Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Photo by Rick Obst via Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0.

Members and friends, it’s almost that time — the National Book Critics Circle Awards ceremony will be held next Thursday, March 25, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time! Remember to register for the event here. Our board members have been writing appreciations for all the finalists in our 30 Books in 30 Days series, and you can read those here. We hope to (virtually) see all of you there, and as always, stay safe and thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Diane Wilson’s The Seed Keeper for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, reviewed Jess Zimmerman’s Women and Other Monsters for the Women’s Review of Books, and wrote an essay about Diane Seuss for the Poetry Foundation.

Former NBCC board member Dan Cryer reviewed Michelle Nijhuis’ Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction for The Boston Globe.

In her weekly column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel wrote about the decision to allow six of Dr. Seuss’s titles to go out of print.

April Yee reviewed the new online journal Midst and Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World for The Rumpus.

Julian Lucas reviewed Octavia E. Butler’s new Library of America volume for The New Yorker.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris and Death Grip by Elaine Viets for the Sun Sentinel and other venues.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Smoke by Joe Ide for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph, covering southwest Colorado and the Four Corners of the vast Southwest.

Lanie Tankard reviewed Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro for The Woven Tale Press.

W. Scott Olsen reviewed the photobook Escape by Olga Karlovac for Frames magazine.

Ellen Wayland-Smith wrote about modern medicine’s roots in astrology and alchemy for The American Scholar.

NBCC board member Jacob M. Appel reviewed Walter Isaacson’s The Code Breaker for the New York Journal of Books.

Anita Felicelli reviewed Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun for the Los Angeles Review of Books and Joshua Mohr’s Model Citizen for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Abby Frucht wrote an essay about what she was doing 10 years ago for Past Ten.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Walter Isaacson’s The Code Breaker for O, the Oprah Magazine, and Russell Banks’ Foregone for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Jenny Shank reviewed Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Committed for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Tobias Carroll wrote about political fiction for Literary Hub, wrote about Leslie Lambert Rounds’s I Have Struck Mrs. Cochran With a Stake for the Portland Press Herald, reviewed Sylvain Neuvel’s A History of What Comes Next for, and wrote a new column on translated books for Words Without Borders.

Fran Hawthorne reviewed Victoria Shorr’s The Plum Trees for the New York Journal of Books.

Grace Lichtenstein reviewed Infinite Country by Patricia Engel for BookPage.

Theodore Kinni reviewed Jesper Sørensen and Glenn Carroll’s Making Great Strategy for strategy+business.

Ethan Chatagnier reviewed Lee Conell’s The Party Upstairs for the Washington Square Review blog.

Barbara Spindel reviewed Elizabeth Catte’s Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia for The Wall Street Journal, and Mark Harris’ Mike Nichols: A Life and Paulina Bren’s The Barbizon and Julia Cooke’s Come Fly the World for The Christian Science Monitor.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed John Lanchester’s Reality and Harold Schechter’s Maniac for NPR.

Member Interviews

Grant Faulkner interviewed Story Prize winner and National Book Award finalist Deesha Philyaw, who wrote The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, for the Write-minded podcast.

April Yee interviewed Viet Thanh Nguyen about The Committed for Electric Literature.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis interviewed Adm. James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman about their novel 2034: A Novel of the Next World War for the Los Angeles Times.

Julia M. Klein interviewed John Ghazvinian about America and Iran for The Pennsylvania Gazette.

Member News, Etc.

Kelli Russell Agodon‘s fourth collection of poems, Dialogues with Rising Tides, will be released from Copper Canyon Press in April.

NBCC board member and Interabang Books co-owner Lori Feathers and Sam Jordison, a writer and publisher in the U.K., have started “Across the Pond,” a podcast about the most anticipated and discussed fiction on both sides of the Atlantic. You can check out the inaugural episode here.

Theatrix: Poetry Plays, Terese Svoboda‘s eighth book of poetry, has just been published by Anhinga Press. “Borrowing from Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, and absurdist theater in equal measure, Theatrix: Poetry Plays is a tour de force collection that explodes our notion of the fourth wall,” blurbs poet Virginia Konchan. Terese had conversations about the book with poet Karla Kelsey and poet Rachel Du Plessis.

Former NBCC board member Tess Taylor is hosting a panel about what a cultural new deal could do with America, along with Matthew Lee Erlbach, David Kipen, Jason Boog, and Chiyuma Elliott, at Politics and Prose on March 18 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Tobias Carroll was a judge for this year’s The Morning News Tournament of Books.