Run For the Board! Plus Member Reviews and News

The NBCC board for publishing year 2018, photographed at the NBCC awards on March 14, 2019. 

Members, this is the time of year when you can get deeply involved in the NBCC — choosing the winner of the John Leonard Prize, voting for board members (and running for the board yourself), nominating notable writers or institutions for the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime achievement award, and nominating books for our finalist lists. Get cracking! And read on:

NBCC Board Elections Are Approaching! Deadline Dec. 6!

Every year the NBCC’s membership elects eight members to join its board of directors. If you are interested in running for the board, please send a bio and statement of intent (no more than 300 words) to VP Membership Anjali Enjeti by 5 p.m. ET Dec 6. Board candidates must be NBCC members in good standing to run. (Learn more about membership and join the NBCC.) Read our primer on the NBCC board’s work to learn more about what’s involved.

We Need Your Help Selecting the Next Sandrof Award Honoree

Each year, the NBCC board selects a person or institution to win the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and we’d love to have your help choosing the next winner.

The Sandrof Award, named after the first president of the NBCC, is given annually to a person or institution — a writer, publisher, critic, or editor, among others — who has, over time, made significant contributions to book culture. Past winners of the award have included Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, PEN American Center, Studs Terkel and Wendell Berry. The most recent honoree, Arte Público Press, received significant national media attention for their win, including articles in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the San Antonio Express-News, Texas Monthly and NBC. They even received a special citation from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in honor of their victory.

Any institution or living person can be nominated for the award, and a list of previous winners is available on the NBCC website. If you know of a person or group who you think is deserving of the award, please send their name and a 1-3 paragraph nominating statement to Sandrof Award Committee Chair Michael Schaub at mschaubtx@gmail.com. Nominations are open until Dec. 1, 2019. We’d love to hear from you!

The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. The citation is awarded in honor of Nona Balakian, a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle. Since 2012, the Balakian Citation has carried with it a $1,000 cash prize donated by board member Gregg Barrios. Nominees for the Balakian Award must be NBCC members in good standing, and may submit up to 5 book reviews for a total of 5,000 words.  The deadline is Monday, December 9. Compete guidelines are https://www.bookcritics.org/the-nona-balakian-citation-for-excellence-in-reviewing/

NBCC Members’ Choice

Every year NBCC members are asked to nominate titles to be finalists for the book awards in fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, poetry and criticism. Any title that receives 20 percent of the membership’s votes automatically becomes a finalist. Members, check your email for a message on selecting Leonard Prize candidates.

Now, on to the reviews…

NBCC president  Laurie Hertzel curated (and wrote part of) the Star Tribune’s annual best-of-the-year book section, which highlights more than 50 titles, including fiction, nonfiction, picture books and regional books, as well as a top-ten list by some of the paper’s freelance critics. Hamilton Cain selected Peter Orner’s Maggie Brown & Others for the package.

Stephanie Elizondo Griest reviewed Paul Theroux’s travel book On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey for the Washington Post.

Former NBCC Emerging Critic Natalia Holtzman reviewed Fleur Jaeggy’s novel Sweet Days of Disciplinefor On the Seawall.

Eric Nguyen reviewed Teru Miyamoto’s novel Inhabitation, translated by Roger K. Thomas, for Spectrum Culture.

John Domini reviewed Johannes Anyuru’s first work translated into English, the novel They Will Drawn in Their Mothers’ Tears, for the Washington Post.

Kevin Blankinship reviewed Christiane Gruber’s The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images for the Times Literary Supplement and Bewildered: Love Poems from Translation of Desires, a collection of Arabic Sufi poetry translated by Michael Sells, for ArabLit.org.

Gerald Bartell reviewed Sheila Weller’s biography Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge for Newsday.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Debbie Cenziper’s Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America for the Forward and interviewed David J. Silverman for the Princeton Alumni Weekly about his history This Land Is Their Land.

Tobias Carroll wrote about Sylvia Townsend Warner’s fiction for BOMB, featured recent translations in his Watchlist column at Words Without Borders, and reviewed two books dealing with Paris and art for InsideHook.

Kristen Millares Young reviewed Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir In the Dream House for the Washington Post.

W. Scott Olsen reviewed Lauren Walsh’s Conversations on Conflict Photography and Michael Magers’ Independent Mysteries for LensCulture.com.

Gayle Feldman reported on the challenges facing new Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt for the Bookseller.  

Cassandra Luca reviewed Erin Morgenstern’s second novel, The Starless Sea, for the Harvard Crimson.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed Mike Giglio’s Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate for Open Letters Review.

Theodore Kinni reviewed J. Robert Rossman and Mathew D. Duerden’s Designing Experiences for strategy+business; he also rounded up the year’s best management books for the magazine.  

K.L. Romo reviewed John Land’s novel A Time for Murder and Michael Hughes’ novel Country for the Washington Independent Review of Books, and J. Todd Scott’s novel This Side of Night for BookTrib.

Bridget Quinn reviewed the Phaidon compendium Great Women Artists for Hyperallergic.

Jenny Shank reviewed Ruchika Tomar’s novel A Prayer for Travelers and Frank Bergon’s essay collection Two Buck Chuck and the Marlboro Man for High Country News.

James H. Scott reviewed Robert MacFarlane’s Underland: A Deep Time Journey for Wellington Square Books.

Board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Michael Powell’s Canyon Dreams: A Basketball Season on the Navajo Nation for the Washington Post. 

Tony Miksanek reviewed Susan Stagno and Michael Blackie’s From Reading to Healing: Teaching Medical Professionalism through Literature for the Journal of Medical Humanities.

Hélène Cardona reviewed poetry collections by Laura Braverman, Elizabeth Cohen, Blas Falconer, Anne Fitzgerald, and John FitzGerald for Tarpaulin Sky Magazine.

In member news…

Nicholas Birns served as co-editor of The Shrine Whose Shape I Am: The Collected Poetry of Samuel Menashea collection of the late author’s work that publishes next month.

Megan Harlan‘s essay collection, Mobile Home: A Memoir in Essays, won the 2019 AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction and will be published by the University of Georgia Press in September 2020.

Susan Henderson, Lifetime Member of the NBCC, won the 2019 High Plains Book Award in two categories (Fiction and Woman Writer) for her novel, The Flicker of Old Dreams. She was also a finalist of the Edith Wharton Writers-in-Residence program.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

 

Critical Notes: Get involved! Vote! Run! And, while you’re at it, take a look at all this great work.

Image by Rog Walker

Members, this is the time of year when you can get deeply involved in the NBCC — choosing the winner of the John Leonard Prize, voting for board members (and running for the board yourself), nominating notable writers or institutions for the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime achievement award, and nominating books for our finalist lists. Get cracking! And read on:

We Need Your Help Selecting the Next Sandrof Award Honoree

Each year, the NBCC board selects a person or institution to win the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and we’d love to have your help choosing the next winner.

The Sandrof Award, named after the first president of the NBCC, is given annually to a person or institution — a writer, publisher, critic, or editor, among others — who has, over time, made significant contributions to book culture. Past winners of the award have included Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, PEN American Center, Studs Terkel and Wendell Berry. The most recent honoree, Arte Público Press, received significant national media attention for their win, including articles in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the San Antonio Express-News, Texas Monthly and NBC. They even received a special citation from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in honor of their victory.

Any institution or living person can be nominated for the award, and a list of previous winners is available on the NBCC website. If you know of a person or group who you think is deserving of the award, please send their name and a 1-3 paragraph nominating statement to Sandrof Award Committee Chair Michael Schaub at mschaubtx@gmail.com. Nominations are open until Dec. 1, 2019. We’d love to hear from you!

The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. The citation is awarded in honor of Nona Balakian, a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle. Since 2012, the Balakian Citation has carried with it a $1,000 cash prize donated by board member Gregg Barrios. Nominees for the Balakian Award must be NBCC members in good standing, and may submit up to 5 book reviews for a total of 5,000 words.  The deadline is Monday, December 9. Compete guidelines are https://www.bookcritics.org/the-nona-balakian-citation-for-excellence-in-reviewing/

NBCC Members’ Choice

Every year NBCC members are asked to nominate titles to be finalists for the book awards in fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, poetry and criticism. Any title that receives 20 percent of the membership’s votes automatically becomes a finalist. Look for a SurveyMonkey nomination form in your email later this month.

NBCC Board Elections Are Approaching!

Every year the NBCC’s membership elects eight members to join its board of directors. If you are interested in running for the board, please send a bio and statement of intent (no more than 300 words) to VP Membership Anjali Enjeti by 5 p.m. ET Dec 1. Read our primer on the NBCC board’s work to learn more about what’s involved. (Hint: It’s not just the awards.)

Now, on to member news and reviews…

Michelle Newby Lancaster reviewed Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River for Lone Star Lit.

Daphne Kalotay interviewed Peter Orner about his new collection, Maggie Brown and Others, for Memorious.

Anne Charles reviewed Paris, 7 A.M. , by Lisa Wieland for Lambda Literary Review.

Lanie Tankard reviewed Johanna Skibsrud’s essay collection The Nothing That Is for The Woven Tale Press.

Page Hill Starzinger reviewed Brian Teare’s poetry collection, Doomstead Days for On the Seawall.

Hamilton Cain wrote about titles by Valeria Luiselli, Peter Orner, Ann Patchett, Zadie Smith, and Nell Zink for O, the Oprah Magazine’s best books of 2019 issue.

Former Balakian winner Carlos Lozada reviewed A Warning by Anonymous for the Washington Post.

A very busy Sarah Neilson rounded up 15 of the best queer debuts of 2019 for BookMarks, interviewed Lindy West about her new book The Witches Are Coming for Rewire News, and spoke to Margaret Wilkerson Sexton about her new novel The Revisioners for Electric Literature.

NBCC member Jim Ruland profiled Dean Koontz for the Los Angeles Times.

Barbara Basbanes Richter interviewed Peter McGough about his new book, I’ve Seen the Future, and I’m Not Going, for Art & Object.

The totally hip Ron Charles posted a Washington Post Totally Hip Video Book Review of The Andromeda Evolution, Daniel H. Wilson’s sequel to Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, the thriller classic that is now, somehow, 50 years old.

Board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Lydia Davis’ essay collection Essays One for On the Seawall.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed The Fragility of Bodies by Sergio Olguín in his Murder Ink column for the Durango Telegraph in Durango, Colorado.

Diane Scharper‘s review of Long Live Latin, the Pleasures of a Useless Language by Nicola Gardini has been published by the National Review.

Tobias Carroll wrote about Vernon Subutex 1 and unorthodox books about music for Electric Literature, and reviewed Jaed Coffin’s Roughhouse Friday for the Portland Press-Herald.

Meanwhile, former board member Dan Cryer has published a memoir, “Forgetting My Mother: A Blues from the Heartland” (Parafine Press).

Gerald Bartell interviewed mystery writer Catriona McPherson for Kirkus Reviews.

In her latest Second Acts column for the L.A. Review of Books, Lisa Russ Spaar wrote about the poetry of L.E. Sissman and Lynn Martin.

Joan Silverman explores Post-Its, peanut butter, and the stuff of daily life in her essay collection “Someday This Will Fit,” which she discusses with Jane Brox for The National Book Review. Brox is the author of the NBCC nonfiction finalist “Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm” and other books.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

The photo of the folks behind Arte Publico Press, winner of the 2019 Ivan Sandrof lifetime achievement award, was taken by Rog Walker for the NBCC.

 

Critical Notes: Awards News and Member Reviews

We Need Your Help Selecting the Next Sandrof Award Honoree

Each year, the NBCC board selects a person or institution to win the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and we’d love to have your help choosing the next winner.

The Sandrof Award, named after the first president of the NBCC, is given annually to a person or institution — a writer, publisher, critic, or editor, among others — who has, over time, made significant contributions to book culture. Past winners of the award have included Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, PEN American Center, Studs Terkel and Wendell Berry. The most recent honoree, Arte Público Press, received significant national media attention for their win, including articles in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the San Antonio Express-News, Texas Monthly and NBC. They even received a special citation from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in honor of their victory.

Any institution or living person can be nominated for the award, and a list of previous winners is available on the NBCC website. If you know of a person or group who you think is deserving of the award, please send their name and a 1-3 paragraph nominating statement to Sandrof Award Committee Chair Michael Schaub at mschaubtx@gmail.com. Nominations are open until Dec. 1, 2019. We’d love to hear from you!

The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. The citation is awarded in honor of Nona Balakian, a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle. Since 2012, the Balakian Citation has carried with it a $1,000 cash prize donated by board member Gregg Barrios. Nominees for the Balakian Award must be NBCC members in good standing, and may submit up to 5 book reviews for a total of 5,000 words.  The deadline is Monday, December 9. Compete guidelines are https://www.bookcritics.org/the-nona-balakian-citation-for-excellence-in-reviewing/

NBCC Members’ Choice

Every year NBCC members are asked to nominate titles to be finalists for the book awards in fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, poetry and criticism. Any title that receives 20 percent of the membership’s votes automatically becomes a finalist. Look for a SurveyMonkey nomination form in your email later this month.

NBCC Board Elections Are Approaching!

Every year the NBCC’s membership elects eight members to join its board of directors. If you are interested in running for the board, please send a bio and statement of intent (no more than 300 words) to VP Membership Anjali Enjeti by 5 p.m. ET Dec 1. Read our primer on the NBCC board’s work to learn more about what’s involved. (Hint: It’s not just the awards.)

Now, on to member news and reviews…

Jeffrey Ann Goudie reviewed Lindy West’s The Witches are Coming for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Balakian citation recipient Carlos Lozada reviewed Rich Lowry’s The Case for Nationalism for the Washington Post. 

Ryan Chapman interviewed Jonathan Lethem about the film adaptation of Motherless Brooklyn for InsideHook.

Eric Nguyen reviewed Monique Truong’s novel The Sweetest Fruits for diaCRITICS.

Clifford Garstang reviewed Daphne Kalotay’s novel Blue Hours for Consequence.

Jenny Shank reviewed Kevin Wilson’s novel Nothing to See Here for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir In the Dream House for the Boston Globe and Adam P. Frankel’s memoir The Survivors for the Forward.

Board member David Varno reviewed Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic for On the Seawall, discussing how the author’s “blended method of autobiography, criticism, and reportage both echoes and diverges from fellow genre bender Emmanuel Carrère.”

Cassandra Luca reviewed Ali Wong’s Dear Girls for the Harvard Crimson.

Jim Ruland interviewed Hanna Jameson about her dystopian thriller The Last for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Danielle Trussoni‘s latest horror column for the New York Times covers books H.P. Lovecraft and more.

Tobias Carroll wrote about contrarian writing for InsideHook and reviewed Johannes Anyuru’s novel They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears for Tor.com.

Bean Gilsdorf reviewed the anthology Burn It Down: Women Writing about Anger for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Bernadine Evaristo’s Booker-winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, for the Washington Independent Review of Books and Kevin Wilson’s novel Nothing To See Here for the National Book Review.

Melanie Dragger reviewed Good Things Out of Nazareth: The Uncollected Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Friends and Texas Seafood: A Cookbook and Comprehensive Guide for the Literary South.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell‘s essay “Talking Walls,” on “how places turn up in my work and following the vapor trail of memory,” was published in Fiction Writers Review.

Michael J. McCann reviewed The Bellamy Trial by Frances Noyes Hart, a reissue by American Mystery Classics presented by Otto Penzler, for the New York Journal of Books.

Zack Graham reviewed The Complete Gary Lutz for Epiphany.

Grace Lichtenstein reviewed Gail Collins’ No Stopping Us Now and Patricia Marx and Roz Chast’s Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct it? for NY City Woman.

Former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari‘s November BBC Culture column includes new work from Lydia Davis, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Carmen Maria Machado, Erin Morgenstern, and Shannon Pufahl.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed T.H. Breen’s The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America for Open Letters Review.

Dana Wilde reviewed Agnes Bushell’s novel Asian Vespers for centralmaine.com.

Sam DiBella reviewed Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. for the LSE Review of Books.

Jean Huets interviewed clarinetist and composer Bryan A. Crumpler for the November issue of the Brooklyn Rail.

NBCC Treasurer Marion Winik reviewed Mary Gaitskill’s This Is Pleasure for the Washington Post, and wrote a column on titles and subtitles for Kirkus. Her latest book, The Big Book of the Dead was reviewed at Paperback Paris.

Priscilla Gilman also reviewed This Is Pleasure for the Boston Globe.

And in member news:  Kelsay Books has published member Erika Dreifus‘s first poetry collection, Birthright.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

Photo of Jonathan Lethem at the 2012 NBCC awards by David Shankbone, used under Creative Commons license.

Andre Aciman, Edison, queer literature and more new reviews

The latest reviews, interviews and more from our members this week.

Clea Simon reviewed Andre  Aciman’s Find Me , the follow-up to Call Me by Your Name, for the Boston Globe.

Rien Fertel reviewed Paul Freedman’s American Cuisine for the Wall Street Journal and Zadie Smith’s Grand Union for the A.V. Club.

NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Shannon Pufahl’s debut novel, On Swift Horses, for the Los Angeles Times.

Nathan S. Weber wrote about Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr for the Daily Beast.

Kevin O’Rourke reviewed two poetry collections: Timothy Donnelly’s The Problem of the Many at the LA Review of Books and Bohumil Hrabal’s All My Cats in the Michigan Quarterly Review.

Sarah Neilson rounded up 11 anticipated queer books for Electric Literature and reviewed Gabby Rivera’s YA novel Juliet Takes a Breath for the LA Review of Books.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviewed Rajia Hassib’s A Pure Heart for the LA Review of Books and Older Brother by Mahir Guven for Popmatters.

For diaCRITICS, Eric Nguyen interviewed Monique Truong about her novel The Sweetest Fruits.

Ellen Wayland-Smith reviewed Rachel Monroe’s Savage Appetites for the LA Review of Books.

Kirk Walsh came up with 100 Texas-centric books for Texas Highways to coincide with the Texas Book Festival.

For the San Francisco Chronicle, Alexis Burling did a joint review of Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok and The Beadworkers by Beth Piatote, and separately reviewed Jeanette Winterson’s Frankisstein. Alexis also talked to Sarah Valentine about her memoir When I Was White for the Chicago Tribune.

Patricia Schultheis reviewed The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy at the   Washington Independent Review of Books.

Tobias Carroll talked to Deborah Levy at Longreads. He also wrote about Edison by Edmund Morris for Inside Hook, where he also talked to Kevin Wilson about his new novel Nothing to See Here. At Tor.com, he reviewed Benjamin Percy’s Suicide Woods and Stefan Spjut’s Trolls. Additionally, he interviewed MCD executive editor Daphne Durham for Vol. 1 Brooklyn and wrote about Stephen Crane and Asbury Park for Literary Hub.

Michael J. McCann reviewed Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carré and The Night Fire by Michael Connelly for the New York Journal of Books.

Brian Haman reviewed Wang Anyi’s novel Wu Ping for the Asian Review of Books.

Shoba Viswanathan interviewed Sujatha Gidla about her 2017 book Ants Among Elephants for Bloom.

And in more member news:

On Nov. 5, Elaine Szewczyk will interview Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea live on stage for the launch of his memoir Acid for the Children at Powerhouse Area in Brooklyn.

The anthology The Peanuts Papers, edited by member Andrew Blauner, has just been published by the Library of America.

Joan Frank’s forthcoming essay collection Try To Get Lost was reviewed by Publishers Weekly and got a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

C.M. Mayo interviewed Sergio Tronocoso about his short story collection, A Peculiar Immigrant’s Son, at her blog.

On her blog Picking Books, Laura Sandonato wrote about Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

Photo: Armie Hammer  and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics).

Critical Notes: Andre Aciman, Michael Connelly, Ann Patchett, and More

Photo of Hanif Abdurraqib by Andrew Cenci.

Anita Felicelli reviewed Johanna Stoberock’s novel Pigs for On the Seawall, and spotlighted a dozen books that blur genre borders (including NBCC finalist Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go) for Electric Literature.

George de Stefano reviewed Dennis Altman’s Unrequited Love: The Diary of an Accidental Activist for PopMatters.

At Literary Hub, former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari discussed five great nonfiction books with metanarratives with Jeannie Vanasco; five great American social crime novels with Steph Cha; and five great books about criticism with Daniel Mendelsohn.

Diane Scharper reviewed Ann Patchett’s novel The Dutch House for America Magazine.

Jonathan Marks reviewed Daniel Gordis’s We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel, for the website of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

Elizabeth Lund recommends new poetry collections by Nick Flynn, Hanif Abdurraqib, Nancy Naomi Carlson, and Kathleen Graber for the Washington Post.

Benjamin Woodard profiled author Liz Moore, whose novel Long Bright River comes out in January, for Publishers Weekly.

Board member Carolyn Kellogg talked to Michael Connelly about his new book The Night Fire and the TV show Bosch for the Washington Post.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Alexandra Jacobs’s biography of Elaine Stritch, Still Here, for the Boston Globe, and Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill for the Forward.

Alexander C. Kafka reviewed Bill Bryson’s The Body: A Guide for Occupants, for the Washington Post. 

Board member David Varno reviewed Brian Allen Carr’s novel Opioid, Indiana for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, calling it “a near-perfect anthem of disaffected youth in a small frozen town.” He also talked with Tim O’Brien about his memoir Dad’s Maybe Book, and about his method of storytelling, for the Millions.

Allen Adams reviewed Joe Posnanski’s The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini for the Maine Edge. 

For the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Oline H. Cogdill reviewed Charles Todd’s mystery A Cruel Deception; Naomi Hirahara’s mystery Iced in Paradise; and Michael Connelly’s The Night FireShe also covered Steph Cha’s thriller Your House Will Pay and Elizabeth Hand’s historical novel Curious Toys for the Associated Press.

Balakian recipient Scott McLemee recently reviewed a number of books for Inside Higher Ed, including Allison Stanger’s Whistleblowers: Honesty in America From Washington to Trump; Lars Svendsen’s Understanding Animals: Philosophy for Dog and Cat Lovers; Daniel M. Russell’s The Joy of Search: A Google Insider’s Guide to Going Beyond the Basics; and Susan Schneider’s Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind.

Board member Mark Athitakis spoke with Andre Aciman about his sequel to Call Me By Your NameFind Me, for Kirkus Reviews.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Find Me for the Washington Independent Review of Books; Zadie Smith’s collection of short stories, Grand Union, for the National Book Review; and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again, her sequel to Olive Kitteridge, for the National Book Review.

And in member news…

Lydia Pyne reports that her forthcoming book, Genuine Fakes: How Phony Things Teach us About Real Stuff, was published in the UK in early August and will be released in the United States this week.

Zack Graham was interviewed for Literary Hub’s “Secrets of the Book Critics” feature.

Meg Waite Clayton reports that her international bestseller The Last Train to London (Harper in the U.S. and Canada, and coming in 22 editions in 19 languages) received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, and was called “standout historical fiction” by Publisher’s Weekly and “riveting” by member Jane Ciabattari, writing for the BBC.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

Critical Notes: Stephen King, Jeanette Winterson, Edna O’Brien, and More

NBCC president Laurie Hertzel wrote about the question of whether literary awards should be based on the book alone, or on  the author, or some combination, for the Minnesota Star Tribune, where she is senior editor for books. She also profiled writer Tim O’Brien about his memoir Dad’s Maybe Book for the Star-Tribune.

Tara Cheesman reviewed The Night of Rome by Italian writers Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo, translated by Antony Shugaar, for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Balakian recipient and former board member Ron Charles posted a Totally Hip Video Book Review of Jeanette Winterson’s novel Frankissstein.

Sebastian Stockman reviewed Lewis Hyde’s A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Sarah Neilson interviewed Cyrus Grace Dunham about their debut memoir, A Year Without a Name, for Literary Hub.

Melanie Dragger reviewed Pamela Paul and Maria Russo’s How to Raise a Reader for The Literary Child.

For Publishers Weekly’s coverage of the upcoming Miami Book Fair, board member David Varno profiled the ever-charming prince of puke, John Waters, with whom he discussed Waters’s latest book Mr. Know-It-All and his origins as a writer. He also interviewed Nathan Englander about kaddish.com and what drives people to pursue their religious convictions.

Katharine Coldiron reviewed If I Don’t Make It, I Love You, a collection of pieces about school shootings edited by Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman, for the Washington Post; Johanna Skibsrud’s essay collection The Nothing That Is for Bomb; and Jon Roemer’s novel Five Windows for Book and Film Globe. Coldiron also interviewed novelist and essayist Christopher Higgs for Berfrois.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Jac Jemc’s novel False Bingo for the Chicago Tribune.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Mikhal Dekel’s Tehran Children: A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey, for the Forward, and Elizabeth Strout’s sequel to NBCC fiction finalist Olive Kittredge, Olive, Again, for the Chicago Tribune.

At Ploughshares, Laura Spence-Ash wrote about the way time moves in Maria Kuznetsova’s novel Oksana, Behave! and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again, and also reviewed Mimi Lok’s story collection Last of Her Name.

Board member Lori Feathers wrote about Edna O’Brien’s new novel, Girl, and the author’s previous novels as part of her “In Context” series at Literary Hub.

Kamil Ahsan reviewed Bill Bryson’s The Body for NPR.

Balakian recipient and former board member Steven G. Kellman reviewed Benjamin Moser’s Sontag for The American Scholar.

Gerald Bartell reviewed two dystopian thrillers, Rob Hart’s The Warehouse and John Marrs’s The Passengers, for the Washington Post. He also reviewed William J. Mann’s biography of Marlon Brando, Contender, for Newsday.

Dana Wilde reviewed Stephen King’s The Institute in his Off Radar
column in the Central Maine Newspapers and Richard Foerster’s Boy on a Doorstep: New and Collected Poems for the Cafe Review.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Tracy Chevalier’s novel A Single Thread for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Heller McAlpin reviewed Gail Collins’ No Stopping Us NowElizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again and Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything for NPR.

Allen Adams reviewed Zadie Smith’s story collection, Grand Union, and Christopher McDougall’s memoir Running With Sherman for the Maine Edge.

Board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Steph Cha’s debut thriller, Your House Will Pay, for USA Today. He also interviewed children’s author Ashley Bryan about his World War II memoir, Infinite Hope, for Kirkus Reviews.

And in member news, the Women’s National Book Association selected Michelle Bailat-Jones’s most recent novel, Unfurled,  for its 2019 Great Group Reads list, in connection with National Reading Group Month.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

Photo of Susan Sontag by Lynn Gilbert, used under Creative Commons license.

The Nobel Prizes, Elizabeth Strout, Edwidge Danticat and more

Nobel Prize

NBCC board member Carolyn Kellogg wrote about the Nobel Prizes in Literature, awarded to Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke, at the Chicago Tribune. Kellogg also talked to Jeanette Winterson about her novel Frankissstein at the Los Angeles Times.

Joan Frank reviewed Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again for the Washington Post. Priscilla Gilman reviewed Strout’s Olive, Again for the Boston Globe. And Ellen Prentiss Campbell reviewed Olive, Again for Fiction Writers Review.

At his site On the Seawall, Ron Slate reviewed Edwidge Danticat’s story collection Everything Inside.

NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Sontag by Ben Moser for Ron Slate’s On the Seawall.

Also at On the Seawall, Lisa Russ Spaar reviewed two poetry collections: Eyes Bottle Dark With a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets and Father’s Day by Matthew Zapruder.

For Bookforum, former NBCC emerging critic Natalia Holtzman wrote about the reissue of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s 1948 novel The Corner That Held Them.

Jocelyn McClurgh reviewed Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House for Newsday and interviewed Jeffrey Archer for Kirkus.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Chanel Miller’s memoir Know My Name for the November issue of O, the Oprah Magazine.

Tim Riley reviewed the book Country Music, a companion to Ken Burns’ series, for truthdig.

Claude Peck reviewed the novel Girl by Edna O’Brien for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Tobias Carroll wrote about Kevin Barry’s fiction for CrimeReads, talked to Marc Hamer about his book How to Catch a Mole at Longreads,  talked to Victor Lavalle at Guernica, recommended new translated literature at Words without Borders and wrote about two Western-set novels at Mystery Tribune.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866-1896 by Charles Postel at Open Letters Review.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed the mystery Stolen Things by R.H. Herron For Colorado’s Durango Telegraph.

Lanie Tankard reviewed Anita Felicelli’s novel Chimerica for the Woven Tale Press.

Kathleen Rooney talked to Jesse Ball at the Chicago Tribune and Paige Lewis at the Poetry Foundation.

C.M. Mayo’s talked to Cliff Garstang about his new novel, The Shaman of Turtle Valley, at her Madam Mayo blog.

Melanie Dragger reviewed On the Plain of Snakes by Paul Theroux for the Literary West.

Michael J. McCann reviewed The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 for the New York Journal of Books.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

New reviews and more from our members

The NY Public Library.

If you’re reading this online you have probably noticed that our website looks a little different. It’s thanks to a few changes behind the scenes that we’re really excited about. Those reading the newsletter won’t see any difference, but if you’re a member, swing by bookcritics.org, log in and create your own page in our membership directory. It’s a great way to share your latest criticism and other news all in one place.

Now, on to the latest from our members.

Clea Simon reviewed Emma Donoghue’s new novel Akin for the Boston Globe.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed Patrick Mauriès’ Cabinets of Curiosities for the Wall Street Journal.

Martha Anne Toll reviewed Aarti Namdev Shahani’s memoir Here We Are for NPR Books.

Paul Wilner reviewed Matthew Zapruder’s new poetry collection Father’s Day for Alta Journal.

NBCC board member David Varno reviewed Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated by Frank Wynne, for Orion Magazine.

Former NBCC president Tom Beer wrote about reading a short story every day for Kirkus Reviews, where he is editor-in-chief.

Jane Ciabattari, another former NBCC president,  recommends 10 October books at the BBC.

Former NBCC Emerging Critic Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers reviewed Lara Vapnyar’s Divide Me By Zero for Foreward Reviews.

Former NBCC board member and Balakian Prize recipient Steven G. Kallman reviews the 944-page Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas by Stephen Harrigan for the Texas Observer.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed of Kate Wisel’s short story collection Driving in Cars with Homeless Men  for the Chicago Tribune.

John Glassie reviewed Paul Hendrickson’s Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright for the Washington Post.

Ellen Akins reviewed Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry for the Washington Post and Anne Patchett’s The Dutch House for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Tara Cheesman reviewed The Ticking Heart by Andrew Kaufman for Barrelhouse Review and Sergio Chejfec’s The Incompletes, translated by Heather Cleary, for Ron Slate’s On the Seawall.

Kamil Ahsan reviewed Anne Serre’s The Fool and Other Moral Tales for Nylon and Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School for the AV Club.

Zack Graham reviewed Lerner’s The Topeka School at Epiphany.

John Domini reviewed Jokha Alharthi’s Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth, for the Brooklyn Rail.

Allen Adams reviewed three books at The Maine Edge: The Divers’ Game by Jesse Ball, The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Full Throttle by Joe Hill.

Diane Scharper reviewed three memoirs together for the National Catholic Reporter: Inconvenient Memories by Anna Wang, The Farmer’s Son by John Connell, and Knitting the Fog by Claudia D. Hernández.

Yvonne Garrett reviewed two novels together for the Brooklyn Rail: Nell Zink’s Doxology and Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue.

Sarah Neilson wrote about fall books by LGBTQ writers for rewire.news, recommended fall memoirs at Buzzfeed, and interviewed Leslie Jamison about Make It Scream, Make It Burn for LARB.

Jean Huets reviewed Brian Evenson’s horror story collection, Song for the Unraveling World, at Kenyon Review.

Michael J. McCann reviewed Craig Johnson’s new Longmire novel, Land of Wolves, for the New York Journal of Books.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Kate Atkinson’s 2018 novel Transcription and Stephen Chbosky’s new novel Imaginary Friend in the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Joseph Peschel reviewed MacTrump, a mashup of Trump and Macbeth, for the Oregonian.

Michelle Newby Lancaster reviewed Ain’t Nobody Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett for Lone Star Literary Life.

Laura Sandonato reviewed Viktor E. Frankel’s 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning for Picking Books.

Other member news:

Susan Henderson, a lifetime member of the NBCC, will spend the next month writing at the Hawthornden Castle in Scotland as part of a fellowship from the Drue Heinz Fund.

Page Hill Starzinger’s next poetry collection Vortex Street will be published by Barrow Street Press in spring 2020.

An interview Daniel Nester conducted in 1997 with Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun, who died in 2014, has been published in The Critical Flame.

John Domini was interviewed by David Dario Winner in the Millions, about his novel The Color Inside a Melon.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.

Changes!

It’s October 9, 2019, and you’ll see that our site looks a bit different today. We’re excited that we’ve been able to make these initial cosmetic changes and updates. We’ve made even more changes behind the scenes to provide better services for our members.

NBCC members, you haven’t yet, be sure to log in and create your individual page in our membership directory.

Patti Smith, Ann Patchett and more

Patti Smith performing in Finland, 2007
Patti Smith performing at Provinssirock festival, Seinäjoki, Finland in 2007.

Claude Peck reviewed Patti Smith’s Year of the Monkey for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Priscilla Gilman reviewed Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House for the Boston Globe.

Heller McAlpin reviewed Patchett’s The Dutch House and Leslie Jamison’s Make It Scream, Make It Burn for NPR, and Emma Donoghue’s Akin for The Barnes and Noble Review.

NBCC Emerging Critic Rochelle Spencer talked to a number of writers, including Alexander Chee, about the tarot for Lithub and also reviewed Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s The Dark Fantastic for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Michael Adam Carroll reviewed two books for Ploughshares — Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer and The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa — and The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar for The Believer.

NBCC board member Lori Feathers recommends works in translation at Words without Borders.

Zach Graham recommended books on BBC Radio 4.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed Agrippina: The Most Extraordinary Woman of the Roman World by Emma Southon for Open Letters Review.

Hamilton Cain reviewed two books for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Eric Foner’s The Sound Founding and Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light.

Jean Huets reviewed Inland by Téa Obreht at Ron Slate’s On the Seawall.

Lisa Peet talked to Dina Nayeri about her book The Ungrateful Refugee at Bloom.

Jennifer Solheim interviewed Amanda Goldblatt about her debut novel Hard Mouth for The Fiction Writers Review.

Kirsche Romo reviewed the essay collection Burn It Down for the Washington Independent Review of Books; Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff for The Big Thrill; and two books for BookTrib, The Tower of Songs by Casey Barrett and The Ventriloquists by E. R. Ramzipoor.

Former NBCC Emerging Critic Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers reviewed five books for Foreward Reviews: Jung Young Moon’s Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River, Hebe Uhart’s The Scent of Buenos Aires, Maya Ombasic’s Mostarghia, Ronit Matalon’s And the Bride Closed the Door and Margarita Khemlin’s Klotsvog.

David R. Altman reviewed the Robin Williams biography Robin by David Itzkoff for the Pickens County Progress.

Pam Munter reviewed George Takei’s graphic memoir for all ages They Called Us Enemy for Fouth & Sycamore.

ALSO:

NBCC member Kimberly King Parsons’ short story colletion Black Light was longlisted for the National Book Award for fiction.

Meg Waite Clayton’s novel The Last Train to London was published Sept. 10 by HarperCollins.

Clea Simon’s 2017 “World Enough” (Severn House, 2017) was named one of 10 fiction “must reads” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book at their 18th annual book awards.

Jane Ciabattari’s short story “Acqua Alta” was published in Big Other.

Jean Huets’ poetic riff on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was published in North American Review.

NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to NBCCcritics@gmail.com.