Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we hope you’re doing well! Our members have been keeping busy this month with reviews of books by authors including Nina MacLaughlin, Anthony Veasna So, Paul Lynch, and Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow, and interviews with writers such as Jamila Minnicks, Kate Christensen, and Daniel Mason.

We’d also like to remind you that the NBCC has decided to extend our fundraising drive through the end of the year! As a token of our appreciation, we are sending donors who contribute $50 or more, new NBCC t-shirts featuring original artwork by a New York artist. Donors who contribute $1,000 or more at the VIP level will receive a mention in our awards program in the coming year and will also be thanked from the stage of the awards in March 2024. We hope you’ll give generously here, or by texting books to +16507196917!

Member Reviews/Essays

Heather Treseler reviewed Nina MacLaughlin’s Winter Solstice and Maggie Millner’s Couplets for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Elizabeth Bishop’s Postcards for On the Seawall.

NBCC board member May-lee Chai reviewed Anthony Veasna So’s posthumously published second book, Songs on Endless Repeat, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and reviewed three short story collections for the New York Times Book Review: Jeannette Winterson’s Night Side of the River; Paul Yoon’s The Honey and the Hive; and Louise Kennedy’s The End of the World is a Cul De Sac.

Cory Oldweiler reviewed Judith Tick’s biography Becoming Ella Fitzgerald for The Boston Globe.

NBCC Vice President/Secretary Colette Bancroft reviewed Paul Lynch’s Prophet Songfor the Tampa Bay Times.

Dan Kois wrote about his favorite books of 2023 for Slate.

For NPR, Ilana Masad reviewed Michelle Porter’s debut novel, A Grandmother Begins the Story, and for Them, she shared some of her favorite LGBTQ books that came out in 2023

NBCC board member Rebecca Morgan Frank’s December poetry roundup is live at Literary Hub

Julia M. Klein reviewed Liz Cheney’s Oath and Honor for the Los Angeles Times.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed Edward Ayers’ American Visions: The United States,1800-1860 for The Wall Street Journal and Theresa Levitt’s Elixir: The Story of a Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life for Chapter 16

For Alta’s California Book Club, NBCC Vice President/Fundraising Anita Felicelli wrote about San Francisco’s Arion Press.

Carl Hoffman reviewed Harry L. MacLean’s Starkweather: The Untold Story of the Killing Spree That Changed America for The Washington Post.

Former NBCC board member and recipient of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Steven G. Kellman reviewed Anka Muhlstein’s Camille Pissarro: The Audacity of Impressionism for the Forward.

Martha Anne Toll contributed four entries to NPR’s 2023 Books We Love:  Bernardine Watson’s Transplant, Marina Harss’ The Boy From Kyiv, Sonora Jha’s The Laughter, and Ilyon Woo’s Master Slave Husband Wife. She also reviewed Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow’s All the Little Bird-Hearts for NPR.

Dan Kubis reviewed Anthony Veasna So’s Songs on Endless Repeat for the Chicago Review of Books.

David Starkey wrote “From Acre to Zagajewski: 31 Outstanding Poetry Books from 2023” for the California Review of Books. The editorial staff of the review also offered a list of the 10 best books of 2023.

Former NBCC board member Marion Winik’s latest The Weekly Readerpodcast at NPR discusses The Times by Adam Nagourney and Gator Country by Rebecca Renner.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Daughter of Ashes by Ilaria Tuti, translated by Ekin Oklap, and The City of the Living by Nicola Lagioia, translated by Ann Goldstein, for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph serving southwest Colorado and the Four Corners of the Southwest.

Laura B. McGrath reviewed Lauren Groff’s The Vaster Wilds for Public Books.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow’s All the Little Bird-Hearts for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Shani Friedman reviewed Gary Gulman’s Misfit: Growing Up Awkward In the ‘80s for TC Jewfolk.

Nell Beram reviewed two books for Shelf Awareness: The Second Stranger by Martin Griffin and A Very Inconvenient Scandal by Jacquelyn Mitchard. She also wrote “Reluctantly ‘Cuddles’: On S. Z. Sakall,” a look at The Story of Cuddles, the long-forgotten 1954 memoir of a beloved character actor from Hollywood’s golden age, for Bright Lights Film Journal.

Diane Josefowicz reviewed The Enlightenment of Katzuo Nakamatsu by Augusto Higa Oshiro, translated by Jennifer Shyue, for Suspect.

Eric Liebetrau wrote about Anthony Veasna So’s Songs on Endless Repeat for Kirkus Reviews.

NBCC Vice President/Emerging Critics Fellowship and Online Michael Schaub wrote about 25 must-read books published by independent presses in 2023 for the Orange County Register.

Member Interviews

For the Write-minded podcast, Grant Faulkner interviewed Jamila Minnicks about her new novel, Moonrise Over New Jessup, as well as Deepa Anappara and Taymour Soomro, the co-editors (and contributors to) Letters to a Writer of Color.

NBCC Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari’s Literary Hub conversation with Kate Christensen about her new novel, Welcome Home, Stranger, focused on allowing characters to tell their own stories. 

For her Esquire debut, Ilana Masad interviewed Debbie Urbanski about her novel After World

NBCC Vice President/Fundraising Anita Felicelli wrote a profile of Daniel Mason in connection with his novel North Woods.

Julia M. Klein interviewed Wharton professor Adam Grant about his book Hidden Potential for The Pennsylvania Gazette.

Member News

Nina Palattella’s short story “5150” appeared in the newest issue of Gordon Square Review, an online literary magazine.

Amy Yee’s Far from the Rooftop of the World: Travels among Tibetan Refugees on Four Continentswas reviewed at The Economistand The Boston Globe.

“Cafebrería” by Aquiles Carattino is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.