Critical Notes

Catchup Roundup 3

By Jane Ciabattari

Former NBCC president John Freeman moves from American editor to acting editor to editor of Granta. Freeman in the New York Observer here. Granta 106 is a special fiction issue.

Dave Eggers talks about all his projects—films, newspapers, novelization of “Where the Wild Things Are” here.

Lev Grossman and Andrea Sachs on Amazon, the monopoly. Dennis Loy Johnson (Mobylives) discusses Simon & Schuster’s “war” with Amazon, via choice of Scribd.

Art Winslow’s review  of Leonard Zeskand’s chilling and timely “Blood and Politics.”

NBCC award winner in biography Julie Phillips talks to Toni Morrison in Amsterdam about “A Mercy.”

Jonah Raskin reports on the print friendly Class of 2009.

Oscar Villalon talks to Ethan Canin, at a fundraiser for Litquake.

Susan Shapiro, an NBCC member since 1985, has been publishing nonfiction since 1981. She just sold her first novel, “Speed Shrinking,” due out August 3 (Her second, “Overexposed,” which she started in 1995, comes out next summer).

Celia McGee on Paperless Post.

Jennifer Reese cooks without a recipe for Slate’s food issue.

Robin Hemley’s “Do-Over” of summer camp, the prom, on NPR. Ditto Lizzie Skurnick’s “life lessons from young heroines.”

Tim W. Brown calls CAConrad’s “Advanced Elvis Course” an “odd compendium.”

Gregg Barrios, fresh from “Rancho Pancho,”  multiple productions and book tour, has an NEH fellowship to work on a play. He’s ensconced in the Catskills.

The new issue of The Quarterly Conversation is chockablock with essays and reviews by NBCC members, including editor Scott Esposito, Jeremy Hatch, Karen Vanuska, and Matthew Jakubowsk.

Karen Vanuska also has a review in Open Letters Monthly; she assesses Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Nocturnes,” says it reads like a good blues song.

Michael O’Donnell in Washington Monthly on Leonard Bernstein’s music and his radical streak.

In NOLAfugees’ latest: John Biguenet can be a hell of a writer, but Lee Horvitz finds that he is not yet a dramatist, in his review of “Shotgun,” the second in a cycle of post-Katrina plays, commissioned by Southern Repertory Theater, Horvitz suspects the third might be a charm…

In case you missed it, an excerpt from Maud Newton’s novel in Narrative online.