Critical Mass, The Blog of the National Book Critics Circle

NBCC General Membership Meeting May 12 in Chicago

by Tom Beer | Apr-28-2016










The NBCC's 2016 membership meeting is scheduled during BookExpo America in Chicago next month, at the offices of the NBCC's pro bono law firm. Here are the details:

WHEN Thursday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
WHERE Quarles & Brady, 300 N. LaSalle St., Suite 4000, Chicago.
RSVP by May 10 to Tom Beer, with subject line NBCC MEETING

The meeting is open to all members in good standing, but please do RSVP; your name must be on the list with security at the front desk. We plan to go to lunch at a nearby restaurant after the meeting; details to follow.

As a BEA special for lapsed freelance members, you may rejoin the NBCC for just $40 at the meeting on May 12. Pay by credit card or personal check at the meeting.

Please come and hear what the NBCC has been doing, and let us know what we can do better. We hope to see you there!

Best wishes,
Tom Beer

Critical Notes: Rob Spillman, Edna O’Brien, Hope Jahren, and more

by Michele Filgate | Apr-25-2016

Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items, including news about recent publications and honors, to (Current members only.) Please send links that do not require a subscription or username and password.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson interviewed Rob Spillman for the Los Angeles Times, and reviewed Hope Jahren's "Lab Girl" for the New York Times Book Review.

Hilton Als considers NBCC Criticism award winner Maggie Nelson, ending with her acceptance speech at the March 17 awards ceremony.

NBCC board member Greg Barrios has an essay called “Confession of a Counterculture Past” in a new anthology called “The Beatest State in The Union: An Anthology of Beat Texas Writing.”

NBCC board member Michele Filgate writes about Elizabeth Crane and her new book, “The History of Great Things,” for the Los Angeles Times.

NBCC board member Laurie Hertzel interviews Kao Kalia Yang about her memoir, “The Song Poet,” and reviews Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Eligible” for The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

NBCC winner Claudia Rankine is joining the Yale faculty.

Former NBCC board member Katharine Weber reviews “The Stopped Heart” by Julie Myerson for The New York Times Book Review.

Former NBCC board member Karen Long reviews “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren for The Seattle Times.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews “Guapa” by Saleem Haddad for The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Alexis Burling reviews “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and “Alice & Oliver” by Charles Bock for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Julia M. Klein reviews Chanan Tigay's "The Lost Book of Moses" for the Forward.

Jim Carmin writes about Diana Abu-Jaber and her new memoir, “Life Without a Recipe,” for The Oregonian.

Michelle Lancaster reviews “Sunset City” by Melissa Ginsburg for Lone Star Literary Life.

Jennifer Bort Yacovissi reviews “The Human Cost of Welfare: How the System Hurts the People It’s Supposed to Help” by Phil Harvey and Lisa Conyers for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Susan Balée reviews Edna O’Brien’s “The Little Red Chairs” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Nathaniel Popkin reviews “Broken Mirrors” by Elias Khoury (translated by Humphrey Davies) for Public Books, and “Distant Light” by Antonio Moresco (translated by Richard Dixon), “Hill” by Jean Giono (translated by Paul Eprile), “Everything I Learned at the Beach” by Cynan Jones, “Half-Earth” by E.O. Wilson for Cleaver Magazine.

Carla Main reviews “Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back” by Nathan Bomey for City Journal.

Joan Silverman interviews Elizabeth Hand, the author of “Hard Light,” for the Portland Press Herald.

Morris Dickstein reviews three books on Jewish American writing in The Times Literary Supplement.

Harvey Freedenberg reviews Roger Angell’s “This Old Man” for Harrisburg Magazine and Rob Spillman’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties” for Bookreporter.

For Hyperallergic, Michael Leong wrote a piece called “Antiethical Poetics: Recent Books by Joseph Donahue.” 

Gina Webb reviews “Dimestore” by Lee Smith and “Hide” by Matthew Griffin for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Judy Krueger reviews “Innocents and Others” by Dana Spiotta at Litbreak.

Ellen Akins reviews “Margaret the First” by Danielle Dutton for The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

George de Stefano reviews “Fire and Blood: The European Civil War, 1914-1945” by Enzo Traverso (translated by David Fernbach) for PopMatters.

Diane Scharper reviews “The Giveness of Things” by Marilynne Robinson and “Girl in Glass” by Deanna Fei for the National Catholic Reporter.

Carl Rollyson reviews “A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century” by Jerome Charyn for the University Bookman.

NBCC member Michael Orthofer’s new book, “The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary Fiction,” is now available.

Julia M. Klein reviews “Rise of the Rocket Girls” by Nathalia Holt for The Boston Globe.

Joe Peschel reviews “Little Red Chairs” by Edna O’Brien for the News & Observer.

Steven G. Kellman reviews “Kill and Be Killed” by Louis Begley for the San Francisco Chronicle.

John Domini reviews “XX: Poems for the Twentieth Century” by Campbell McGrath for The Brooklyn Rail.

Kevin Zambrano reviews “Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine” by Diane Williams for Electric Literature.

Michael Magras reviews “Orson Welles: Volume 3” by Simon Callow for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Marion Winik in Newsday on Brenda JanowitzMaggie Nelson and Joanna Connors, and Charles Bock, and in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, by Laura Tillman.

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