Critical Notes

Reviews and More from NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

NBCC members Charles Finch and Tod Goldberg with NBCC President Heather Scott Partington at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Hello friends! Our members have been hard at work reviewing books by authors including Abraham Verghese, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Jeannette Walls, John Wray, and Katy Hessel, and interviewing writers like Ned Blackhawk, Rick Rubin, and Claire Dederer. We hope you’re having a great spring, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews and Essays

NBCC board member David Woo wrote about home, borders, and exile in an essay commissioned by the Iowa International Writing Program.

Rhoda Feng reviewed Julia Lee’s Biting the Hand: Growing Up Asian in Black and White Americafor The Boston Globe.

NBCC Vice President/Fundraising Anita Felicelli wrote about Percival Everett’s novel Telephone, the May California Book Club selection, for Alta. NBCC fiction chair David Varno also wrote about Telephone and the theme of nothingness in Everett’s work for Alta.

For Kirkus Reviews, former NBCC President Tom Beer wrote about David Mas Masumoto’s Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm and Ava Chin’s Mott Street: A Chinese American Family’s Story of Exclusion and Homecoming.

NBCC poetry chair Rebecca Morgan Frank features seven new poetry collections in the first edition of her monthly poetry column at Literary Hub.

Joan Frank reviewed Abraham Verghese’s The Covenant of Water for The Washington Post.

Kitty Kelley reviewed Jonathan Eig’s King: A Lifefor the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Anne Charles reviewed This Arab Is Queer: An Anthology by LGBTQ+ Arab Writers, edited by Elias Jahshan, for The Gay & Lesbian Review.

Natalia Holtzman reviewed Katy Kelleher’s The Ugly History of Beautiful Things for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Yvonne C. Garrett reviewed Matthew Cheney’s The Last Vanishing Man and Sophie Mackintosh’s Cursed Bread for The Brooklyn Rail.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Mark Edmundson’s The Age of Guilt: The Super-Ego in the Online World for On the Seawall.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Fixit by Joe Ide for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph, serving southwest Colorado and the vast Four Corners of the Southwest.

Robert Rubsam reviewed Nocturnal Apparitions by Bruno Schulz and Bruno Schulz: An Artist, a Murder and the Hijacking of History by Benjamin Balint for The Washington Post.

NBCC Vice President/Membership and Technology Chelsea Leu reviewed Justin Cronin’s The Ferrymanfor The New York Times Book Review.

When former NBCC board member Marion Winik got home from an April trip to Italy with a small group of women writers, she wrote “Four Gentlewomen of Cortona, Footloose and Gluten Free” for the Baltimore Fishbowl. She also contributed to the spring book preview for Oprah Daily, and reviewed Jeannette Walls’ Hang the Moonfor The Washington Post.

Jenny Shank’s review of Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Nell Beram reviewed three books for Shelf Awareness: I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin, Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah, and Standing in the Shadows by Peter Robinson.

Charles Green reviewed Ritchie Robertson’s Friedrich Nietzsche (Critical Lives) for The Gay & Lesbian Review and Victoria Costello’s Orchid Child for Blueink Review.

Eric Liebetrau wrote about books that teach us how to embrace diversity for Kirkus Reviews.

For NPR, Ilana Masad reviewed Sarah Cypher’s debut novel, The Skin and Its Girl.

Jim Ruland reviewed John Wray’s heavy metal novel Gone to the Wolves for the Los Angeles Times.

Hamilton Cain reviewed David Grann’s The Wagerfor the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Abraham Verghese’s The Covenant of Waterfor Chapter 16.

For the Los Angeles Times, Margot Mifflin reviewed Katy Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men.

Member Interviews

Rhoda Feng interviewed Ned Blackhawk on The Rediscovery of America for Mother Jones.

Former NBCC board member Marion Winik interviewed Rick Rubin for Newsday.

Clea Simon interviewed Shubha Sunder for a “Story Behind the Book” feature in The Boston Globe.

Nell Beram interviewed Claire Dederer for Shelf Awareness.

Dean Rader was interviewed by Narrative and Poets & Writers about his new book, Before the Borderless: Dialogues with the Art of Cy Twombly (Copper Canyon Press).

Member News

Rebecca Donner, who won the NBCC Award for Biography for her 2021 book All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler, has been named a 2023-2024 Radcliffe Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. As a Lisa Goldberg Fellow, she will devote herself to her next book, a genre-defying biography of political activist Sophie Scholl.

Randall Mann’s new book, Deal: New and Selected Poems, will be published Tuesday, May 9, by Copper Canyon Press.

Dan Kois sold his second novel, Hampton Heights: One Harrowing Night in the Most Haunted Neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Harper Perennial. Dan’s debut novel, Vintage Contemporaries, was published in January.

Paul Zakrzewski is releasing the second season of The Book I Had to Write, a podcast that highlights nonfiction writing, every other Tuesday starting on May 9. This season will focus on Canadian authors, including episodes with Josh Lambert, Susan Olding, Stephen Marche, Julija Sukys, and others. 

Martin H. Levinson’s new book, Lunch with the American People: Satirical Food for Thought, was published on March 31 by NeoPoiesis Press.