Critical Notes

Roundup: NBCC finalists, Aharon Appelfeld, Kjersti Skomsvold, more

By Mark Athitakis

Last Saturday the NBCC announced the finalists for its book awards. Here at Critical Mass, you can see the full list of finalists in all six book categories, as well as the awardees of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. You can also watch video of the announcement, featuring previous winners Darin Strauss, Jennifer Egan, and more. Readers are parsing the nominees on Twitter, using the hashtag #nbcc, and if you want to catch up on reading some of the finalists in advance of the awards on March 8, the Millions has gathered excerpts of the fiction and nonfiction finalists, and is publishing samples of the poetry finalists on its Tumblr.

More reviews from elsewhere:

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews Aharon Appelfeld’s new novel Until the Dawn’s Light for the San-Antonio Express-News.

Shaun Randol reviews Kjersti A. Skomsvold’s novel The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am for the Mantle.

Andrew David King discusses the intersection of poetry and photographic artifacts (particularly in Kristin Prevallet’s I, Afterlife and Anne Carson’s Nox) for the blog of the Kenyon Review.

David Biespiel reviews W.S. Di Piero’s poetry collection Only in Things for the Oregonian.

Lisa Guidarini reviews Daniel Woodrell’s story collection The Outlaw Album for Bookbrowse.

Steven G. Kellman reviews biography finalist Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson, alongside Michael North’s review of collections of Ernest Hemingway’s and Samuel Beckett’s letters, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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.