Critical Notes

Asylum seekers, writers of color and books about dogs

By Laurie Hertzel










***  The NBCC awards finalists will read on Wednesday, March 14, at 6 pm at The New School, 66 West 12th Street, New York City, and the awards ceremony will be at the same location on  Thursday, March 15, at 6 pm. Both are free and open to the public. Tickets to the benefit after-party are $75, and may be purchased here. (NBCC members may purchase tickets in advance for $50.)  ***


NBCC board member Anjali Enjeti reviewed Anthony Grooms' “The Vain Conversation” for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and wrote about eight books about refugees and asylum-seekers for The Georgia Review.

NBCC board member Marion Winik  interviews poet Naomi Shihab Nye for and writes about Sigrid Nunez's “The Friend,” and other dog books, for Newsday.

NBCC board member Laurie Hertzel wrote her weekly Bookmark column about the Youth Media Awards recognizing great books by writers of color. She also reviewed “Hotel Silence,” by the Icelandic writer Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Diane Scharper reviewed three books for the “National Catholic Reporter”: “Barking to the Choir” by Gregory Boyle S.J.;  “St. Clare of Assisi” by Bret Thomas; and “When the Past Begins” by Amy Tan. 

Bob Hoover reviewed “Smoketown,” Mark Whitaker's take on Pittsburgh's Hill District, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Lanie Tankard reviewed “A Surgeon in the Village” by Tony Bartelme, out in paperback from Beacon Press in March, for Woven Tale Press.

Ilana Masad reviewed “This Will Be My Undoing” by Morgan Jerkins and “Winter Kept Us Warm” by Anne Raeff for the Los Angeles Times. 

Chelsea Leu reviewed “Eternal Life” by Dara Horn and “How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig in the LA Review of Books, and “Daphne,” by Will Boast, in the San Francisco Chronicle.

NBCC Emerging Critic and incoming board member Ismail Muhammad turns to Charles Chesnutt's 1901 novel, “The Marrrow of Tradition,” to demonstrate how “the genteel language of tolerance obscures and enables antiblack violence,” in the Paris Review.

 Julia M. Klein reviews Catherine Kerrison's “Jefferson's Daughters” for the Barnes & Noble Review

Hamilton Cain reviews “A False Report,” by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

For Newsday, Michael Lindgren meditated on the enduring appeal of the femme fatale in his review of Laura Lippman's “Sunburn.”

NBCC Emerging Critic Paul Gleason reviewed Bart Ehrman's “The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World” for Newsday.


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 the chairman of the NBCC board's autobiography committee.