Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Chelsea Leu

Photo of bookshelves and planters

Dear NBCC Friends,

We’ll be opening up submissions for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing on October 30. The prize recognizes outstanding work by an NBCC member and awards them $1,000; previous winners have included Jo Livingstone, Katy Waldman, and Carlos Lozada.You must be an NBCC member to be considered. If you’re not an NBCC member yet, you can join here!

Member Reviews and Essays

NBCC board member Joanna Scutts reviewed Adam Hochschild’s timely and enraging American Midnightabout domestic repression and the destruction of the American left in the wake of World War I, for The New Republic.

Former NBCC board member Marion Winik reviewed Dani Shapiro’s novel Signal Fires for the Washington Post.

Former NBCC board member Tom Beer wrote about Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands and the new “golden age” of graphic novels and memoirs for Kirkus Reviews.

Adam Hochschild reviewed Orlando Figes’s The Story of Russia and Antony Beevor’s Russia: Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921 for The Atlantic.

Daphne Kalotay reviewed 10 noteworthy contest-winning short story collections for the Washington Post.

Kathryn Ma reviewed Erik Tarloff’s novel Tell Me The Truth About Love for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Tom Dunkel’s White Knights in the Black Orchestra for The Forward.

Sarah McCraw Crow rounded up ten midlife coming-of-age novels in Literary Hub and reviewed Ann Mah’s Jacqueline in Paris as well as six recent parenting books for BookPage.

David Woo reviewed Julian Gewirtz’s Your Face My Flag for the Poetry Foundation. 

Hamilton Cain reviewed Samanta Schweblin’s Seven Empty Houses for Oprah Daily and Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger and Stella Maris for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Chris Barsanti reviewed philosopher William MacAskill’s new book What We Owe the Future for PopMatters.

Kai Maristed reviewed Wyn Cooper’s Way Out West for On the Seawall

Shani R. Friedman reviewed Honey Cake & Latkes: Recipes From The Old World By The Auschwitz-Birkenau Survivors for TC Jewfolk.

Nell Beram reviewed Maira Kalman’s Women Holding ThingsCharles Leerhsen’s Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony BourdainSam Lipsyte’s No One Left to Come Looking for You; and Ellen Pall’s Must Read Well, all for Shelf Awareness.

Shara Lessley reviewed Jacques Rancourt’s Brocken Spectre, Benjamin Gucciardi’s West Portal, and Sandra Lim’s The Curious Thing for West Branch magazine.

Oline H Cogdill reviewed Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala and The Other Side of Night by Adam Hamdy for the South Florida Sun Sentinel, and The Witch in the Well by Camilla Bruce for Shelf Awareness. 

Charles Green reviewed Douglas L. Field’s Moscow Gold: A Novel of Twentieth Century Spain for Blueink Review.

Ginny Parobek reviewed Christopher Shaffer’s Moon Over Sasova: One American’s Experience Teaching in Post-Cold War Slovakia andHelene Cincebeaux’s Crowning Glory, andprovided commentary on Michele Patrick’s Haunted Prague, all for Slovakia Journal.

Bill Thompson reviewed Bryan Appleyard’s The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World for the Charleston Post and Courier.

W. Scott Olsen reviewed Joan Albert’s Family Photographs and Nancy A. Scherl’s Dining Alone: In the Company of Solitude for Frames magazine. 

John Domini reviewed Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse’s All Your Children, Scattered, a novel of the Rwandan genocide and diaspora, and Kathleen Rooney’s debut poetry collection, Where Are the Snows?,for The Brooklyn Rail.


Adam Hochschild was interviewed about his new book, American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis, by the Los Angeles Times.

Meredith Maran interviewed Barbara Kingsolver about her new novel Demon Copperhead in the Los Angeles Times.

Sarah McCraw Crow was interviewed by Rachael Herron about her novel The Wrong Kind of Woman on the How Do You Write podcast.

Martha Anne Toll interviewed Meg Howrey about her novel They’re Going to Love You and Jennifer Homans about her biography Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century for Fjord Review.

Anne Charles interviewed Hugh Ryan about his recent book The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison on the Vermont cable access show All Things LGBTQ.

W. Scott Olsen interviewed photographer Alfie Bowen for the Frames magazine podcast.  

Member News

Kevin A. Brown’s essay “Criticism and the Age,” about James Wood’s Serious Noticing, received special mention for Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction in Best American Essays 2021.