Critical Notes

Roundup: VIDA stats, the Slate Book Review, Elizabeth Taylor, and more

By Mark Athitakis

Last week the nonprofit organization VIDA released its report on the gender gap at literary magazines: With one exception (Granta), coverage at the New Yorker, Harper’s, the Paris Review, and elsewhere heavily favored men in 2011, both in terms of author bylines and authors of books reviewed. At the blog the Contextual Life, Gabrielle Gantz reported on a panel featuring editors from Granta, the New Yorker, and Harper’s discussing VIDA’s findings.

The Slate Book Review, a new monthly feature at the online magazine, launched last weekend with reviews of books written by NBCC criticism finalist Geoff Dyer, NBCC founding member John Leonard, Balakian winner Thomas Mallon, and others. At Poynter, Andrew Beaujon uses Slate’s new effort as a launchpad to report on how print outlets are increasingly embracing book coverage after years of cutbacks.

More reviews from members:

Britt Peterson reviews New York Review Books’ reissues of two Elizabeth Taylor novels, A Game of Hide and Seek and Angel, for the New Republic.

Chelsey Philpot has a new column covering YA fiction for the Boston Globe. Her debut covers three novels: Meg Rosoff’s There Is No Dog, Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral’s Chopsticks, and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

Laura Collins-Hughes reviews Helen Simpson’s short story collection In-Flight Entertainment for the Boston Globe.

Gregg Barrios reviews two NBCC finalists, Geoff Dyer’s essay collection Otherwise Known as the Human Condition and Aracelis Girmay’s poetry collection Kingdom Animalia, for the San Antonio Express-News.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews Ayad Akhtar’s novel American Dervish for the Brooklyn Rail.

Steven G. Kellman reviews Leslie Epstein’s novel Liebestod: Opera Buffa With Leib Goldkorn for the Chicago Tribune.

Maureen Corrigan reviews Jim Yardley’s Brave Dragons: A Chinese Basketball Team, an American Coach, and Two Cultures Clashing for

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.