Critical Notes

Library Lions, Laura van den Berg, and R. O. Kwon

By Taylor Anhalt

This week's Craft of Criticism interview is with NBCC VP/Awards Yahdon Israel.


Ron Slate reviewed Rebecca Makkai’s novel “The Great Believers” for On The Seawall.

Steve Donoghue reviewed Paul French's “City of Devils” in the Christian Science Monitor. He also reviewed Chris Baer's “Martha's Vineyard Tales” for the Vineyard Gazette.

Philip Kopper reviewed “Varina” by Charles Frazier, “The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs” by Steve Brusatte, “Something Wonderful; The Broadway Revolution of Rodgers and Hammerstein” by Todd S. Purdum, and “A Long Way from Home” by Peter Carey for the Washington Times.

Andrew Ervin interviewed Laura van den Berg about her new novel “Third Hotel” for The Paris Review Daily.

Katharine Coldiron reviewed “Irradiated Cities” by Mariko Nagai for the Los Angeles Review, “Echoes of Understorey” by Thoraiya Dyer for Locus, “Sketchtasy” by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore for Gertrude Press, and “Mirror, Shoulder, Signal” by Dorthe Nors and “People in the Room” by Norah Lange for the Women's Review of Books.

Gail Pool's new essay has just appeared on WBUR's Cognoscenti.

Ru Freeman reviewed David Chariandy's “The Brother” for The Boston Globe.

Joan Gelfand reviewed Andrena Zawinski’s collection “Landings”, featured on the Cover of

Gerald Bartell reviewed Alice LaPlante’s “Half Moon Bay” for the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Ilana Masad reviewed Lexi Freiman’s “Inappropriation” for the New York Times.

Alexander C. Kafka reviewed Michele Mendelssohn's “Making Oscar Wilde” for the Washington Post.

VP/Online Jane Ciabattari's BBC Culture column includes new novels by Laura van den Berg, Crystal Hana Kin, Bernice McFadden and Anna Moschovakis, plus short story collections by Valerie Trueblood and Ben Marcus. And her pick for Lit Hub's August books to read is Norton's new flash anthology of stories under 300 words, New Micro, with gems from Amy Hempel, Diane Williams, Amelia Gray, Richard Brautigan, Stuart Dybek, Joy Williams, Ron Carlson, Bonnie Jo Campbell, James Tate, and Joyce Carol Oates. 

The Incendiaries”, by R. O. Kwon, was reviewed by Hamilton Cain for the New York Journal of Books and Celia McGee for The National Book Review.

Paul W. Gleason reviewed Martha Nussbaum's “The Monarchy of Fear” for Pacific Standard.

Sarah Crow wrote a summer travel feature reviewing Richard Ratay’s “Don’t Make Me Pull Over” and Porter Fox’s “Northland.” She also reviewed Bart van Es’ “The Cut Out Girl.

Dana Wilde reviewed “The Price of the Haircut: Stories” by Brock Clarke in the Off Radar column for the newspapers and “The Home Stretch: a cycle of poems” by Michael Campagnoli for Working Waterfront.

Nicholas Nichols wrote about Elle Nash’s debut collection “Animals Eat Each Other” for the Wildness Magazine.


Other News

Three writers honored by the NBCC have been named 2018 Library Lions by the New York Public Library: Ron Chernow, twice a Nonfiction award finalist, Poetry winner Claudia Rankine, and Fiction winner Elizabeth Strout. 

Parrish Turner at Culture Trip interviewed NBCC member Brandon Hobson about his novel, “Where the Dead Sit Talking.”

Photo credit: Bill Gentle

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