Critical Notes

2019 Reading + the Five-Year Anniversary of #ReadWomen

By Jane Ciabattari


National Book Critics Circle board elections results announced today! Here are the eight candidates elected.

Reviews & Interviews

NBCC board member Michael Schaub on Didion, Patterson, and more “Secrets of the Book Critics.”

NBCC VP/Membership Anjali Enjeti reviewed Amy Meng's “Bridled,” Duy Doan's “We Play a Game,” and Jenny Xie's “Eye Level” for the Georgia Review.

NBCC VP/Online Jane Ciabattari recommends 2019 books for her BBC Culture column, including NBCC Sandrof and fiction award winner Toni Morrison's essay collection and new novels by  NBCC finalist Colson Whitehead and Sandrof winner Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

NBCC Emerging Critic Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers contributed an essay to The Millions “My Year in Reading” series. She also reviewed Meghan Dowling’s A Catalogue of Small Pains,  Anna Burke’s YA fantasy, Thorn, S. W. Leicher’s Acts of Assumption, Reema Zaman’s memoir, I Am Yours, and Kim McLarin’s essay collection, Womanish for Foreword Reviews Women’s Issues special feature. 

Lanie Tankard reviewed Secret Passages in a Hillside Town, a novel by Finnish author Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, in the January 2019 issue of World Literature Today.

Roxana Robinson writes of a 3500-acre estate outside London that has been returned to the wild, for the Washington Post.

Matthew Jakubowski writes for Asymptote about the five-year anniversary of the #readwomen movement and how writing by women has fared in terms of literary prizes over the past five years.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed The So Blue Marble by Dorothy B. Hughes for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Building on the mini-trend of “let’s send Mike Lindgren on droll stupid-human-trick-style adventures,” Michael Lindgren's editor commissioned a piece in the Washington Post, wherein he attempts to follow the directives of a self-help book on procrastination.

Joan Frank reviewed Anna Burns' Milkman for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Adam Carroll published a critical essay on four defiant women's voices reshaping Asian American immigrant stories--Elaine Castillo's America Is Not the Heart, R.O. Kwon's The Incendiaries, Vanessa Hua's A River of Stars, and Kirstin Chen's Bury What You Cannot Take–in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Nathaniel Popkin's piece on the ecological crisis was published in the New York Times.

NBCC fiction finalist Valeria Luiselli has been appointed Writer in Residence at Bard College.


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.