Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, if you’re planning on going to the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago this weekend, there’s an event you’re not going to want to miss. The Guild Literary Complex and the NBCC are co-sponsoring a performance by Exhibit B, an experimental performance series featuring accessible, multimodal art by diverse, community-conscious artists in Chicago and beyond. This performance—the collective’s eighth—will feature performances by Ignatius Valentine Aloysius, Sky Goodman, Mojdeh Stoakley, NBCC board member Ruben Quesada, and Nicholas Ward, and will be hosted by NBCC board member J. Howard Rosier. Check it out on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 4:30 pm Central, at the festival’s AWM/Feinberg Stage at 632 S. Dearborn!

Member Reviews/Essays

NBCC member Carlos Lozada, a recipient of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, wrote an 8000-word essay on the nonfiction books of the 9/11 era for The Washington Post.

NBCC lifetime member Patrick Davis reviewed Peter Campion’s One Summer Evening at the Falls for the Kenyon Review.

Heather Hewett wrote about Marlo Mack’s forthcoming memoir, How to Be a Girl, along with eight other recently-published memoirs about raising trans kids, for the Women’s Review of Books.

Charles Green reviewed James Whiteside’s Center Center for The Gay & Lesbian Review and J. Arthur Moore’s Twelfth Winter for Blueink Review.

Former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel reviewed Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women by Annabel Abbs for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she is senior editor of books. She also wrote about The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff, a 1931 novel reissued by Scribner, and Go West, Young Man, a memoir by B.J. Hollars

Paul Wilner reviewed Anthony Veasna So’s Afterparties, Jaime Cortez’s Gordo, and Keenan Norris’ The Confession of Copeland Cain for the Nob Hill Gazette. He also wrote an appreciation of the late San Francisco poet laureate Janice Mirikitani for the Gazette.

NBCC Vice President/Secretary Colette Bancroft reviewed Lauren Groff’s Matrixfor the Tampa Bay Times.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Murder Maps: Crime Scenes Revisited 1811-1911 by Drew Gray and Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph, covering southwest Colorado and the vast Four Corners of the Southwest.

Former NBCC President and current Vice President/Grants Carlin Romano reviewed the late Jenny Diski’s Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told? for the Summer Double Issue of Moment magazine.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Laura Arnold Leibman’s Once We Were Slaves for the Forward.

Hannah Joyner reviewed Burning Man: The Trials of D.H. Lawrence by Frances Wilson for the Chicago Review of Books, and Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Fiona Sampson for On the Seawall.

RJ Heller reviewed Meredith Hall’s Beneficence, Jim Nichols’ Blue Summer, Christina Baker Kline’s The Exiles, Monica Wood’s Ernie’s Ark, and Ham Martin’s Talk Radiofor various newspapers in his home state of Maine.

John Domini has an essay review in Brooklyn Rail about the latest from Richard Powers, Bewilderment

Sarah McCraw Crow reviewed Tracey Lange’s We Are the Brennans and Julie Klam’s The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters for BookPage.

Joseph Peschel reviewed Lauren Groff’s Matrixfor The Brooklyn Rail.

Tobias Carroll wrote about translated books from August for Words Without Borders.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Robert Olen Butler’s Late Cityfor the Minneapolis Star Tribune

For NPR, Heller McAlpin reviewed Hilma Wolitzer’s wise, wry stories, Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarketand Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You. She also reviewed Annabel Abbs’ Windswept for The Wall Street Journal.

Jim Scott reviewed Bill Gates’ How to Avoid a Climate Disaster and Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac’s The Future We Choosefor the Wellington Square Books website.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed The Afghanistan Papers by Craig Whitlock and The Washington Postfor Shelf Awareness.

Member Interviews

Paul Wilner interviewed ​​David M. Olsen about his new surf/crime anthology, The SIlver Waves of Summer, for the Nob Hill Gazette.

Tobias Carroll interviewed Mark Haskell Smith for the Los Angeles Times and Matthew Specktor for Vol. 1 Brooklyn. He also talked to some of the people behind Granta‘s new Spanish-language novelists spotlight for Literary Hub, and moderated a discussion between Jeanne Thornton and Alex DiFrancesco for Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

For her weekly Bookmark column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel interviewed Anitra Budd, the new publisher of Coffee House Press.

Erik Gleibermann interviewed Ed Pavlić about Outward: Adrienne Rich’s Expanding Solitudes for The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Member News, Etc.

NBCC board member Lori Feathers announces the launch of the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses in the US and Canada: and follow: @USRofC.

Sarah McCraw Crow was interviewed about her novel The Wrong Kind of Woman (MIRA) for Gwen Filosa’s radio show on Island 106.9 (Key West, Fla.).

Clea Simon was interviewed by Doug Holder about her upcoming mystery Hold Me Down (Polis Books) for The Somerville Times. Her book was reviewed in First Clue Reviews by librarian Henrietta Verma who said, “Simon’s evocative writing puts readers inside sweaty clubs that stink of beer and vomit (so much vomit!) … For readers who enjoy dark stories and fans of music-themed mysteries.”

Photo of The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles by GE1013 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.