Critical Notes

Elvis and more star-studded new book reviews and stories

By Carolyn Kellogg

Book critic Michael Lindgren, who has been writing for the Washington Post and other venues for many years, is setting criticism aside to for an equally noble pursuit: plunging deeper into the book business. He'll be managing editor of indie publisher Melville House soon; his final book review is for Newsday, of Richard Zoglin's Elvis in Vegas. Nathan Webster reviews the same book for The Daily Beast. But now, Elvis Michael Lindgren has left the building.

NBCC board member Carolyn Kellogg reviewed Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman for Newsday.

At LitHub, Andrew Ervin writes considers George Orwell's close call with help from Robert McFarlane and Emily Wilson.

Emerson College journalism professor Tim Riley reviewed Emily Nussbaum's I Like to Watch for truthdig.

Kamil Ahsan reviews River of Fire by Qurratulain Hyder, re-released by New Directions in March, for The Nation.

John Domini reviews Harbart by Nabarun Bhattacharya, re-released by New Directions in June, for The Washington Post.

Former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari's August BBC Culture column includes new U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo's An American Sunrise, the new story collection from Edwidge Danticat and memoirs from novelist Susan Straight and Sarah Broom.

Rancy Cepuch reviewed Joe Berridge's Perfect City: An Urban Fixer's Global Search for Magic in the Modern Metropolis for Washington Independent Review of Books.

Michelle Newby Lancaster reviewed Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler for Lone Star Literary Life.

Lawyer and NBCC member Frank Housh talks to Caroline Fredrickson about her book The Democracy Fix for the American Constitution Society.

Pam Munter reviewed What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance and Hope in an American City (the city is Flint, Michigan) by Mona Hanna-Attisha for Fourth and Sycamore, the literary journal of the Greenville Public Library in Greenville, Ohio.

James Scott reviewd The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells for the Wellington Square Bookshop in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Eric Nguyen reviewed If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood for diaCRITICS.

For Textshop Experiments, Matthew Jakubowski continues his series of experimental book reviews writing on Aviaries by the late Czech author Zuzana Brabcová, newly published in English translation.

The inexhaustable Tobias Carroll has five new pieces this week: reviews of Rodrigo Rey Rosa's Human Matter for Bookforum and Paul Tremblay's Growing Things at; an interview with Kate Zambreno at Longreads;  new books in translation to look for at Words without Borders; and Damon Krukowski's Ways of Hearing plus John Berger and media literacy at Electric Literature.

Hamilton Cain reviewed The Vexations by Caitlin Horrocks for The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.


Daphne Kalotay's novel Blue Hours was published by Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press and reviewed in the Boston Globe.

RIP: We learned that writer and editor George Hodgman, whose book Bettyville was an NBCC finalist in autobiography in 2015, has died. Gentle and wry and a grounding force at Vanity Fair, George also worked as a book editor, editing many important books, including NBCC finalist Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle. NBCC board member Elizabeth Taylor wrote about Bettyville when it was an NBCC finalist.

RIP: George de Stefano paid tribute to Italian novelist Andrea Camilleri, who died July 17 at age 93, at Popmatters.

RIP: Robert Birnbaum remembers Yippie writer and editor Paul Krassner, who died July 21 at age 87, at Our Man in Boston.

Natalia Holtzman wrote about the new Bob Dylan/Martin Scorsese film The Rolling Thunder Revue for The Millions.

Hamilton Cain (who also has a review noted above) wrote about the kindness of strangers for O, the Oprah Magazine.

​Richard Deming edited a special focus on “The Ordinary” for the current issue of American Book Review, including Yasmine Shamma reviewing Andrew Epstein's Attention Equals Life; Alan Gilbert reviewing Brenda Hillman’s Extra Hidden Life, among the Days; David LaRocca reviewing Toril Moi's Revolution of the Ordinary and more.


NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to


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