Colson Whitehead’s stellar return and more books coverage


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At the Washington Post, Ron Charles reviews Colson Whitehead's new novel The Nickel Boys, writing that "it shreds our easy confidence in the triumph of goodness and leaves in its place a hard and bitter truth about the ongoing American experiment." At the NY Times, Parul Sehgal, winner of the 2011 NBCC Balakian award, writes that the book is "a tense, nervy performance." And at the L.A. Times, NBCC board member Carolyn Kellogg wrote about Whitehead and his inspiration for the novel -- the Dozier School in Florida and Trump's election -- as well as the time, as a teenager, he was mistakenly picked up by cops. 

Constance Grady, who covers books and culture at Vox, has recently written about: Fleishman is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner; a new Jane Eyre ballet; Neal Stephenson's Fall; and Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger, "a cookbook that reads like a novel....

Marie Ponsot remembered and a stack of new book reviews


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Poet Marie Ponsot, whose 1998 collection The Bird Catcher won the NBCC award in poetry, died Friday July 5 at age 98. NBCC Board member Tess Taylor penned her obituary in the NY Times.

Martha Anne Toll reviewed When We Were Arabs by Massoud Hayoun for NPR.

Christoph Irmsher reviewed A Spirit of Inquiry by Susannah Gibson for the Wall Street Journal

Julia M. Klein reviewed Catherine Chung's The Tenth Muse for the Chicago Tribune.

NBCC board member David Varno reviewed two books about exile, Springtime In A Broken Mirror by Mario Benedetti and China Dream by Ma Jian for On the Seawall.

Kristen Evans interviewed Sarah Gailey about their debut novel, Magic for Liars, for Kirkus Reviews' Pride issue.

Jeremy Lybarger reviewed The Queen by Josh Levin for The Nation and the photo book April Dawn Allison for Art in America.

Philip Kopper reviewed Tony Horowitz' Spying on the South for the Washington Times.

Paul ...

Critical Notes: A quiet week, but lots to read


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Anna Burns receives the Orwell Prize.

Alexis Burling reviewed three nonfiction books for the San Francisco Chronicle, in honor of Pride week: Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall, by James Polchin; Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men's Lives, by Walt Odets, and Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime, by Alex Espinoza. 

Natalia Holtzman reviewed Checkpoint by David Albahari for The Rumpus.

Steph Opitz interviewed Catherine Chung about her latest novel, The Tenth Muse, for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Anita Porterfield reviewed The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch for Michigan War Studies Review.

John Domini reviewed the novel A Girl Returned, by Donatella Di Pietrantonio, a translation from Italian, for the Washington Post. He also reviewed Life in Suspension, a bilingual book of poetry by Hélène Cardona, in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review.

Tobias Carroll ...

Critical Notes: Aleksandar Hemon, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, and Plenty of Summer Reading


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New member Constance Grady of Vox has been busy, covering Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel City of Girls, Jim DeRogatis’ investigative book on R. Kelly, the Cinderella story, and anticipated summer reading

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Deborah Shapiro’s novel The Summer Demands for the Chicago Tribune. .

Clea Simon wrote about the crime-fiction gender wars for the Boston Globe.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed Louise Candlish's novel Those People and Daniela Petrova’s novel Her Daughter’s Mother for the Associated Press, and Lori Roy’s novel Gone Too Long for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

Allen Adams reviewed Blake Crouch’s novel Recursion and Jason Turbow’s chronicle of the 1981 L.A. Dodgers, They Bled Blue, for the Maine Edge.

Pam Munter reviewed Katy Butler’s The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life for Fourth and Sycamore.

Alexander C. Kafka reviewed Casey Rae’s Williams S. Burroughs and the ...

New from NBCC critics: Elizabeth Gilbert, Nicole Dennis-Benn and lots more


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The latest interviews, reviews and more from our members.

Kristen Evans talked to Elizabeth Gilbert about her new novel City of Girls for Buzzfeed.

Terese Svoboda reviewed Last Day by Domenica Ruta for the NY Times Book Review.

Barbara J. King reviewed Giants of the Monsoon Forest by Jacob Shell for NPR.

Lisa Russ Sparr reviewed three poetry collections at VQR: Sight Lines by Arthur Sze, Honeyfish by Lauren K. Alleyne and Anagnorisis by Kyle Dargan.

Jenny Shank reviewed Nicole Dennis-Benn's Patsy for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson reviewed Franco Moretti's Far Country for Barnes & Noble Review and Ryan Chapman's novel Riots I Have Known for Book & Film Globe.

Lanie Tankard reviewed Christian Kiefer's novel Phantoms for Woven Tale Press.

Nathan Webster reviewed Ryan Leigh Dostie's military memoir Formation for The Daily Beast.

Michelle Newby Lancaster reviewed the novel Cabañuelas by Norma Elia Cantú at Lone Star Literary Life.

Sarah McCraw Crow ...

Critical Notes: Member News, Summer Books, and a Word About the Sandrof


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We Still Need Your Help Selecting the Next Sandrof Award Winner

Do you want the chance to help pick the next winner of the NBCC’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award? We hope so, because we need your help!

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. Thanks to the hard work of our NBCC members, we’ve got a great slate of nominees for next year’s award — but we’d love your help adding some more names to the list!

Any institution or living person can be nominated for the award, and a list of previous winners is available on the ...

Critical Notes: Member News, Summer Books, and a Word About the Sandrof


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We Still Need Your Help Selecting the Next Sandrof Award Winner

Do you want the chance to help pick the next winner of the NBCC’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award? We hope so, because we need your help!

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. Thanks to the hard work of our NBCC members, we’ve got a great slate of nominees for next year’s award — but we’d love your help adding some more names to the list!

Any institution or living person can be nominated for the award, and a list of previous winners is available on the ...

Reviews and more to kick off June from the National Book Critics Circle


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From the NBCC's Emerging Critics:

Just in time for June’s Pride celebrations, Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers reviewed Bruce Cinnamon’s The Melting Queen and Michael Carroll’s short story collection, Stella Maris and Other Key West Stories, both for Foreword Reviews’ LGBTQ+ Spotlight edition.

J. Howard Rosier reviewed Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson for Bookforum.

The Best Translated Book Awards were announced this week, with the fiction award going to Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated from French and Creole by Linda Cloverdale and poetry going to Of Death. Minimal Odes by Hilda Hilst translated from Portuguese by Laura Cesarco Elgin. Here are some reviews from our members of new translated works:

Benjamin Woodard reviewed Duanwad Pimwana's Bright and Arid Dreams, originally pubslihed in Thai, for Words Without Borders. 

Brian Haman reviewed Marion Poschmann's The Pine Islands and Christine Wunnicke's The Fox and Dr Shimamura, both originally published in German, at the Asian ...

Reviews and more to kick off June from the National Book Critics Circle


This post is by Carolyn Kellogg from Critical Mass


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From the NBCC's Emerging Critics:

Just in time for June’s Pride celebrations, Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers reviewed Bruce Cinnamon’s The Melting Queen and Michael Carroll’s short story collection, Stella Maris and Other Key West Stories, both for Foreword Reviews’ LGBTQ+ Spotlight edition.

J. Howard Rosier reviewed Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson for Bookforum.

The Best Translated Book Awards were announced this week, with the fiction award going to Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated from French and Creole by Linda Cloverdale and poetry going to Of Death. Minimal Odes by Hilda Hilst translated from Portuguese by Laura Cesarco Elgin. Here are some reviews from our members of new translated works:

Benjamin Woodard reviewed Duanwad Pimwana's Bright and Arid Dreams, originally pubslihed in Thai, for Words Without Borders. 

Brian Haman reviewed Marion Poschmann's The Pine Islands and Christine Wunnicke's The Fox and Dr Shimamura, both originally published in German, at the Asian ...

Critical Notes: Audiobooks, new books, book reviews, forthcoming books. Or, we might just say, BOOKS


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NBCC board member Katherine A. Powers reviewed the audiobook versions of The Lost Man by Jane Harper, Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman and How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr in her monthly column for the Washington Post. She also reviewed five books about travel for the Post's annual summer books guide.

"There is always one book that I use when I write, something I flip open every morning before I start, reading from any page," NBCC member Roxana Robinson tells former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari for her Lit Hub/Book Marks column. "For Dawson’s Fall, this book was Wolf Hall, in which Hilary Mantel shows that the phrase 'historical novel' needn’t mean stiff, romantic or stereotyped." (And more good news: Mantel, who won the NBCC's fiction award in 2010 for Wolf Hall, has announced that The Mirror and the Light, the third novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, is ...

Critical Notes: Wordplay, Amy Hempel, and Fernando A. Flores


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NBCC board president Laurie Hertzel reviewed Mary Miller's novel Biloxi for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she is senior editor for books. (It's about a dog. And redemption. And middle age. How could she not review it?) She also wrote a recap of the inaugural Wordplay book festival for her weekly column.

Former NBCC president Tom Beer interviewed John Glynn about Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer for Newsday, where he is books editor.

Former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari shares her latest Lit Hub/Book Marks column, in which she discusses five books about trees with Max Porter, including Calvino's The Baron in the Trees and Laura Beatty's Pollard.

And here's Jane’s report from the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, which includes a panel with two John Leonard award finalists (Jamel Brinkley and R.O. Kwon), a courage in publishing panel with newly minted Pulitzer winner Carlos Lozada ...

Critical Notes: David Sedaris, Julie Orringer, and Two Upcoming NBCC Events!


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A Quick Reminder About Sustainers

If you or someone you know wants to support the NBCC’s efforts but isn't a member, we’ve recently launched the Sustainer category. Sustainers are nonmembers who support the next generation of literary writers through our Emerging Critics program and keep our awards, events, and this website humming. More information about becoming a Sustainer is at our membership page.

On to the Links...

So, how’s the book review going? We don’t mean the one you’re working on---we’re sure that one is going just great. We mean the book review as a general endeavor. In response to a recent Harper’s cover story on the alleged death of the book review, Lit Hub invited 14 book critics to weigh in. Among the respondents are NBCC President Laurie Hertzel, VP of Communications Kerri Arsenault, and Emerging Critic Leena Soman.

Speaking of LitHub, we neglected to include a link to ...

Critical Notes: David Sedaris, Julie Orringer, and Two Upcoming NBCC Events!


This post is by Mark Athitakis from Critical Mass


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A Quick Reminder About Sustainers

If you or someone you know wants to support the NBCC’s efforts but isn't a member, we’ve recently launched the Sustainer category. Sustainers are nonmembers who support the next generation of literary writers through our Emerging Critics program and keep our awards, events, and this website humming. More information about becoming a Sustainer is at our membership page.

On to the Links...

So, how’s the book review going? We don’t mean the one you’re working on---we’re sure that one is going just great. We mean the book review as a general endeavor. In response to a recent Harper’s cover story on the alleged death of the book review, Lit Hub invited 14 book critics to weigh in. Among the respondents are NBCC President Laurie Hertzel, VP of Communications Kerri Arsenault, and Emerging Critic Leena Soman.

Speaking of LitHub, we neglected to include a link to ...

Revolution, Ali Smith and Reviews and Conversations From the NBCC


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Why do we delight in fictions created from the French Revolution? Tobias Carroll explores the frisson of fervor or schadenfreude (is there a French word for that?), paying particular attention to Edward Carey's novel Little, at Lithub. Also at Lithub: Fran Bigman talks to poet Deborah Landau about her new collection, Soft Targets, and in her column In Context NBCC board member Lori Feathers writes about Ali Smith and her latest novel, Spring.

Meanwhile, Spring is reviewed at NPR by Heller McAlpin, who reviews Anna Quindlen's Nanaville and Ian McEwan's Machines Like Me for them as well. She's often one of the busiest reviewers in the NBCC.

But this week even Heller can't compete with NBCC board president Laurie Hertzel, who in addition to all she does for us and running the books pages for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, reviewed John Connell's memoir The Farmer's Son; interviewed a high school poetry ...

Revolution, Ali Smith and Reviews and Conversations From the NBCC


This post is by Carolyn Kellogg from Critical Mass


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Why do we delight in fictions created from the French Revolution? Tobias Carroll explores the frisson of fervor or schadenfreude (is there a French word for that?), paying particular attention to Edward Carey's novel Little, at Lithub. Also at Lithub: Fran Bigman talks to poet Deborah Landau about her new collection, Soft Targets, and in her column In Context NBCC board member Lori Feathers writes about Ali Smith and her latest novel, Spring.

Meanwhile, Spring is reviewed at NPR by Heller McAlpin, who reviews Anna Quindlen's Nanaville and Ian McEwan's Machines Like Me for them as well. She's often one of the busiest reviewers in the NBCC.

But this week even Heller can't compete with NBCC board president Laurie Hertzel, who in addition to all she does for us and running the books pages for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, reviewed John Connell's memoir The Farmer's Son; interviewed a high school poetry ...

Sally Rooney is everywhere and other news from the NBCC


This post is by Laurie Hertzel from Critical Mass


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Sally Rooney. Photo by Jonny L. Davies

Sally Rooney. Photo by Jonny L. Davies.

REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS

For the Washington Post, Lauren Sarazen reviewed the book that everyone on both sides of the Atlantic is raving about, Normal People, by Sally Rooney. ("Believe the hype," she says.) Ellen Prentiss Campbell  reviews Normal People, for Washington Independent Review of Books; Heller McAlpin reviews Normal People (and Southern Lady Code) for NPR; Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Normal People (and Barbara Kingsolver's Unsheltered) for the National Book Review; and NBCC board member Madeleine Schwartz reviewed Normal People for New York Review Books. I'm guessing there will be more Rooney reviews next week. Meanwhile ...

NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn interviewed Ian McEwan for the Seattle Times about his new novel, Machines Like Us. ("Future androids," he ruminates, "might develop minds of their own that will be profoundly alien to ours.")

NBCC president Laurie Hertzel reviewed Tucker ...

Sally Rooney is everywhere and other news from the NBCC


This post is by Laurie Hertzel from Critical Mass


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Sally Rooney. Photo by Jonny L. Davies

Sally Rooney. Photo by Jonny L. Davies.

REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS

For the Washington Post, Lauren Sarazen reviewed the book that everyone on both sides of the Atlantic is raving about, Normal People, by Sally Rooney. ("Believe the hype," she says.) Ellen Prentiss Campbell  reviews Normal People, for Washington Independent Review of Books; Heller McAlpin reviews Normal People (and Southern Lady Code) for NPR; Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Normal People (and Barbara Kingsolver's Unsheltered) for the National Book Review; and NBCC board member Madeleine Schwartz reviewed Normal People for New York Review Books. I'm guessing there will be more Rooney reviews next week. Meanwhile ...

NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn interviewed Ian McEwan for the Seattle Times about his new novel, Machines Like Us. ("Future androids," he ruminates, "might develop minds of their own that will be profoundly alien to ours.")

NBCC president Laurie Hertzel reviewed Tucker ...

The Latest From Our Critics: Ian McEwan, Zelda Fitzgerald and Good News for Bookstores


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NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work can 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. 

Man Booker-prizewinning novelist Ian McEwan may be unaware of decades of science fiction stories, books, television and film, as he told the Guardian that “There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future, not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas of being close up to something that you know to be artificial but which thinks like you." Indeed, he tackles the idea of robots and sentience in his new novel Machines Like Me. NBCC member Julian Lucas reviews it for the New Yorker, noting McEwan's ...

The Latest From Our Critics: Ian McEwan, Zelda Fitzgerald and Good News for Bookstores


This post is by Carolyn Kellogg from Critical Mass


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work can 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. 

Man Booker-prizewinning novelist Ian McEwan may be unaware of decades of science fiction stories, books, television and film, as he told the Guardian that “There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future, not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas of being close up to something that you know to be artificial but which thinks like you." Indeed, he tackles the idea of robots and sentience in his new novel Machines Like Me. NBCC member Julian Lucas reviews it for the New Yorker, noting McEwan's ...

Critical Notes: The Sandrof Award, Susan Choi, Miram Toews, and More


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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 ...