Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we hope you had a great weekend! Our members have been keeping busy this summer with reviews of books by authors like Kimiko Hahn, Francine Prose, Ellen Cooney, Elizabeth Kolbert, Hayden Herrera, and more, and interviewing writers including Brian Komei Dempster, Simon Van Booy, and Paul Mendez. We hope you’re staying safe and cool, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Corey Van Landingham reviewed three books of poetry by Kimiko Hahn, Jennifer Habel, and Rick Barot for West Branch.

Meredith Maran wrote about sex-positive writing in feminist literature for The Washington Post.

Ron Slate reviewed Manimal Woe by Fanny Howe for On The Seawall.

Jeffrey Ann Goudie reviewed Francine Prose’s The Vixenfor The Boston Globe.

Joan Silverman reviewed Ellen Cooney’s One Night Two Souls Went Walkingfor the Portland Press Herald.

Tobias Carroll wrote about books in translation for June for Words Without Borders; reviewed Benjamin Percy’s The Ninth Metaland Josh Malerman’s Goblin for; and explored books by Tina Marie Hall and Laura van den Berg at Mystery Tribune.

Cory Oldweiler reviewed Emma Brodie’s Songs in Ursa Majorfor The Boston Globe.

Eric Liebetrau wrote about new LGBTQ+ nonfiction to read for Pride Month for Kirkus Reviews.

Judy Reveal has recently reviewed This Country by Chris Matthews, Deadly Delights by Laura Jensen Walker, and Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood. She has also completed an editing project for a memoir: Life on the Edge by Larry Porter, president of the Caroline County (Md.) Council. It is now available on Amazon.

Louise Rubacky reviewed Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under a White Skyfor Scheerpost.

Cate Baum reviewed Red Pill by Hari Kunzru, Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller, The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, and The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq for The Independent Review of Books.

Joan Frank reviewed Joshua Henkin’s Morningside Heightsfor The Washington Post.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis wrote for The Washington Post about the virtue of disorganized bookshelves; he also reviewed Edward Burtynsky’s photography book Natural Order for On the Seawall.

Carol Iaciofano Aucoin reviewed Hayden Herrera’s memoir Upper Bohemia for WBUR’s The ARTery.

John Domini reviewed Buy Me Love, Martha Cooley’s new novel from Red Hen Press, for Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

Kevin O’Kelly reviewed Jonathan Levy’s Ages of American Capitalism for The Christian Science Monitor.

Fran Hawthorne reviewed Shawn Nocher’s A Hand to Hold in Deep Water for the New York Journal of Books.

Member Interviews

Dean Rader and Brian Komei Dempster interview each other on the matrix of poetry, COVID, and anti-Asian American violence in the new issue of Waxwing.

Jennifer Solheim interviewed novelist Simon Van Booy at Fiction Writers Review

In Episode #8 of her podcast, Across the Pond, NBCC board member Lori Feathers and her co-host Sam Jordison talk to Paul Mendez about his incredible debut novel, Rainbow Milk.

Member News, Etc.

Xujun Eberlein‘s essay “Ms. Daylily” won the 2021 Iowa Review Award in nonfiction, judged by Melissa Febos. The judge commented,”Rarely have I read a work so sweeping and so achingly intimate.” The essay will be published in The Iowa Review‘s winter issue.

Margot Mifflin’s book Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood (Counterpoint Press) won the Popular Culture Association’s Emily Toth Best Book in Women’s Studies Award. The book is coming out in paperback on Aug. 3.

Photo by Andrew Bartram via Flickr / CC BY-NC 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.