Critical Notes

Book launches, reviews and profiles

By Laurie Hertzel

Louise Erdrich reads from her new novel in Minneapolis.

Louise Erdrich reads from “Future Home of the Living God” in Minneapolis on pub day.

Reviews and profiles

For the Seattle Times, board member Mary Ann Gwinn interviewed David Buerge about his new biography of Chief Seattle, the Native American chief who gave Seattle its name.

Board member Kerri Arsenault profiles the great John McPhee for LitHub.

Board member Laurie Hertzel wrote her weekly column for the Star Tribune about which books readers might save in case of a disaster. She also wrote about Louise Erdrich's launch of her new dystopian novel, “Future Home of the Living God.”

Hamilton Cain reviews “Prairie Fires,” the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews “How to Behave in a Crowd” by Camille Bordas for the National Book Review.

Erika Dreifus profiles Rachela Krinsky,  one of the “dramatis personae” featured in David E. Fishman's “The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis.”

Linda Simon reviews “The Extra Woman” by Joanna Scutts for Newsday.

Diane Scharper reviewed “At Play in the Lion's Den: A Biography and Memoir of Daniel Berrigan,” by Jim Forest, for America Magazine.

Ilana Masad reviews “The Boat Runner” by Devin Murphy for The New York Times Book Review, and writes about “I, Eliza Hamilton,” by Susan Holloway Scott, for Broadly.

Lanie Tankard reviews Spomenka Stimec's fictional memoir “Croatian War Nocturnal” for The Woven Tale Press.

Joan Silverman reviews Anne Fadiman's memoir, “The Wine Lover's Daughter,” for the Press Herald.

Yvonne Garrett reviewed “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout” by Laura Jane Grace with Dan Ozzi for The Brooklyn Rail, and “After Kathy Acker” by Chris Kraus for The Brooklyn Rail. 

Robert Birnbaum (Our Man in Boston) considers Three Women—Joan Didion, Oriana Fallaci and Elizabeth Hardwick, plus the cast of the film made from Kent Haruf's novel Our Souls at Night, and photographer Lee Friedlander.

And other honors and work

Hélène Cardona's “Life in Suspension,” published by Salmon Poetry, is the winner of the 2017 Best Book Award in Poetry, sponsored by the American Book Fest. She was featured in AWP's “In the Spotlight,” and interviewed by Alison Williams in “World Literature Today.”

Ilana Masad is featured in the ongoing series, “Secrets of the Book Critics,” on Lit Hub.


NBCC members note: Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items, including news about your new publications and recent honors, to With reviews, please include title of book and author, as well as name of publication. Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password.​ We love dedicated URLs. We do not love hyperlinks.

Laurie Hertzel is the senior editor for books at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a board member of NBCC.