Critical Notes

Ann Patchett, Monet, Banned Books and More

By Elizabeth Taylor

Autumn brings a bounty of books, and reviews. Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth has been reviewed widely. Eileen Weiner reviews Patchett's novel for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Alexis Burling reviews the novel for the San Francisco Chronicle  and Ellen Atkins reviewed Commonwealth for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Ross King's Mad Enchantment has also received significant attention. Linda Simon reviews King's book  for Newsday 

 David Walton reviews Ross King's Mad Enchantment for the Dallas Morning News.

NBCC VP/Awards Michele Filgate reviewed Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright for The Washington Post and Wrecked by Maria Padian for The Portland Press Herald. She also interviewed Anuk Arudpragasam, author of The Strong of a Brief Marriage, for the Barnes & Noble Review

Julia M. Klein reviews Artemis Joukowsky's Defying the Nazis for the Forward and reviews Teddy Wayne's Loner for the Chicago Tribune. 

Parul Kapur Hinzen reviews Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue for The Rumpus.

Former board member and past Balakian winner Steven Kellman reviews Alice Kaplan’s Looking for The Stranger for the Barnes and Noble Review.

For the Houston Chronicle Michael Magras wrote a  review of Emma Donoghue's The Wonder and for  Shelf Awareness, a review of Ian McEwan's Nutshell.

Robert Hoover reviews The Terror Years by Lawrence Wright for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and reviews Surrender, New York by Caleb Carr for the Dallas Morning News.  

Joan Silverman reviews Tracy Kidder’s A Truck Full of Money for the Portland Press Herald.

Anjali Enjeti reviews Daniel Bergner’s Sing for Your Life for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and also interviewed Ann Patchett for Google Play Books.

NBCC Board member and past Balakian winner Katherine A. Powers reviews Margot Livesey's Mercury for the Barnes and Noble Review and reviews Jay McInerney's Bright, Precious Days for The Irish Times  and reviews Emma Donoghue's The Wonder for The Boston Globe 

Chuck Twardy reviews The Nix by Nathan Hill for Las Vegas Weekly

Lori Feathers reviews Alessandro Baricco’s The Young Bride for Full Stop. 

For The Woven Tale Press, Lanie Tankard reviews Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams.

Nathaniel Popkin reviews Antonio di Benedetto's Zama for the Wall Street Journal. 

For San Diego City Beat, Jim Ruland writes about Tommy Pico's debut poetry collection IRL and writes about also Scott McClanahan and Ricardo Cavolo's The Incantations of Daniel Johnston. My Damage, the book Ruland co-wrote with punk legend Keith Morris, is profiled in Esquire

For the Minneapolis Star Tribune, NBCC Board Member Laurie Hertzel reviews Moscow Nights, Nigel Cliff’s biography of Van Cliburn and also YA author Gayle Forman’s first novel for adults, Leave Me and also Karen Stabiner’s Generation Chef and she reviews Ron Padgett’s comic poem, How to Be Perfect

In addition to these reviews, Hertzel explores the question of why books publish on Tuesdays and profiles profile Donte Collins, the St. Paul, Minn., poet who was honored by the Academy of American Poets.  

Ellen Atkins reviews Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  

Michael Berry reviews Mr. Eternity by Aaron Their for the San Francisco Chronicle

NBCC Board member Gregg Barrios contributed an essay on Mexican icon Juan Gabriel to the Texas Observer.

For Harrisburg Magazine, Harvey Freedenberg reviews Alan Lightman's Einstein’s Dreams and Carlo Rovelli's Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

For Lit Hub, Amy Brady writes about about banned books for National Banned Books Week.

For The Collagist, David Nilsen reviews Elizabeth Onusko's Portrait of the Future with Trapdoor:

Paul Wilner contributed an Appreciation of Bill Berkson for Zyzzyva.

Request: Jesse Miller writes asks that we share his request for participants in a roundtable on the history and future of the book review at the Northeast Modern Language Association convention. Paper abstracts are due October 7. More information on the panel can be found here:


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