Critical Mass, The Blog of the National Book Critics Circle

Scads of book reviews and more from our members this week

by Carolyn Kellogg | Aug-25-2019

NBCC board president Laurie Hertzel, senior editor for books at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, wrote her weekly column about writers' bookshelves and reviewed the essay collection, Apple, Tree, edited by Lise Funderburg.

Board member Mark Athitais reviewed Caleb Crain's novel Overthrow for the Washington Post

Former former board member and Balakian recipient Steven G. Kellman reviewed The Weil Conjectures by Karen Olsson for the Texas Observer. and discussed translation with Open Letter publisher Chad Post

Former board member Colette Bancroft reviewed Edwidge Danticat's new short story collection, Everything Inside, at the Tampa Bay Times, where Bancroft is Book Editor.

At the Washington Post, Elizabeth Lund recommended new poetry collections by Joy Harjo, Carmen Giménez Smith, Natalie Scenters-Zapico and Tina Chang.

Gayle Feldman remembered Toni Morrison at Publishers Weekly.

Anita Felicelli reviewed Sing a Rhythm, Dance A Blues by Monique W. Morris at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Yvonne C. Garrett reviewed two novels at the Brooklyn Rail: Oval by Elvia Wilk and The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews.

At Inside Higher Ed, Scott McLemee reviewed Charles Pappas's One Giant Leap: Iconic and Inspiring Space Race Inventions That Shaped History and Peter Martin's The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language.

Diana Arterian reviewed the poetry collection A Sand Book by Ariana Reines for the NY Times.

Kamil Ahsan reviewed Olga Tokarczuk's Drive Your Plow into the Bones of the Dead for NPR Books.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Philip Caputo's Hunter's Moon for the Chicago Tribune.

Louise Rubacky reviewed Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed by Lisa Duggan for Truthdig.

Karen Schechner talked to Lawrence Weschler about his new book about his friend Oliver Sacks -- And How Are You, Dr. Sacks? -- at Bookforum.

Zack Graham, a former NBCC Emerging Critic, wrote about Nick Antosca's fiction for Epiphany

Tobias Carroll wrote about new novels by Sarah Gailey and Craig Davidson for Mystery Tribune; reviewed Socialist Realism by Trish Low for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; recommended new books in translation at Words without Borders; talked to Nell Zink about her novel Doxology for Bedford + Bowery; and dipped into zine culture at News to Table.

Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers reviewed two books for Foreword Review:  Naomi Shihab Nye’s poetry collection The Tiny Journalist and Emmy Kegler's nonfiction book One Coin Found.

Bridget Quinn reviewed two books for Hyperallergic: Allison Levy’s House of Secrets: The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo and Jori Finkel’s book on artists and the art that inspires them, It Speaks to Me.

Chris Barsanti reviewed The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders at Rain Taxi.

Christoph Irmscher wrote about Rosamund Purcell's photo book Pole Dancing and reviewed Topographical Histories by Robert Polidori in the photo-focused site the Od Review. Irmscher, who is Daniel Aron's literary executor, wrote about the scholar at the Library of America.

Dana Wilde reviewed David Wallace-Wells's The Uninhabitable Earth for The Working Waterfront and wrote about more environmental concerns for Central Maine Newspapers.

Other member news and publications:

Charles Birns' new book The Hyperlocal in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Literary Space is out this month from Lexington Books.

Nathaniel Popkin appeared on the radio program Life is Elsewhere discussing his novel The Year of the Return

Olga Zilberbourg's book Like Water and Other Stories will be published in September by WTAW Press.

Erica Driefus shares the reading list for a class she'll be teaching in 21st Century Jewish Literature on her website; her poetry collection Birthright will be published this fall by Kelsay Books.

Jay Rogoff's poetry collection, Loving in Truth, will be published in 2020 by Louisiana State University Press.

NBCC Board Member Gregg Barrios is profiled in San Antonio's Local Community News.

Photo: The Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, which focuses on the work of the 16th-century printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. Credit: User Simon on Flickr.

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

Funk it up with book reviews and more from our critics

by Carolyn Kellogg | Aug-19-2019

Elaine Szewczyk interviewed Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers about his forthcoming memoir, Acid for the Children, for Publisher's Weekly.

Martha Anne Toll reviewed The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom for NPR Books.

Also at NPR Books, board member Michael Schaub reviewed Tupelo Hassman's gods with a little g. Alexis Burling reviewed Hassman's novel for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Board member Carolyn Kellogg reviewed Téa Obreht's Inland for the Los Angeles Times.

Board member Mark Athitakis wrote about Howard Norman's new novel, The Ghost Clause, for the Los Angeles Review of Books

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Amanda Goldblatt's Hard Mouth for the Chicago Tribune.

Also for the Chicago Tribune, Julia M. Klein reviewed Sarah Valentine's memoir When I Was White.

Jacob Cline reviewed Gretchen McCulloch’s Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language for the Atlantic.

Sarah McCraw Crow reviewed Because Internet for Bookpage, where she also reviewed the novels Marilou is Everywhere by Sarah Elaine Smith and The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger.

Natalia Hotlzman reviewed A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio, translated by Ann Goldstein, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Tobias Carroll reviewed Kimberly King Parsons's Black Light at the Texas Observer and interviewed Cecelia Watson about her book Semicolon at Longreads.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Trisha Low's Socialist Realism for the Chicago Review of Books.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed Michael Patrick Lynch's Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture, at Open Letters Review, where she also reviewed Assad or We Burn the Country by Sam Dahger in July.

Anne Charles reviewed Sara Stridsberg’s Valerie, or, The Faculty of Dreams at the Lambda Literary Review.

Jane Ciabattari interviewed Susan Straight, author of the new memoir In the Country of Women, at LitHub/BookMarks.

Tara Cheesman reviewed Anthony Horowitz' meta mystery The Sentence Is Death for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Theodore Kinni reviewed Robert Wilson’s Barnum: An American Life for strategy+business.

Michelle Newby Lancaster reviewed Rule of Capture by Christopher Brown for Lone Star Literary Life.

K. L. Romo reviewed the YA novel Lizze by Dawn Ius for Washington Independent Review of Books.

Also for the Washington Independent Review of Books, Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Richard Russo's novel Chances Are....

Lanie Tankard reviewed Dottoressa: An American Doctor in Rome by Susan Levenstein, MD, for the Woven Tale Press.

Terese Svoboda reviewed of Stephanie Strickland's poetry collection How the Universe is Made for Tarpaulin Sky.

More from our members:

Svoboda's eighth book of poetry, Theatrix: Play Poems will be published by Anhinga Press in 2021.

Publisher's Weekly called Meg Waite Clayton's forthcoming The Last Train to London "standout historical fiction"; Booklist gave it a star; and it will be on the September Indie Next list. She will also be a fellow at The Writer's Lab woring on her screenplay of the story.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf was interviewed about his novel When All Else Fails.

John Domini was interviewed about his novel The Color Inside of a Melon.

Nicole Rudick wrote about Charles Schulz and Peanuts for the NewYorker online in an essay that will appear in the forthcoming Library of America anthology The Peanuts Papers.

Abby Frucht's book of poetry Maids will be published in 2020 by Matter Press.

Elaine Szewczyk, who started this update with her interview with Flea, also had a humor piece published in McSweeney's

Photo: Flea, bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, right, with singer Anthony Keidis, left, performing in Amsterdam in 1989. Credit Rob C. Croes via Wikimedia Commons.

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From the Critical Mass blog

Scads of book reviews and more from our members this week

NBCC board president Laurie Hertzel, senior editor for books at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, wrote her weekly column about writers'

Funk it up with book reviews and more from our critics

Elaine Szewczyk interviewed Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers about his forthcoming memoir, Acid for the Children, for Publisher's Weekly. Martha

Toni Morrison, Moby-Dick, and lots of late-summer reading

The first and biggest news of this past week was, of course, the passing of the great Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize winner, writer and mentor to so

Toni Morrison in 2015

Toni Morrison was awarded the Sandrof Prize for lifetime achievement by the National Book Critics Circle in 2015, accepting the award at our annual