Critical Notes

Holiday week book reviews from the NBCC

By Carolyn Kellogg

Holiday lights by cisc1970 via Flickr. Holiday lights by cisc1970 via Flickr.

Michelle Newby Lancaster reviewed Christmas in Austin by Benjamin Markovits for Lone Star Literary Life.

Erika Dreifus hosted the Dec. 15 Jewish Book Carnival, a project of the Association of Jewish Libraries, on her blog My Machberet.

Donna Miscolta reviewed Staten Island Stories by Claire Jimenez for the Seattle Review of Books.

Linda Levitt reviewed Patti Smith’s Year of the Monkey for Spectrum Culture and Sharon Marcus’  June book from Princeton University Press, The Drama of Celebrity, for PopMatters.

Tobias Carroll reviewed Jakarta by Rodrigo Marquez Tizano for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and wrote about optimistic nature writing for LitHub.

Kelly Flynn reviewed Mona Awad’s Bunny in the Adroit Journal.

Collin Huber wrote about his 12 favorite books of the year for Fathom Magazine.

Yvonne C. Garrett reviewed Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea for The Brooklyn Rail.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed The Puritans: A Transatlantic History by David D. Hall for Open Letters Review.

Amy Weldon reviewed Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House for Orion Magazine.

Natalia Holtzman wrote about J.W. Mohnhaupt’s The Zookeepers’ War for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Dave Altman reviewed Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys in the Pickens County (Ga.) Progress.

Elaine Szewczyk interviewed Bess Kalb about her 2020 book, No One Will Tell You This But Me, for Publishers Weekly.

Grace Lichtenstein reviewed Tom Rosenstein’s Oppo in the NY Journal of Books.

NBCC Emerging Critic Blue Tarpalechee published his first review, of Incarcerated Stories: Indigenous Women Migrants and Violence in the Settler-Capitalist State by Shannon Speed and Alison Hargreaves’ Violence Against Indigenous Women: Literature, Activism, Resistance, in Transmotion.

Former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari interviewed four authors at Bookmarks Reviews: Liesl Schillinger, Lars Iyer, Alan Furst and Nina McLaughlin.

Other member news:

The blog Wordsmith’s posted an interview by Hélène Cardona with poet John Ashbery, who died in 2017.

Christoph Irmscher published an essay on on the architectural photography of Charlie Bidwell at Od Review.

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