Critical Notes

Reviews and More from NBCC Members

By David Varno

Photo of bookcases in background

Remember to keep up with our 30 Books in 30 Days series, where we will be spotlighting the finalists for the 2022 NBCC Awards in the weeks leading up to the awards ceremony on March 23rd. Today, here’s former Critical Notes editor Jennie Hann with a stellar piece on biography finalist Aaron Sachs’s Up from the Depths: Herman Melville, Lewis Mumford, and Rediscovery in Dark Times (Princeton University Press). Thanks for reading!

Also, a reminder about two exciting NBCC events:

First, on 2/16, Trans Literature Now with Gabriel, C. Riley Snorton, Denne Michele Norris, Casey Plett, and Neon Yang in discussion with moderator Jo Livingstone. Then, on 2/23, Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow will talk with NBCC member Julie Lythcott-Haims about their book Say the Right Thing.


Colette Bancroft reviewed Salman Rushdie’s Victory City for the Tampa Bay Times.

Angela Ajayi reviewed Gothataone Moeng’s Call and Response, a collection of short stories set in Botswana, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Carole Bell reviewed Sadeqa Johnson’s historical novel The House of Eve for the Washington Post.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson reviewed Miriam Darlington’s The Wise Hours for the Washington Post.

Yvonne C. Garrett reviewed Asja Bakić’s Sweetlust for the Brooklyn Rail.

Fran Hawthorne reviewed Wendell Steavenson’s Margot for the New York Journal of Books.

For TheWall Street Journal, Christopher Irmscher reviewed Miriam Darlington’s The Wise Hours: A Journey into the Wild and Secret World of Owls.

Patricia Schultheis reviewed A Left Handed Woman: Essays for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

For the Washington Post, Lauren LeBlanc reviewed Dan Kois’s Vintage Contemporaries.

Laurie Stone reviewed Janet Malcolm’s last book Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory for Liber.

Kristen Martin reviewed Dizz Tate’s debut novel Brutes for NPR.

Jayne Marek reviewed Joanne Durham’s To Drink from a Wider Bowl for CALYX.

For The Nation, Tara K. Menon reviewed Édouard Louis’s Who Killed My Father and A Woman’s Battles and Transformations.

Carole Burns reviewed Celia Paul’s Letters to Gwen John for Wales Arts Review.

For NPR, Barbara J. King reviewed Greta Thunberg’s The Climate Book.

Marc Weingarten reviewed John Higgs’ new book Love and Let Die for the Los Angeles Times.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed Terri-Lynne DeFino’s Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story for BookTrib.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Patricia Engel’s The Faraway World for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Haruki Murakami’s Novelist as a Vocation for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

For Alta’s California Book Club, Hamilton Cain revisited Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Less, reflecting on its links to Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Marina Enriquez’s Our Share of Night, translated by Megan McDowell, for the Washington Post.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Charles Lambert’s Birthright for the Durango Telegraph.

Kitty Kelley reviewed Ilyon Woo’s Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom for the Washington Independent Review of Books.


Carole Bell profiled Percival Everett and Brandon Jacob-Jenkins for Oprah Daily.

For Literary Hub, Lauren LeBlanc spoke with Priscilla Gilman about her new memoir The Critics Daughter.

Nina Palattella spoke with Oleksandr Shatokhin, author of the picture book Yellow Butterfly: A Story from Ukraine; and Angus Yuen-Killick, the publisher of Red Comet Press, for Kirkus.

Chris Wolak and Emily Fine talked to debut novelist Jenna Miller about her new book Out of Character for the Book Cougars podcast.

For Publishers Weekly, Elaine Szewczyk talked to Dennis Lehane about his new novel Small Mercies. Szweczyk also profiled Gail Tsukiyama, author of The Brightest Star.

For Salvation South Magazine, Rod Davis profiled culinary historian and author John Martin Taylor, whose new memoir is Charleston to Phnom Penh: A Cook’s Journal.

Member News

José Manuel Cardona’s Birnam Wood, translated by Hélène Cardona, won the 2022 NYC Big Book Award.

Connie Post’s 3rd full length collection Between Twilight is released from New York Quarterly Books.

Board Member Lori Feathers, Director of the Republic of Consciousness Prize for small presses in the US and Canada, announced the longlisted titles for the 2022 Prize.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s new book Between Starshine and Clay: Conversations from the African Diaspora was published in the US last week.

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Photo by Ricardo Esquivel