Memoirists, diarists, and, of course, George Saunders

by Laurie Hertzel | Feb-06-2017

George Saunders

In her global books column for, NBCC Vice President/Online Jane Ciabattari recommends George Saunders' first novel (and Ethel Rohan's), plus a "gritting, surprisingly disarming portrait of the grim Stalinist era," Steve Erickson's audacious futuristic novel and Christina Baker Kline's new novel, inspired by Andrew Wyeth's best-known painting. 

NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn sums up eighteen years as book editor of the Seattle Times.

For Newsday, board member Marion Winik reviews Ayelet Waldman's memoir about using LSD to control her depression.

Board member Laurie Hertzel writes a column about books that Donald Trump--a non-reader--should read. She also writes about J.K. Rowling's Twitter war with pro-Trump trolls, and she reviews Alexis Peri's nonfiction book, "The War Within: Diaries from the Siege of Leningrad." All for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Adam Morgan interviewed Min Jin Lee for Bookpage, and Kathleen Rooney for the Chicago Review of Books. And also for the Chicago Review of Booke, he looked at a century's worth of data to determine how often Best Picture nominees and winners are based on books at the Oscars.

Gerald Bartell interviewed Patricia Bosworth about her memoir, "The Men in My Life," for Kirkus.

Michael Magras reviewed "Homesick for Another World" by Ottessa Moshfegh for the Houston Chronicle.

The NBCC is a literary partner at this week's AWP17 conference in Washington, D.C. (celebrating the AWP's fiftieth year). If you're at the conference,  check out the National Book Critics Circle bookfair booth (313), play Name that Author quiz to win books, and check out our Friday afternoon panel on the Art of Criticism, with Maureen Corrigan, Margo Jefferson, Carlos Lozada and Walton Muyumba, moderated by NBCC president Tom Beer.   (Details here.)

Your reviews seed this roundup. Please send items, ncluding news about your new publications and recent honors, to Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password. Please do not send embedded links, but include your name, the publication, a description of your article, and a URL.

About the Critical Mass Blog

Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).



Categories & Archives

Become a Friend of the NBCC

Upcoming Events

NBCC at AWP18: March 09th, 2018

NBCC Finalists’ Reading: March 14th, 2018

NBCC Awards Ceremony and Reception: March 15th, 2018

NBCC Awards

Award Winners for 2016

See all award winners

Find out how to submit

Read how we select

Frequently Asked Questions

Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2016 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2015 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2015 Finalists Reading

NBCC 2014 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2013 Awards Ceremony

All videos and podcasts.