Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

Friends, we hope you’re having a good fall so far! Our members have been keeping busy with reviews of books by authors including Sigrid Nunez, Alice McDermott, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Gay Talese, and Mary Ruefle, and interviews with writers like Henry Winkler, Naomi Alderman, Marie NDiaye, and Curtis Chin. Stay safe, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Meena Venkataramanan wrote about Jeff Yang’s The Golden Screen for The Boston Globe.

DW McKinney reviewed Karida L. Brown and Charly Palmer’s The New Brownies’ Book: A Love Letter to Black Families for Mutha Magazine.

NBCC board member David Woo wrote a roundup of seven new poetry collections, including titles by Tomas Tranströmer, Ishion Hutchinson, and Nick Flynn, for Literary Hub.

Priscilla Gilman reviewed The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez for The Boston Globe.

NBCC Vice President/Secretary Colette Bancroft reviewed Michael Connelly’s Resurrection Walkfor the Tampa Bay Times.

Jen A. Miller reviewed Caster Semenya’s The Race to Be Myself for The New York Times Book Review.

Former NBCC board member Marion Winik wrote a story about her attendance at the recent Kirkus Prize gala in her column at Baltimore Fishbowl.

Hannah Joyner reviewed Ashes and Stones: A Journey Through Scotland in Search of Women Hunted as Witches by Allyson Shaw for Open Letters Review.

Jake Casella Brookins reviewed Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché’s Prophetfor Locus.

Michael Sims reviewed Carl Safina’s Alfie and Mefor The Washington Post.

NBCC lifetime member Fran Hawthorne reviewed Alice McDermott’s Absolutionfor the New York Journal of Books.

Joanne Diaz reviewed Ore Choir by Katy Didden, Hotel Almighty by Sarah J. Sloat, and Yellow Rain by Mai Der Vang in the latest print issue of Spoon River Poetry Review.

Celia McGee reviewed Viet Thanh Nguyen’s A Man of Two Faces for Air Mail.

NBCC board member Lauren LeBlanc reviewed Courtney Thorsson’s The Sisterhoodfor the Los Angeles Times.

Eric Olson reviewed Colson Whitehead’s Crook Manifestofor Bridge Eight.

Diane Scharper reviewed The Outsider: The Life and Work of Lafcadio Hearn by Steve Kemme for The Washington Examiner.

Brian Tanguay reviewed Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s Tyranny of the Minority for the California Review of Books

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Lori Rader-Day’s The Death of Us for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph covering southwest Colorado and the Four Corners of the Southwest.

Paul Wilner reviewed Gay Talese’s Bartleby & Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener for ZYZZYA.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Alice McDermott’s Absolutionfor The Washington Post and Ed Park’s Same Bed Different Dreamsfor The New York Times Book Review.

Kevin Anthony Brown wrote about Darryl Pinckney’s Come Back in Septemberfor the New English Review.

Jim Schley reviewed Mary Ruefle’s The Book in Seven Days.

Cory Oldweiler reviewed Sandy Winterbottom’s The Two-Headed Whale for the Boston Globe and Ed Park’s Same Bed Different Dreams for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Daniel Finkelstein’s Two Roads Home for the Forward.

Yvonne C. Garrett reviewed Naomi Alderman’s The Future and Sigrid Nunez’s The Vulnerables for The Brooklyn Rail.

Member Interviews

Laura Villareal interviewed jo reyes-boitel on their latest book, the matchstick litanies (Mouthfeel Press), for Letras Latinas Blog 2.

For The Boston Globe, Priscilla Gilman wrote a profile of Henry Winkler on the publication of his new memoir, Being Henry.

Eric Olson interviewed Naomi Alderman about her latest novel, The Future, for The Seattle Times.

NBCC Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari’s conversation with French-Senegalese author Marie NDiaye touches on the twists and turns of her latest novel, Vengeance Is Mine, and how her work has been influenced by Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates. 

Michael S. Glaser interviewed NBCC member Elizabeth Lund about her book, Un-Silenced, for NewTV.

NBCC Vice President/Secretary Colette Bancroft interviewed Michael Connelly—who, among other things, talked about donating $1 million to PEN America for a new center in Florida to fight book bans—for the Tampa Bay Times.

Tiffany Troy interviewed Mary Jo Bang about her latest poetry collection, A Film in Which I Play Everyone, for Rain Taxi.

Kathleen Rooney interviewed James Kennedy for The Brooklyn Rail.

Paul Wilner interviewed Stanford neuroscientist Robert M. Sapolsky about Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will for the Nob Hill Gazette.

Elaine Szewczyk profiled Laurie Frankel for Publishers Weekly.

Meena Venkataramanan interviewed Curtis Chin for The Washington Post.

Member News

Roxana Robinson’s novel Leavingwill be published by W.W. Norton in February. Reviewers interested in getting an advance copy can write to Gina Savoy at

“typewriter” by Bob Doran is licensed under CC BY 2.0.