Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we’re looking forward to our annual National Book Critics Awards later this month! While the tickets to our finalists reading and post-ceremony reception have all sold out, we do still have limited tickets available for the ceremony, Thursday, March 21, 6:30 pm (doors open at 6:00pm), at The New School Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, New York. Can’t make it to Manhattan? No worries—the ceremony will be livestreamed here. We hope to see you there!

In the meantime, our members have been very busy this past week, with reviews of books by authors including Percival Everett, Sloane Crosley, Xochitl Gonzalez, Lucas Rijneveld, Tommy Orange, and (much, much) more, and interviews with writers such as Steve Coll, Kazim Ali, and Javier Zamora. We hope you’re enjoying the last days of Spring, and as always, thanks for reading!

Member Reviews/Essays

Bill Thompson reviewed Phillip Lopate’s A Year and a Day for the Los Angeles Review of Books and Ingrid Robeyns’ Limitarianism: The Case Against Extreme Wealth for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier.

Ron Slate reviewed Trace Evidence by Charif Shanahan, On Giving Up by Adam Phillips, and Tell by Jonathan Buckley in “Book Notes” at On The Seawall.

NBCC Vice President/Secretary Colette Bancroft reviewed Percival Everett’s James for the Tampa Bay Times.

Celia McGee wrote about Cristina Henriquez and her new novel, The Great Divide, for The New York Times.

Aiden Hunt reviewed Diane Seuss’s new book, Modern Poetry, for NewPages.

Carole V. Bell reviewed Xochitl Gonzalez’s Anita de Monte Laughs Last, and wrote a roundup of new romantic fiction by authors who have historically been marginalized in the genre, for NPR.

Briallen Hopper reviewed Reading Genesis by Marilynne Robinson for The New Republic.

Former NBCC President Kate Tuttle reviewed Alex Hortis’ The Witch of New Yorkfor The New York Times Book Review.

Tahneer Oksman reviewed Sloane Crosley’s Grief Is for People for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Lanie Tankard reviewed The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft for On the Seawall

NBCC board member Joanna Scutts reviewed Katie Rogers’ American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, From Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden for The New York Times Book Review.

Megan Milks reviewed My Heavenly Favorite by Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison, for 4Columns.

Tara Cheesman remembered The Village Voice in her review of Tricia Romano’s The Freaks Came Out to Write: The Definitive History of The Village Voice, the Radical Paper that Changed American Culture for Ron Slate’s On the Seawall. She also wrote about the “Academia” interior trend for Foxtail Books & Library Services.

Rebecca Ruth Gould reviewed Maya Wind’s Towers of Ivory and Steel: How Israeli Universities Deny Palestinian Freedomfor The New Arab.

Holly Genovese reviewed Ghosts Over the Boiler: Voices from Alabama’s Death Row, by Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty and edited by Katie Owens-Murphy, for the Alabama Writers Forum.

Charles Green reviewed two books for The Gay & Lesbian Review: Darius Stewart’s Be Not Afraid of My Body: A Lyrical Memoir and Sean Hewitt and Luke Edward Hall’s 300,000 Kisses: Tales of Queer Love from the Ancient World

Douglas C. MacLeod, Jr. reviewed Dominic Haynes’ A Brief History of Francefor Feathered Quill and Anna Gazmarian’s Devout: A Memoir of Doubtfor Today’s American Catholic.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Lauren Oyler’s essay collection, No Judgment, for On the Seawall.

Three of lifetime member Heller McAlpin’s reviews came home to roost at once this week: Adelle Waldman’s Help Wanted for The Christian Science Monitor; a roundup of books about birding—including Amy Tan’s The Backyard Bird Chronicles, Trish O’Kane’s Birding to Change the World, Margaret Renkl’s The Comfort of Crows, and Christian Cooper’s Better Living Through Birding—for the Los Angeles Times; and Martin MacInnes’ In Ascension for The Wall Street Journal

Heather Green wrote about David Ferry’s poem “Some Things I Said” for Poetry Daily.

Gregor Thuswaldner reviewed Cultivating Mentors: Sharing Wisdom in Christian Higher Education, edited by Todd C. Ream, Jerry A. Pattengale, and Christopher J. Devers, for The Christian Century.

Jim Schley reviewed GennaRose Nethercott’s Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart and Other Stories for Seven Days.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed Eliot Weinberger’s The Life of Tu Fu for On the Seawall.

In her Girl Writing column for the Washington Independent Review of Books, Ellen Prentiss Campbell wrote about a couple of favorite poems—and some favorite dishes.

Cory Oldweiler reviewed Helen Oyeyemi’s Parasol Against the Axe for The Washington Post; Lucas Rijneveld’s My Heavenly Favorite, translated by Michele Hutchison, for On the Seawall; and Tana French’s The Hunterfor The Boston Globe.

Jake Casella Brookins Brendan Shay Basham’s Swim Home to the Vanished and Ed Park’s Same Bed Different Dreams for Locus.

Alexander Pyles reviewed How We Named the Stars by Andrés N. Ordorica for On the Seawall.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Marilynne Robinson’s Reading Genesis for The Boston Globe; Colin Barrett’s Wild Houses and Gabriel García Márquez’s Until August, both for the Minneapolis Star Tribune; and Tommy Orange’s Wandering Stars for On The Seawall.

Dan Kubis reviewed Martin MacInnes’ In Ascension for The Brooklyn Rail.

Wayne Catan reviewed Where the Wind Calls Home, by Samar Yazbek and translated by Leri Price, for On The Seawall.

JoeAnn Hart reviewed Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden by Camille T. Dungy for EcoLit Books.

Yvonne C. Garrett reviewed Kelly Link’s The Book of Love and Eliza Barry Callahan’s The Hearing Test for The Brooklyn Rail.

Emma Kantor wrote about the Morgan Library & Museum’s exhibit Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature for Publishers Weekly.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed Alexander McCall Smith’s From a Far and Lovely Country for BookTrib.

Nell Beram reviewed three books for Shelf Awareness: Andy Warhol: A Graphic Biography by Michele Botton; Double Click: Twin Photographers in the Golden Age of Magazines by Carol Kino; and The New Couple in 5B by Lisa Unger.

For The Red Hook Star-Revue, Michael Quinn reviewed The Bloodied Nightgown by Joan Acocella.

Hannah Joyner reviewed Carson McCullers: A Life by Mary V. Dearborn for Open Letters Review.

Member Interviews

For Kirkus Reviews, incoming NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn interviewed investigative journalist Steve Coll about The Achilles Trap, his new book about Saddam Hussein.

Jeff Alessandrelli interviewed Michael Wheaton, Trey Moody, Kazim Ali, and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs for the podcast The Lives of Writers.

For Literary Hub, Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari explored Martin MacInnes’ interest in the mysteries of life and Virginia Woolf’s influence on his psychologically rich science fiction.

Grant Faulkner interviewed Javier Zamora about his memoir, Solito, for the Write-minded podcast.

NBCC board member and Vice President/Barrios Book in Translation Prize Mandana Chaffa interviewed Ae Hee Lee about her collection Asterism for Chicago Review of Books.

Member News

Roxana Robinson’s latest novel, Leaving, was named one of the most anticipated books of 2024 by Oprah Daily, and an editors’ choice book at The New York Times. Former NBCC board member Marion Winik wrote about Leaving for Oprah Dailyand talked about it for WYPR. Leaving was also named Novel of the Week by The Week.

“stacks” by Beth Jusino is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.