gabriel Tallent

In November, National Book Critics Circle members will begin nominating and voting for the John Leonard award for the first book in any genre that has