Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

The 2022 National Book Critics Circle Awards, New School Auditorium, New York, New York, March 23, 2023. Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

Friends, we hope you’re having a good summer! Our members have been keeping busy reviewing books by authors including Adrienne Brodeur, Jane Smiley, Richard Ford, and Maria Bamford, and interviewing writers like David Simon, Kathryn Bromwich, and Ana Menéndez. Stay cool, stay safe, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Jeffrey Ann Goudie reviewed Adrienne Brodeur’s debut novel, Little Monsters, for The Boston Globe.

For Alta, NBCC Vice President/Fundraising Anita Felicelli reviewed Jane Smiley’s The Questions That Matter Most, and wrote a reflection for the California Book Club newsletter on Hua Hsu’s NBCC Award-winning Stay True. She also wrote about Litquake, San Francisco’s beloved book festival.

NBCC board member David Woo also wrote about Hua Hsu’s Stay Truefor Alta’s California Book Club.

Diane Scharper’s review of the Booker Prize-winning The Promise by Damon Galgut appeared in America Media’s 2022 Spring Literary Review. This Spring 2022 issue of America has just received a First Place Award for Best Book Review section from the Catholic Media Association, which describes the reviews as “polished, intellectual, thoughtful, and pertinent.”

Eric Liebetrau reviewed Bloodbath Nation, written by Paul Auster with photographs by Spencer Ostrander, for Columbia Magazine.

Nan Cohen reviewed Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master, edited by Dana Levin and Adele Elise Williams, from the Unsung Masters series of Pleiades Press, for RHINO Reviews

For the California Review of Books, David Starkey reviewed Lorrie Moore’s I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home.

Joan Silverman reviewed Richard Ford’s Be Minefor the Portland Press Herald.

Tobias Carroll reviewed Andrea Stewart’s The Bone Shard War for, and wrote a column about translated books for Words Without Borders.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Caroline O’Donoghue’s The Rachel Incident for The New York Times Book Review.

Nell Beram reviewed three books for Shelf Awareness: Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley; Stuff Mom Never Told You: The Feminist Past, Present, and Future by Anney Reese and Samantha McVey; and Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult: A Memoir of Mental Illness and the Quest to Belong Anywhere by Maria Bamford.

Carr Harkrader reviewed Rachel Louise Martin’s A Most Tolerant Little Town: The Explosive Beginning of School Desegregation for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Carol Iaciofano Aucoin reviewed Kate Storey’s White House by the Sea: A Century of the Kennedys at Hyannis Port for WBUR’s Arts & Culture

Michael Bobelian reviewed Laurence Jurdem’s The Rough Rider and the Professor: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Friendship That Changed American History for The Washington Post.

Member Interviews

Chris Barsanti interviewed David Simon about the graphic novel adaptation of his book Homicide for Publishers Weekly.

Nan Cohen interviewed poet Sandra McPherson about her 22nd book of poems, Speech Crush, for Poetry Northwest

For their podcast Across the Pond, former NBCC board member Lori Feathers and Sam Jordison talked to Kathryn Bromwich about her debut novel, At the Edge of the Woods, published by Two Dollar Radio.

Clea Simon interviewed Alejandra Oliva for The Boston Globe.

For Literary Hub, NBCC Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari’s conversation with Ana Menéndez (The Apartment) covered crafting a connected cast of characters—and describing the conflicts that brought them to South Miami Beach. 

At InsideHook, Tobias Carroll talked with John Robb about his new history of goth, The Art of Darkness.

Member News

NBCC member Shara Lessley guest edited “The Door Left Wide: Irish Poets in Tribute to Eavan Boland,” which features new work by 22 Irish writers and an afterword by scholar-biographer Jody Allen Randolph, for New England Review. Here’s Shara’s introductory essay on Eavan and the feature. On July 24, Shara will be hosting a celebratory event online highlighting the NER feature and Eavan’s legacy via Vermont Studio Center.