Critical Notes

News, reviews, happy and sad

By Laurie Hertzel


NBCC fiction awardee Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah makes Time magazine's list of 30 books to read before you're 30 (along with fiction finalists Teju Cole's Open City, Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, and Zadie Smith's NW) plus Time's 10 best gifts of 2017.

NBCC Vice President/ Online Jane Ciabattari reveals in her weeky LitHub column the finalists for the NBCC John Leonard prize for best debut book. She also writes about five books making news, including Sam Shepard’s last book, Mary Beard's Women & Power, Sylvia Plath’s letters, essays from Ursula Le Guin's blog, and Gerrick D. Kennedy's history of N.W.A.

Board member Laurie Hertzel wrote her weekly column on stocking-stuffer books for the holidays, and wrote a story about the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis launching a new, significant two-day writers festival, to begin in 2019.

Diane Scharper reviewed three memoirs for The National Catholic Reporter: “Forty Autumns,” Among the Living and the Dead,” and “Ants among Elephants.”

Susan McCallum-Smith interviewed Andrew O’Hagan about his latest book, “The Secret Life,” for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Anita Felicelli reviewed past NBCC fiction winner Louise Erdrich's “Future Home of the Living God” for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Lanie Tankard reviewed Megan Hunter's novel, “The End We Start From,” for The Woven Tale Press.

Marthine Satris reviewed Sarah Lacy's “A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug” for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Joan Silverman reviewed Howard Mansfield's “Summer Over Autumn” for the Press Herald.


In other news

We are sad to report that Kukula Glastris, the respected and beloved book review editor of Washington Monthly for 14 years, has died. This link will take you to a lovely piece written by her husband, Paul Glastris, the journal's editor in chief. Kukula Gastris edited between five and seven reviews each issue, written by Christian Caryl, Matthew Cooper, Kevin Drum, Lee Drutman, Allen C. Guelzo, Heather Hurlburt, Ed Kilgore, Tim Noah, and Michael O’Donnell, among others.


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