Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

We hope you’re all staying safe and getting in some quality reading time this fall! This week, our members have reviews of books by Don DeLillo, Kerri Arsenault, Bryan Washington, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Aoka Matsuda and more, as well as interviews with authors like Carl Hiassen, Tamara Payne and Jess Walter. As always, thanks for reading, and we hope you have a safe and fun Halloween! Treat yourself to some candy. You deserve it.

Member Reviews/Essays

Hamilton Cain reviewed Don DeLillo’s The Silence for the Star Tribune.

Michael Berry reviewed NBCC member Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town for the Portland Press Herald.

Alicia Wright reviewed Éireann Lorsung’s latest poetry collection, The Century, for the Ploughshares blog.

Kathleen Rooney wrote an essay about Frank London Brown’s Trumbull Park for JSTOR Daily.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, translated by Polly Cooper, for NPR.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell reviewed Meredith Hall’s Beneficence for the New York Journal of Books.

Katrina Gulliver reviewed Jon Butler’s God in Gotham for The Wall Street Journal.

Claude Peck reviewed Bryan Washington’s Memorial for the Star Tribune.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed Lisa Unger’s Confessions on the 7:45 and David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s Winter Counts for the Sun Sentinel and other publications, and Layne Fargo’s They Never Learn for Shelf Awareness. (And in a turnabout, Oline was interviewed by Lisa Unger for her Three Good Things series on Facebook.)

Ann Fabian reviewed Miles Harvey’s The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch for The National Book Review.

W. Scott Olsen reviewed John Cohen’s Do Not Disturb My Waking Dream for Frames.

Rien Fertel reviewed John Birdsall’s James Beard biography, The Man Who Ate Too Much, for The Wall Street Journal, and reviewed Don DeLillo’s The Silence for The A.V. Club.

Joan Silverman reviewed Monica Wood’s Ernie’s Ark for the Portland Press Herald.

Richard Scott Larson reviewed Sulaiman Addonia’s Silence Is My Mother Tongue for the Colorado Review.

J. Ford Huffman reviewed Drawing Fire: The Editorial Cartoons of Bill Mauldin, edited by Todd DePastino, and Phil Klay’s Missionaries for Coffee or Die.

Sarah McCraw Crow wrote a playlist-feature related to her novel The Wrong Kind of Woman for Largehearted Boy.

Steve Paul reviewed two new biographies for Booklist: Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck by William Souder and Woody Guthrie: An Intimate Life by Gustavus Stadler.

Rafael Castillo wrote about Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the San Antonio Express-News.

Member Interviews

Adriana Delgado interviewed Carl Hiaasen about his new book, Squeeze Me, for the Palm Beach Daily News

Tom Beer spoke with Tamara Payne about The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X for Kirkus Reviews.

Mary Ann Gwinn interviewed Jess Walter for The Seattle Times.

Carlos Lozada, a winner of the NBCC Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, was interviewed about his new book, What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era, at the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review podcast, the CNN Reliable Sources podcast, the Slate Trumpcast, and Gen Magazine/Medium.

Sarah McCraw Crow was interviewed by Kory French for the podcast BookTalk Radio/BTRToday about her novel The Wrong Kind of Woman.

Member News, Etc.

Rien Fertel won the top prize for critical reviewing from the Press Club of New Orleans.

Carlos Lozada’s book, What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era, was reviewed at The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and El País.

Claude Peck hosted an Oct. 13 Zoom reading with writers Ty Bo Yule (Chemically Enhanced Butch), Roy G. Guzmán (Catrachos) and Junauda Petrus-Nasah (The Stars and the Blackness Between Them).

Rafael Castillo had a short story published (forthcoming in the print edition in 2021) in New Texas: A Journal of Literature and Culture. The story, “Big Lucas aka Tonina,” is online for viewing and scheduled for print publication in spring 2021.

Photo by Neal Wellons via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

SEND US YOUR STUFF: 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 Be sure to include the link to your work.