Critical Notes

New reviews, interviews, and more from the NBCC

By Michael Schaub

We hope you’re having a great Thursday! Or whatever day it is. We’ve been in quarantine so long, we honestly don’t know anymore. Luckily, our members know what books you should be reading, and losing yourself in a good book is much more fun than staring blankly at a wall for an hour, which we’ve also been doing a lot of these past 60 days. Anyway! Check out what our members have to say about the latest from Lawrence Wright, Sue Monk Kidd, Robert Kolker, Karen Tei Yamashita, Lydia Millet and more:

Member Reviews

NBCC President Laurie Hertzel reviewed The End of October by Lawrence Wright (which is about a deadly pandemic, just in case you were looking for some light escapist reading) for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she is the senior editor of books. She also reviewed Inge’s War by Svenja O’Donnell and In Praise of Paths by Torbjorn Ekelund, and wrote her weekly column on a journal that publishes teens’ and young adults’ essays about living through a pandemic.

Mary Ann Gwinn reviewed Blake Gopnik’s Warhol and Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings for Newsday.

Barbara J. King reviewed Adam Rutherford’s How to Argue with a Racist for the TLS.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed Patrik Svensson’s The Book of Eels for The Wall Street Journal.

Jeffrey Ann Goudie reviewed Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible for The Boston Globe.

Joan Frank reviewed Anne Raeff’s Only the River for The Washington Post.

Board member Colette Bancroft reviewed Robert Kolker’s Hidden Valley Road (critic tested and Oprah approved) for the Tampa Bay Times.

Paul W. Gleason published a re-review of Thorstein Veblen’s The Engineers and the Price System at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Kevin O’Kelly reviewed Jerry Mitchell’s Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era, Janelle Shane’s You Look Like A Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World A Weirder Place, and Fred Kaplan’s The Bomb: Presidents, Generals and the Secret History of Nuclear War, all for The Christian Science Monitor.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Karen Tei Yamashita’s Sansei and Sensibility: Stories for the Star Tribune.

Rien Fertel reviewed Samanta Schweblin’s Little Eyes for The A.V. Club.

Damien Roos reviewed Jonathan Starke’s You’ve Got Something Coming for The Masters Review.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible for Alta.

Daneet Steffenslatest Seattle Review of Books column includes novels by Sara Paretsky, Susie Steiner, Michael Connelly, and Abir Mukherjee.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Florian Huber’s Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself for The Forward.

Joseph Peschel reviewed Mario Livio’s Galileo and the Science Deniers for America, The Jesuit Review.

Deborah Bacharach reviewed The Davids Inside David by Sarah Wetzel for Sugar House Reviews, The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye for The Carolina Quarterly, and Leave Smoke by Jeff Walt for Broadsided Press.

Sarah McCraw Crow reviewed Anna Solomon’s novel The Book of V. and Carter Sickels’ novel The Prettiest Star for BookPage.

Ron Slate reviewed Our Riches, a novel by Kaouther Adimi, for On The Seawall.

Jim Schley reviewed Afterlife by Julia Alvarez for Seven Days.

Chuck Twardy reviewed David Philip Mullins’ The Brightest Place in the World for Nevada Public Radio.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed Sierra Crane Murdoch’s Yellow Bird for the BookBrowse Review.

Clifford Garstang reviewed Bae Suah’s Untold Night and Day for the New York Journal of Books.

Member Interviews

Tom Beer interviewed Blake Gopnik about Warhol, his new biography of Andy Warhol, for Kirkus Reviews.

Board member Carolyn Kellogg wrote a feature about Lydia Millet and her new book A Children’s Bible—which is neither for children nor a Bible—for the Los Angeles Times.

Rachel Cantor interviewed Elizabeth Kadetsky about her new memoir, The Memory Eaters, for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell was interviewed by Josh Barkan about her new book, Known by Heart, at the Fiction Writers Review.

At The Brooklyn Rail, Andrew Ervin, who clearly rolled a 20 for his intelligence ability score, interviewed Lawrence Schick (aka Lawrence Ellsworth) about working for Gary Gygax in the early days of Dungeons & Dragons, writing one of that game’s most famous adventures, world building, writing for video games, and, now, translating several million words of Dumas.

Member News, Etc.

NBCC Vice President/Communications Connie Ogle is officially over Zoom, Netflix, and baking bread.

Clea Simon wrote an op-ed for The Boston Globe about what we can read (or read into) the bookshelves behind all those at-home interviews of celebrities.

Elizabeth Lund introduces a piece about the power of poetry to comfort and encourage readers, for The Christian Science Monitor.

Board member Kerri Arsenault wrote an essay for Literary Hub about apple trees, greed, the pandemic, Connecticut, and a Revolutionary War veteran. Also, Kerri and colleague Aaron Cayer, Assistant Professor of Architecture History at the University of New Mexico, won a grant from the Architectural League of New York City, which has commissioned ten editorial teams, including Arsenault’s, to prepare reports on small to mid-size communities from across the United States. The reports have been commissioned as part of American Roundtable, a new Architectural League initiative that will bring together on-the-ground perspectives on the condition of American communities and what they need to thrive going forward.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell wrote an essay about running an online children’s book group in pandemic season for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

W. Scott Olsen wrote about reading in the time of the coronavirus for the Star Tribune, and about the beauty of pipe organs for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Deborah Bacharach has recently published the poems “The Berlin Wall” and “The Heroin Addict on 77th and Aurora with the Cardboard Sign” in Moria.

Photo of Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart by Klaus Burmeister via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0.