Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, our board members have been hard at work reading all of the finalist books for this year’s National Book Critics Circle Awards, and we’re all looking forward to our ceremony this March in New York. We’d love for you to join us at our finalists reading on March 20 at 6:30 pm Eastern at The New School’s Starr Foundation Hall, and at the awards ceremony on March 21 at 6:30 pm Eastern at The New School Auditorium. Tickets are available here, and remember, if you can’t make it to the ceremony, it will be livestreamed on YouTube! Thanks so much for your support, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Kitty Kelley reviewed Barbara Weisberg’s Strong Passionsfor the Washington Independent Review of Books.

For the New Left Review‘s Sidecar, Hermione Hoby wrote an extensive piece about “the feminist corrective”—reworkings of canonical novels.

Samantha Neugebauer reviewed Len Kruger’s debut coming-of-age novel, Bad Questions, for DCTrending

Hannah Weber wrote “A Natural History,” a personal essay about Alzheimer’s, family, and our changing climate for Atticus Review.

Dan Kois wrote about Michiko Kakutani for Slate.

Priscilla Gilman reviewed Splinters by Leslie Jamison for The Boston Globe.

Diane Scharper reviewed Michael Wolraich’s The Bishop and the Butterfly for the Washington Examiner.

Diane Josefowicz reviewed Rodrigo Restrepo Montoya’s The Holy Days of Gregorio Pasos for Necessary Fiction.

Former NBCC President Laurie Hertzel reviewed Calvin Trillin’s The Lede for the Los Angeles Times, and a trio of memoirs for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The trio includes Slow Noodles by Chantha Nguon, Private Equity by Carrie Sun, and Birding to Change the World by Trish O’Kane.

Natalia Holtzman wrote about how Diane Oliver’s Neighbors came to be published for Kirkus Reviews.

Claude Peck reviewed Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s The American Daughters for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

For Air Mail, Celia McGee reviewed Philip Gefter’s Cocktails with George and Martha: Movies, Marriage, and the Making of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.

JoeAnn Hart reviewed Waiting For Al Gore by Bob Katz for EcoLit Books.

Sarah Johnson reviewed Margot Livesey’s The Road From Belhaven and ReShonda Tate’s The Queen of Sugar Hill for the Historical Novels Review, and reviewed Allison Pataki’s Finding Margaret Fuller for Booklist.

Valerie Duff-Strautmann reviewed Katie Peterson’s poetry collection Fog and Smoke for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

At the Nob Hill Gazette, Paul Wilner wrote a roundup of new work from California women writers including Rita Bullwinkel, Katie M. Flynn, Ethel Rohan, Jane

Smiley, and Joan Gelfand.

Daneet Steffens reviewed Margot Livesey’s The Road From Belhavenfor The Boston Globe.

Brian Tanguay reviewed My Brother, My Land: A Story from Palestine by Sami Hermez with Sireen Sawalha for the California Review of Books.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Stephen M. Silverman’s Sondheim: His Life, His Shows, His Legacy and A. C. Burch’s The Distance Between Us for The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide.

Member Interviews

Elaine Szewczyk wrote a profile of Erik Larson for Publishers Weekly.

Natalia Holtzman spoke with Curtis Chin about his debut memoir, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant, for Hour Detroit.

NBCC Vice President/Barrios Book in Translation Prize Mandana Chaffa interviewed former NBCC board member Diego Báez about his debut collection, Yaguareté White, for the Chicago Review of Books.

Sarah Johnson talked to Mariah Fredericks about her new historical crime novel, The Wharton Plot, for the Historical Novels Review.

Emma Kantor interviewed David Sedaris about his picture book debut, Pretty Ugly, illustrated by the late Ian Falconer, for Publishers Weekly.

Former NBCC President Kate Tuttle wrote the cover story for the March/April Poets & Writers, a profile of Sloane Crosley timed to her new book, Grief Is for People.

Grant Faulkner spoke with K-Ming Chang about her aesthetic, the way she follows language to find a story, and her different notions of plot for the Write-minded podcast.

NBCC Vice President/Emerging Critics Fellowship and Online Michael Schaub interviewed Manjula Martin (The Last Fire Season) for the Orange County Register.

Member News

Jay Rogoff has published a collection of his poetry criticism, Becoming Poetry: Poets and Their Methods, with Louisiana State University Press. The book earned the Lewis P. Simpson Award for an outstanding work of literary criticism. The essays and essay-reviews investigate the work of some two dozen poets and originally appeared in The Emily Dickinson Journal, The Journal of Modern Literature, Literary Imagination, Literary Matters, The Kenyon Review, Salmagundi, Shenandoah, Southern Humanities Review, and The Southern Review.

The Abduction (White Pine Press, 2023), Hélène Cardona’s translation of Franco-Syrian poet Maram Al-Masri, won the 2024 Independent Press Award in Poetry.