Criticism & Features

NBCC Reads

Michele Leber Picks Joan Didion

By Michele Leber

What is your favorite National Book Critics Circle finalist of all time? The first NBCC winners, honored in 1975 for books published in 1974, were E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime, fiction), John Ashbery (Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, poetry), R.W.B. Lewis for his biography of Edith Wharton, and Paul Fussell (The Great War and Modern Memory, criticism). In 2014 the National Book Critics Circle prepares to celebrate nearly forty years of the best work selected by the critics themselves, and also to launch the new John Leonard award for first book. So we're looking back at the winners and finalists, all archived on our website, and we've asked our members and former honorees to pick a favorite. Here's the thirty-third in our latest in six years of NBCC Reads surveys.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. A painful and elegant account of dealing with the unexpected death of a life partner

Michele Leber is a freelance reviewer for Booklist and Library Journal.