Critical Notes

Roundup: Ha Jin, Laini Taylor, David Guterson, more

By Mark Athitakis

The Los Angeles Review of Books (see our Q&A with editor Tom Lutz) is launching a series of ebooks collecting some of its essays and interviews.

Julia M. Klein reviews Ha Jin’s novel Nanjing Requiem for Obit magazine.

Chelsea Philpot reviews Laini Taylor’s novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone for the New York Times Book Review.

Mary Ann Gwinn reviews David Guterson’s new novel, Ed King, and interviews him for the Seattle Times.

Jordan Smith reviews John Diggins’ Why Niebuhr Now?, a study of the work of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, at Slate, and Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature for the Christian Science Monitor.

Jim Carmin reviews Robert Morgan’s Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Lev Grossman reviews Claire Tomalin’s biography of Charles Dickens at Time.

Should you ghostwrite a book for your therapist? Sue Shapiro considers the matter at the New York Times’ Opinionator blog.

Maureen Corrigan revisits the work of Jack Finney, author of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, at

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews Steve Inskeep’s Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi for the Christian Science Monitor.

Your reviews and recommendations help seed these roundups: If you’re an NBCC member with a review you’d like considered for inclusion, please email You can also get our attention by using the Twitter hashtag #nbcc, posting on the wall of our Facebook page, or joining our members-only LinkedIn group.