Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By David Varno

Photo of a desk with a book, lamp, and pen

Dear NBCC Friends,

We can’t wait to share the finalists for the 2022 NBCC awards. Tune in tomorrow night for the virtual presentation, produced by Wildbound Live. 


Martha Anne Toll reviewed Children of the State, Jeff Hobes’ new book examining America’s juvenile justice system, for NPR.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Alba de Cespedes’ The Forbidden Notebook for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

For the Letras Latinas Blog, Alfredo Aguilar and Laura Villareal reviewed Rio Cortez’s Golden Ax.

Jenny Shank reviewed two novels for America Magazine: Michelle Gallen’s Factory Girls and Angie Cruz’s How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water.

Heather Scott Partington reviewed Kathryn Ma’s The Chinese Groove for Alta.

Fran Hawthorne reviewed Heather Darwent’s debut novel The Things We Do to Our Friends for the New York Journal of Books.

For NPR, Rhoda Feng reviewed Selby Wynn Schwartz’s debut work, longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize, After Sappho.

For Rhino Reviews, Lee Rossi reviewed poet Rebecca Foust’s latest book Only.

Nell Beram reviewed four books for Shelf Awareness: Paul Auster’s Bloodbath Nation; Peter Mohlin and Peter Nyström’s The Other Sister: An Agent John Adderley Novel; Stephen Spotswood’s Secrets Typed in Blood; and Maragret Magnusson’s The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Life Wisdom from Someone Who Will (Probably) Die Before You.

Steven G. Kellman reviewed Emma Smith’s Portable Magic: A History of Booksand Their Readers for the American Scholar.
Colette Bancroft reviewed Philip Bump’s first book The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America for the Tampa Bay Times.

Heller McAlpin reviewed Carmela Ciaruru’s Lives of the Wives for the Wall Street Journal and Tracy Kidder’s Rough Sleepers for the Christian Science Monitor.

Kathleen Rooney wrote an essay about first generation Jewish-American novelist Edna Ferber for the reissue of Ferber’s 1921 novel The Girls. A version of the essay appears on Jstor Daily.


Paul Wilner spoke with film historian David Thomson about the art of artlessness and his new volume Acting Naturally: The Magic in Great Performances for the Nob Hill Gazette.

Elaine Szewczyk profiled Sebastian Barry, whose new novel is Old God’s Time, for Publishers Weekly.

For the Boston Globe, Betsy Groban talked to mystery writer Julie Hennrikus about her most recent book The Plot Thickets.

Kate Carmody talked to Michael Chang about their latest poetry collection Almanac of Useless Talents for Electric Literature.

Joan Frank spoke with Simon Van Booy about his recent novel The Presence of Absence for Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

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Photo by Yury Rymko