Critical Notes

Roundup: Susan Gubar, Ben Fountain, Andrew Solomon, another major award for Marina Warner & More

By Eric Liebetrau

Meredith Maran's Why We Write in BookPage's “9 noteworthy books for book lovers,” a lighthearted list of “books about books.”

Just a month after winning the 2012 NBCC Criticism award for Stranger MagicMarina Warner receives the Truman Capote Award from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. The $30,000 award is “the largest annual cash prize in English-language literary criticism.”

Heller McAlpin examines Jill McCorkle's Life After Life, calling it “as resolutely down to earth and unpretentious as the hot-dog franchise owned by one of her characters.” In a review of Kristopher Jansma's debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of LeopardsMcAlpin confronts an unreliable narrator and a series of “sanctioned lies.”

“Saying that Hershel Parker is as angry as Ahab isn't a flippant or disparaging remark,” writes Carl Rollyson in his Wall Street Journal review of Parker's Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative.

The Missoulian discusses the poisoning of a landscape with Brad Tyer, whose Opportunity, Montana, published on March 26.

In the New York Times, recent Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement winner Susan Gubar examines the “raw and beautiful” breast-cancer pictorial “The Scar Project.”

Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, the winner of the 2012 NBCC fiction award, reviewed by the VVA Veteran.

“Nazis Loved Scarlett O’Hara as FDR Gave Blacks Raw Deal”: Craig Seligman's Bloomberg BusinessWeek review of Ira Katznelson's Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time.

Maureen Corrigan on the apathy, ennui and general sense of “whatever” in Jonathan Dee's A Thousand Pardons.

In a review for the Daily Beast, Jacob Silverman finds little new or groundbreaking in Douglas Rushkoff's Present Shock, which, Silverman writes, relies on “unwieldy neologisms, peculiar readings of popular culture, and a tendency toward abstraction.”

2012 NBCC General Nonfiction award winner Andrew Solomon talks to “Live Mint” about “how people with differences make for a richer and better society.”

Gratitude in the workplace: Associations Now senior editor and NBCC board member Mark Athitakis explores the concept in relation to Judith W. Umlas' books The Power of Acknowledgement and Grateful Leadership.

Brent Hendricks' A Long Day at the End of the World, reviewed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Gina Webb, and in the Boston Globe by NBCC board member Eric Liebetrau. Also in the AJC, Webb digs into the “desperately lonely lives” of the characters in Holly Goddard Jones' debut novel, The Next Time You See Me.

Embarking on “a wild ride that will delight many but exasperate some,” David Varno considers Anne Carson's latest book, Red Doc, for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.