New NBCC Reads: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Conjugal Love

by James Marcus | Mar-25-2010

We are now in our second year of "NBCC Reads." This survey allows us to draw on the bookish expertise of our membership, along with former NBCC winners and nominees. Three times a year, we pose a question and post the results here on Critical Mass. We do not tabulate votes or rank the titles under discussion. Instead, we simply give an idea of the authors or particular titles that seem to be tickling the collective fancy of the organization. We will also post specific responses as "Long Tail" entries on the blog, and hope to sponsor related panels from coast to coast. (Let us know if you'd like to set one up in your community.)

Now, for the current question. Which work of fiction or nonfiction has the smartest things to say about conjugal love?

A bit of clarification: we are interpreting the phrase in its broadest sense--no marriage license required. Think Updike's Rabbit trilogy, Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety, Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres, just about anything by Alice Munro, The Good Soldier, Diana Athill's Somewhere Towards the End, just about anything by Saul Bellow (for a jaundiced view), Jane Gardam's Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat, Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road, Phyllis Rose's Parallel Lives, reams of poetry by Robert Lowell or Sylvia Plath or Stanley Kunitz, Mark Doty or Rachel Zucker.... These books are about many things, but they all have something profound to say about the deep comforts and dizzying compromises of conjugal life.

New or old titles are all eligible, and we encourage you to send along a few sentences explaining your choice (or choices).

Please send all responses to nbccreads@bookcritics.org. Given the volume of responses, we will not be acknowledging your emails, but rest assured, they will be read with maniacal attention and curiosity.

The deadline is April 20. We look forward to hearing from you!




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).

Subscribe

SIGN UP FOR CRITICAL NOTES





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

NBCC 2013 Finalists Reading

Video: New Literary Journals

Video: The VIDA Count and Gender Bias in Book Reviewing

Podcast: What Is Criticism? NBCC Winners and Finalists at AWP

All videos and podcasts.