Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, are you planning to be at the Brooklyn Book Festival this week? If so, we’d love for you to join us at our event, Beyond the Acclaimed Debut. NBCC board member Lauren LeBlanc will moderate the panel, featuring special guests Jamel Brinkley (A Lucky Man), Megha Majumdar (A Burning), and Zain Khalid (A Brother Alive). It’s at Community Bookstore at 143 7th Avenue in Brooklyn, Friday, Sept. 29, at 6 pm Eastern. You can RSVP by reserving a free ticket here—we hope to see you there!

Member Reviews/Essays

Cory Oldweiler wrote about Carla Baricz’s translation of Norman Manea’s Exiled Shadow for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and reviewed Daniel Mason’s North Woods for The Boston Globe and Eliza Clark’s Penancefor the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Tamara MC wrote about Sarah Polley’s film adaptation of Miriam Toews’ Women Talkingfor Herizons.

Meena Venkataramanan reviewed Vauhini Vara’s This Is Salvaged for The Boston Globe.

Former NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn reviewed Jonathan Raban’s Father and Son: A Memoirfor the Los Angeles Times.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed Stephen Moss’ Ten Birds That Changed the World for The Wall Street Journal.

In The Brooklyn Rail, John Domini has a long piece on Khaled Khalifa, in particular the new novel No One Prayed Over Their Graves, translated by Leri Price.

Bridget Quinn reviewed Joanna Moorhead’s newest biography, Surreal Spaces: The Life and Art of Leonora Carrington, for On the Seawall.

Elena Sheppard wrote about the audiobook version of Jorge Luis Borges’ Poems of the Night, narrated by Juanita Devis, for The New York Times.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed Judy Rakowsky’s Jews in the Garden and Craig Johnson’s The Longmire Defensefor BookTrib.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Simon Schama’s Foreign Bodiesfor the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Former NBCC board member and winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Steven G. Kellman edited and wrote the introduction to a collection of essays on rejection for the American Book Review.

Sarah McCraw Crow reviewed Lauren Groff’s The Vaster Wildsand Kristi Coulter’s Exit Interviewfor BookPage.

Tobias Carroll reviewed Kat Rosenfeld’s You Must Remember This for the Portland Press Herald.

Wayne Catan reviewed Jerome Charyn’s Ravage & Son for On The Seawall

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Jenn Shapland’s essay collection Thin Skin for On the Seawall. He also reviewed Nathan Hill’s novel Wellness for the Los Angeles Times.

Rhoda Feng reviewed Jennifer Vanderbes’ Wonder Drugfor America magazine and Myisha Cherry’s Failures of Forgivenessfor the TLS.

Harvard Review recently published Patrick Davis’ review of Atsuro Riley’s Heard-Hoard, upon the occasion of Riley being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a literature award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. 

Regina Marler reviewed Ramona Ausubel’s The Last Animalfor the The New York Review of Books.

Brian Tanguay reviewed Kelsy Burke’s The Pornography Wars for the California Review of Books.

Jake Cline reviewed Nathan Hill’s Wellnessfor The Washington Post.

Barbara Spindel reviewed Bernie Taupin’s Scattershot and Loren Grush’s The Six for The Wall Street Journal.

Heather Hewett reviewed Katie Barnes’s Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates for The Washington Post.

Tom Peebles reviewed Sarah Bakewell’s Humanly Possible: Seven Hundred Years of Humanist Freethinking, Inquiry, and Hope on his personal blog and on the American University of Paris’ Tocqueville 21 website.

Charles Green reviewed GlenScott Thomas Copper’s Angels Dance on the Head of a Pin for the Blueink Review.

Heller McAlpin reviewed Daniel Mason’s North Woods for NPR.

For the Duluth News Tribune, Jay Gabler reviewed Maria Bamford’s Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult; and Blood in the Tracks: The Minnesota Musicians Behind Dylan’s Masterpiece by Paul Metsa and Rick Shefchik.

For The Red Hook Star-Revue, Michael Quinn reviewed Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda.

Kristen Martin reviewed Steven Millhauser’s Disruptionsfor Columbia Magazine.

Robert Rubsam reviewed Jaroslav Hasek’s The Man Without a Transit Pass, translated by Dustin Stalnaker, for the Cleveland Review of Books.

Nell Beram reviewed two books for Shelf Awareness: Bartleby and Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener by Gay Talese and We’re Not Worthy: From ‘In Living Color’ to ‘Mr. Show,’ How ’90s Sketch TV Changed the Face of Comedy by Jason Klamm.

Michael Bobelian reviewed Cliff Sloan’s The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Madefor The Washington Post.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Simon Schama’s Foreign Bodies for The Boston Globe.

NBCC Vice President/Emerging Critics Fellowship and Online Michael Schaub reviewed Nathan Hill’s Wellnessfor NPR.

Member Interviews

Dan Kois interviewed Lauren Groff for Slate.

Jim Ruland wrote a profile of Tod Goldberg and his Gangsterland series of novels for the Los Angeles Times.

For the Duluth News Tribune, Jay Gabler interviewed Noah Van Sciver and Marlena Myles, two of the four authors behind Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend.

Tobias Carroll interviewed Sean Howe about his book Agents of Chaos for InsideHook.

Yvonne C. Garrett interviewed Brando Skyhorse for Electric Literature about his new novel My Name is Iris.

Jim Schley interviewed Ellen Bryant Voigt, whose Collected Poems have now been published, for Seven Days.

Clea Simon interviewed Radcliffe Fellow and author Laila Lailami and others for a piece on favorite novels set on college campuses for The Harvard Gazette.

Member News

Ben Fountain’s new novel, Devil Makes Three, launches on Sept. 26, from Flatiron Books.

NBCC lifetime member Greg Sarris has been honored with the Environmental Humanities Award from the University of Utah. Previous recipients have included Amitav Ghosh, Rebecca Solnit, Jonathan Franzen, and Aniya Butler.

New to book reviewing? Looking to learn more and hone your skills? Prolific book critic Ilana Masad, who’s written for The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many more, is teaching a class with Cleaver Magazine: How to Write Compelling Book Reviews. You can read more about the course, which will tackle questions like “What is criticism?” and “What goes into a compelling book review?” or go directly to the sign-up page. Classes will run Wednesdays, October 4-25, 7-9 pm ET/ 4-6 pm PT. 

Nancy Naomi Carlson’s third full-length collection of poetry, Piano in the Dark, will be published by Seagull Books in the U.S. on Oct. 5, 2023.

Mary Mackey’s Creativity: Where Poems Begin has been nominated for the 42nd annual Northern California Book Award (NCBA) in Creative Nonfiction as one of the best works by a northern California author published in 2022.

Richard Deming’s new book, This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us About Creativity, will be published on Oct. 3 by Viking Penguin. Scott Stossel reviewed it for The American Scholar.

Connie Post’s book, Between Twilight, was reviewed by Melissa Ridley Elmes in the Mom Egg Review.