Critical Notes

Roundup: Paying Tribute to Vonnegut, a History of Bestsellers, and more

By Mark Athitakis

To commemorate a new Library of America collection of Kurt Vonnegut novels, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is spending this week paying tribute to the author.

Ruth Franklin takes a look at the history of bestsellers in Bookforum.

Jeffrey Eugenides, whose novel Middlesex was an NBCC fiction finalist in 2002, will publish his new novel, The Marriage Plot, this fall. The Millions has a sneak peek at the opening paragraph.

Linda Wolfe is blogging regularly at Fab Over 50, a website for women over 50; her most recent review is on Hisham Matar’s In the Country of Men.

Thomas Mallon has won the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and letters. The prize is “given annually to single out recent prose that merits recognition for the quality of its style.”

Walton Muyumba reviews Ishmael Reed’s Juice! for the Dallas Morning News (registration required).

Edwidge Danticat, NBCC winner in memoir in autobiography in 2007, discusses her work on the new collection Haiti Noir.

Anita Shreve reviews Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow for the Washington Post.

The Guardian reports on NBCC fiction finalist David Grossman’s forthcoming novel, Falling Out of Time, which addresses the death of a child and comes out five years after his 20-year-old son died during Israel’s war with Lebanon.

Michael Lindgren reviews Bob Holman’s Picasso in Barcelona at Zoland Poetry.

Jan Gardner considers recent books on Maine for the Boston Globe.

Jane Ciabattari lists five successful film adaptations of books at the Daily Beast.

Adam Kirsch considers a handful of recent reconsiderations of World War II, including Michael Burleigh’s Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II and Madhusree Mukerjee’s Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II, in the New York Times Book Review.