Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we hope you’re having a good February so far! Our members have been keeping busy, with reviews of books by Brandon Hobson, Dorthe Nors, Anakana Schofield, Chang-rae Lee, Vendela Vida and more, and interviews with authors like Lauren Oyler, Kawai Strong Washburn, and Jane Harper. Thanks for reading, and please stay safe!

Member Reviews/Essays

Barbara J. King reviewed Caitlin O’Connell’s Wild Rituals: 10 Lessons Animals Can Teach Us About Connection, Community, and Ourselves for The Washington Post.

NBCC board member Chelsea Leu reviewed The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez, Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel Moniz, and Wild Swims by Dorthe Nors for The New York Times Book Review.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Brandon Hobson’s novel The Removed for USA Today, and David Duchovny’s novel Truly Like Lightning for The Washington Post.

Anthony Domestico reviewed David S. Brown’s The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams for Commonweal.

Rachael Nevins wrote about her family lexicon, in response to Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon, for the Ploughshares blog.

Former NBCC board member Carolyn Kellogg reviewed The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive by Philippe Sands for the Los Angeles Times.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell reviewed Dorthe Nors’ Wild Swims for the Fiction Writers Review, and her latest “Girl Writing” column, in which she compares writing and knitting, was published at the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed No Room at the Morgue by Jean-Patrick Manchette (New York Review Books) for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph, covering southwest Colorado and the vast Four Corners of the Southwest.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Anakana Schofield’s Bina for the Star Tribune.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson reviewed the reissue of Victor Burgin’s Between for Hyperallergic.

Diane Scharper reviewed The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison, for America.

Meg Waite Clayton’s February Bay City Books column for Local News Matters includes books by Vendela Vida, Katherine Seligman, Katherine Rothschild, Alex Davies, Henry T. Greely, Brontez Purnell, and Heather Chavez.

Kitty Kelley reviewed Melissa Gould’s Widowish for the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Ty Seidule’s Robert E. Lee and Me for her website.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed Mark Harris’ Mike Nichols: A Life for NPR.

Katrina Gulliver reviewed Andrea Pitzer’s Icebound for The Washington Post.

Jean Huets reviewed Ben Hopkins’ Cathedral, Jeri Westerson’s Clockwork Gypsy, and Ben Schott’s Jeeves and the Leap of Faith for the Historical Novel Society.

Dana Wilde reviewed Agnes Bushell’s novel The Oracle Pool in his Off Radar column for the Central Maine newspapers.

Sarah McCraw Crow reviewed Liese O’Halloran Schwartz’s novel What Could Be Saved and Helen Fisher’s debut novel Faye, Faraway for BookPage.

Rien Fertel reviewed two books on the future of farming for The Wall Street Journal: Mark Bittman’s Animal, Vegetable, Junk and Robert Paarlberg’s Resetting the Table.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed Pickard County Atlas by Chris Harding Thornton, The Unwilling by John Hart, Twenty by James Grippando, and Bloodline by Jess Lourey for the Sun Sentinel and other publications, and Girl A by Abigail Dean, Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz, and Deep Into the Dark by P.J. Tracy for Shelf Awareness.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Cherie Jones’s How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House for The Washington Post and Chang-rae Lee’s My Year Abroad for the Star Tribune.

Daneet Steffens reviewed Vendela Vida’s We Run the Tides for The Boston Globe.

Edward Derby reviewed Laura Donnelly’s Midwest Gothic for the Kenyon Review.

Ann Fabian reviewed The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice P. Nimura for The National Book Review.

Julia M. Klein wrote about Rebecca Sacks’ City of a Thousand Gates for the Forward.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed J.L. Heilbron’s The Ghost of Galileo for The Wall Street Journal.

Member Interviews

Daneet Steffens interviewed Jane Harper for CrimeReads.

Former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel interviewed Kawai Strong Washburn about his novel, Sharks in the Time of Saviors, for the Star Tribune, where she is the senior editor for books.

For her bookstore’s “Interabang Chats” series, board member Lori Feathers interviewed Lauren Oyler about her debut novel, Fake Accounts.

Former NBCC President Tom Beer interviewed Chang-rae Lee about his new novel, My Year Abroad, for Kirkus Reviews.

Grant Faulkner interviewed Mateo Askaripour on the Write-minded podcast.

Member News, Etc.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika will be in conversation with award-winning documentary filmmaker, Xoliswa Sithole, who is currently directing a documentary called We Shall Not Die Quietly, as part of her Conversations Across the Diaspora series on Feb. 12. On. Feb. 16, Sarah will talk to Vendela Vida for Books & Books, and on April 9, she will be in discussion with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., for Conversations Across the Diaspora.

Jonathan Marks’ book Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education will be published by Princeton University Press on Feb. 9.

Maureen Corrigan and Carlos Lozada, both winners of the NBCC’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, will be in conversation about Carlos’ book What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of The Trump Era on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 4:00 pm Eastern time. The event is sponsored by Georgetown University, and you can watch it via Zoom at this link.

Christoph Irmscher’s new book, Love and Loss in Hollywood: Florence Deshon, Max Eastman, and Charlie Chaplin, co-edited with Cooper Graham, is now available from Indiana University Press. His related guest post, “Florence Goes to Hollywood,” appears on the IU Press blog.

Former NBCC board member Kerri Arsenault’s book Mill Town has been selected for “Read ME,” the Maine Summer Reads program, by the Maine Humanities Commission in partnership with the Maine State Library and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In spring 2020 Kerri and her colleague, Aaron Cayer, professor at University of New Mexico, were awarded a grant from the Architectural League of NYC, for the project American Roundtable, which commissioned ten editorial teams to prepare reports on small to mid-size communities from across the United States. The report considered economics, mobility, environmental legacies, race, class, spatial injustice, politics, and the impacts of climate change and was published on February 2.

Former NBCC board member David Biespiel talked to the Unorthodox podcast about his most recent memoir, A Place of Exodus.

Randall Mann was interviewed about his forthcoming book, A Better Life, at The Adroit Journal.
Photo of Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen in Switzerland by Peter Thoeny via Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.