New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we hope you had a great January! If you’re looking for some great winter reads, we’d love to suggest picking up some of the books on our shortlists for the NBCC Awards. If you’d like to buy one (or several), we have a new Bookshop page—it’s a great way to support the NBCC and independent bookstores while also finding your next favorite book. Stay safe, stay warm, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Lindsey Anthony-Bacchione reviewed Victoria Chang’s Dear Memory for Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog.

Tod Goldberg reviewed Danya Kukafka’s Notes on an Execution for USA Today.

Jim Ruland wrote about playing fantasy football with Meat Loaf for the Los Angeles Times.

Jeremy Lybarger reviewed My Father’s Diet by Adrian Nathan West for 4Columns.

Margot Mifflin reviewed Women in the Picture: What Culture Does with Female Bodies by Catherine McCormack for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Celia McGee, the new literary editor of Avenue Magazine, reviewed Greek Myths: A New Retelling by Charlotte Higgins, with drawings by Chris Ofili, for The National Book Review.

Former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel reviewed Sara Freeman’s Tides for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she is senior editor for books. In her Bookmarks column, she wrote about why she keeps so many books, and also about vowing to read more slowly this year. And she wrote about Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, whose 1935 novel The Passenger was reissued last year. Boschwitz died when the Nazis torpedoed the ship he was on in 1942, and his cousin, a former U.S. senator, still lives in Minnesota.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Eileen Pollack’s Maybe It’s Me for the Forward.

Meg Waite Clayton‘s January Bay City Books includes new books by Isabel Allende, Tobey Hiller, and Peter Mann.

Benjamin Woodard reviewed Mahsa Mohebali’s In Case of Emergency, translated by Mariam Rahmani, for Words Without Borders.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Renée Branum’s Defenestrate for The Washington Post.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed A Game of Fear by Charles Todd and A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker, and Mermaid Confidential by Tim Dorsey, for the Sun Sentinel, and Desolation Canyon by P.J. Tracy for Shelf Awareness.

Deborah Bacharach reviewed The Strategic Poet by Diane Lockward for Heavy Feather Review and Rain Violet by Ann Spiers for The Compulsive Reader.

Jean Huets reviewed Pollak’s Arm by Hans Von Trotha, translated by Elisabeth Lauffer, for The Rumpus.

Former NBCC board member Steven G. Kellman, a winner of the NBCC Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, reviewed Hugo Hamilton’s The Pages and Joseph Roth’s Rebellion for the Forward.

Christopher Spaide reviewed Maureen N. McLane’s More Anon: Selected Poems, Tongo Eisen-Martin’s Blood on the Fog, Wendy Xu’s The Past, and Kaveh Akbar’s Pilgrim Bell for The Sewanee Review.

Jason Berry wrote about U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo for The Daily Beast.

Ron Slate reviewed Pascal Quignard’s Mysterious Solidarities, Nastassja Martin’s In The Eye of the Wild, and Irwin Gellman’s Campaign of the Century in his “Book Notes” column at On The Seawall.

Cory Oldweiler reviewed Jennifer Haigh’s Mercy Street for The Boston Globe.

Tobias Carroll reviewed Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark and Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Present Tense Machine for, and wrote about January books in translation for Words Without Borders.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Member Interviews

Former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel interviewed Sequoia Nagamatsu about his buzzy new novel, How High We Go in the Dark, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she is senior editor for books.

Rhoda Feng interviewed Kristina Wong about her one-woman theater show and book, The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice, for BOMB.

Mark Athitakis interviewed John Darnielle about his new novel, Devil House, for the Los Angeles Times.

Anne Charles interviewed lesbian feminist playwright Carolyn Gage about her latest collection Big Plays on the cable access show All Things LGBTQ.

NBCC Vice President/Events and Fiction Chair Jane Ciabattari‘s conversation with Sequoia Nagamatsu for Literary Hub covered his experience on writing the grief and connections of an enduring pandemic in his first novel, How High We Go in the Dark.

On their podcast, Across the Pond, NBCC board member Lori Feathers and co-host Sam Jordison talked to Lan Samantha Chang about her new novel, The Family Chao, an homage to The Brothers Karamazov, and the podcasters announce an upcoming collective read of The Brothers Karamazov, #ConquerKaramazov, with Chang starting March 1.

Member News

Hélène Cardona will be a judge for the National Translation Award in Poetry, along with Boris Dralyuk and Archana Venkate. ALTA will be awarding five book prizes for works in translation, along with the ALTA Travel Fellowships for emerging translators. Submissions are open until April 18, 2022.

Joan Gelfand was interviewed on the YouTube series People on the Path.

Meg Waite Clayton‘s The Postmistress of Paris, a Good Morning America Buzz Book, People magazine and Amazon editors’ pick, and national bestseller, was reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle (“Casablanca if Rick had an artsy bent … powerful”) and The New York Times (“suspenseful”). Meg was interviewed by Jane Ciabattari in Literary Hub, Lucy Jane Bledsoe in The Rumpus, and by Nara Schoenberg in the Chicago Tribune, and the novel was featured in Marion Winik and Lisa Morgan’s The Weekly Reader.

Partner News

Our friends and partners at the PEN/Faulkner Foundation will be hosting the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration virtually this year. Save the date and join them on May 2 at 8:00 pm Eastern.

Photo by Kaarina Dillabough via Flickr / CC BY-SA 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.