Critical Notes / Announcements

Andre Aciman, Michael Connelly, Ann Patchett, and More

By Mark Athitakis

Photo of Hanif Abdurraqib by Andrew Cenci.

Anita Felicelli reviewed Johanna Stoberock’s novel Pigs for On the Seawall, and spotlighted a dozen books that blur genre borders (including NBCC finalist Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go) for Electric Literature.

George de Stefano reviewed Dennis Altman’s Unrequited Love: The Diary of an Accidental Activist for PopMatters.

At Literary Hub, former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari discussed five great nonfiction books with metanarratives with Jeannie Vanasco; five great American social crime novels with Steph Cha; and five great books about criticism with Daniel Mendelsohn.

Diane Scharper reviewed Ann Patchett’s novel The Dutch House for America Magazine.

Jonathan Marks reviewed Daniel Gordis’s We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel, for the website of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

Elizabeth Lund recommends new poetry collections by Nick Flynn, Hanif Abdurraqib, Nancy Naomi Carlson, and Kathleen Graber for the Washington Post.

Benjamin Woodard profiled author Liz Moore, whose novel Long Bright River comes out in January, for Publishers Weekly.

Board member Carolyn Kellogg talked to Michael Connelly about his new book The Night Fire and the TV show Bosch for the Washington Post.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Alexandra Jacobs’s biography of Elaine Stritch, Still Here, for the Boston Globe, and Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill for the Forward.

Alexander C. Kafka reviewed Bill Bryson’s The Body: A Guide for Occupants, for the Washington Post. 

Board member David Varno reviewed Brian Allen Carr’s novel Opioid, Indiana for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, calling it “a near-perfect anthem of disaffected youth in a small frozen town.” He also talked with Tim O’Brien about his memoir Dad’s Maybe Book, and about his method of storytelling, for the Millions.

Allen Adams reviewed Joe Posnanski’s The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini for the Maine Edge. 

For the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Oline H. Cogdill reviewed Charles Todd’s mystery A Cruel Deception; Naomi Hirahara’s mystery Iced in Paradise; and Michael Connelly’s The Night FireShe also covered Steph Cha’s thriller Your House Will Pay and Elizabeth Hand’s historical novel Curious Toys for the Associated Press.

Balakian recipient Scott McLemee recently reviewed a number of books for Inside Higher Ed, including Allison Stanger’s Whistleblowers: Honesty in America From Washington to Trump; Lars Svendsen’s Understanding Animals: Philosophy for Dog and Cat Lovers; Daniel M. Russell’s The Joy of Search: A Google Insider’s Guide to Going Beyond the Basics; and Susan Schneider’s Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind.

Board member Mark Athitakis spoke with Andre Aciman about his sequel to Call Me By Your NameFind Me, for Kirkus Reviews.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Find Me for the Washington Independent Review of Books; Zadie Smith’s collection of short stories, Grand Union, for the National Book Review; and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again, her sequel to Olive Kitteridge, for the National Book Review.

And in member news…

Lydia Pyne reports that her forthcoming book, Genuine Fakes: How Phony Things Teach us About Real Stuff, was published in the UK in early August and will be released in the United States this week.

Zack Graham was interviewed for Literary Hub’s “Secrets of the Book Critics” feature.

Meg Waite Clayton reports that her international bestseller The Last Train to London (Harper in the U.S. and Canada, and coming in 22 editions in 19 languages) received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, and was called “standout historical fiction” by Publisher’s Weekly and “riveting” by member Jane Ciabattari, writing for the BBC.

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