Critical Notes

Memoirists, diarists, and, of course, George Saunders

By Laurie Hertzel

George Saunders

In her global books column for, NBCC Vice President/Online Jane Ciabattari recommends George Saunders' first novel (and Ethel Rohan's), plus a “gritting, surprisingly disarming portrait of the grim Stalinist era,” Steve Erickson's audacious futuristic novel and Christina Baker Kline's new novel, inspired by Andrew Wyeth's best-known painting. 

NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn sums up eighteen years as book editor of the Seattle Times.

For Newsday, board member Marion Winik reviews Ayelet Waldman's memoir about using LSD to control her depression.

Board member Laurie Hertzel writes a column about books that Donald Trump–a non-reader–should read. She also writes about J.K. Rowling's Twitter war with pro-Trump trolls, and she reviews Alexis Peri's nonfiction book, “The War Within: Diaries from the Siege of Leningrad.” All for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Adam Morgan interviewed Min Jin Lee for Bookpage, and Kathleen Rooney for the Chicago Review of Books. And also for the Chicago Review of Booke, he looked at a century's worth of data to determine how often Best Picture nominees and winners are based on books at the Oscars.

Gerald Bartell interviewed Patricia Bosworth about her memoir, “The Men in My Life,” for Kirkus.

Michael Magras reviewed Homesick for Another World” by Ottessa Moshfegh for the Houston Chronicle.

The NBCC is a literary partner at this week's AWP17 conference in Washington, D.C. (celebrating the AWP's fiftieth year). If you're at the conference,  check out the National Book Critics Circle bookfair booth (313), play Name that Author quiz to win books, and check out our Friday afternoon panel on the Art of Criticism, with Maureen Corrigan, Margo Jefferson, Carlos Lozada and Walton Muyumba, moderated by NBCC president Tom Beer.   (Details here.)

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