Critical Notes

Richard Russo, Pablo Medina, Science Fiction by Women, and More

By Mark Athitakis

Elaine Szewczyk interviewed Sheila Weller about her forthcoming biography, Carrie Fisher: Life on the Edge, for Publishers Weekly.

Joe Peschel reviewed Chuck Klosterman's story collection, Raised In Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction, for the Oregonian.

Dana Wilde reviewed former Maine poet laureate Betsy Sholl's new poetry collection, House of Sparrows, in his Central Maine Newspapers “Off Radar” column.

Nicole Rudick reviewed The Future Is Female!: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin, edited by Lisa Yaszek, for The New York Review of Books.

Board member David Varno reviewed Jess Row's essay collection White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari interviewed Pablo Medina about five essential Cuban novels, ranging from Alejo Carpentier to Wendy Guerra, for Lit Hub/Book Marks.

Jeremy Lybarger reviewed Sara Stridsberg’s novel Valerie for the Baffler.

Martha Anne Toll reviewed Peter Kaldheim’s Idiot Wind for NPR Books.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson reviewed Lara Prior-Palmer’s memoir Rough Magic for the Rumpus.

Eric Nguyen reviewed Aigerim Tazhi’s poetry collection Paper-Thin Skin, translated from the Russian by J. Kates, for Empty Mirror.

Justin Taylor wrote about Robert Alter's translation of the Hebrew Bible and his monograph The Art of Bible Translation for Jewish Currents.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Lisa Sandlin’s Bird Boys for his Murder Ink column in the Durango (Colo.) Telegraph.

Grace Lichtenstein reviewed Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s novel, Fleishman Is In Trouble, for the July books issue.

Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers reviewed Andrea Bobotis’ The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt, Brandi Homan’s Burn Fortune, and Virginia O. Bush and Ryan J. Bush’s A Singing Wire: Duets of Poems & Photographs, for Foreword Reviews.

Collette Bancroft reviewed Richard Russo’s novel Chances Are… for the Tampa Bay Times. Allen Adams also reviewed Chances Are… for the Maine Edge.

Michael J. McCann reviewed Owen Matthews’ debut thriller, Black Sun, for the New York Journal of Books

The bookish journal the Believer takes a musical turn in its latest issue; Zack Graham contributed “microreviews” of Kamasi Washington’s Heaven and Earth, Ross from Friends’ Family Portrait, and Pusha T’s Daytona.

Member News:

At the funeral for NBCC finalist George Hodgman on July 29, former NBCC director Steve Weinberg presented the eulogy, at the request of the family.

The Cannery Reading Series in West Philadelphia, co-founded by NBCC member Matthew Jakubowski, was named a Best of Philly 2019 honoree by Philadelphia Magazine. The series launched in 2018 and has featured more than 20 novelists, playwrights, translators, and short story writers. The next reading is September 5 at the Cannery at Dock Street Brewery.

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

Photo of Chuck Klosterman by Rich Fleischman, used under Creative Commons license.