The NBCC's 30 books in 30 days
The National Book Critics Circle will announce the winners of its book awards on March 11 in New York City. It has begun counting down the days until that event by posting mini reviews of every finalist that's in the running: 30 books in 30 days.
There are five nominees in six categories, and they're showing up on the site in a random order. One day might feature a book of poetry, while the next could be biography and then fiction, giving the project a serendipitous feel.
Today, Eric Banks makes the case for Rachel Zucker's poetry collection, "Museum of Accidents."
The book is nervy but also disciplined in its open-form unfolding; emotionally very high-keyed but knowingly so; full of great sweep and everyday muck, all integrated into a carefully calibrated series of long, often multi-page works.
Rigoberto González kicked things off writing about "Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector" by Benjamin Moser.
Moser’s fluid and addicting prose rarely falters as he follows Lispector relentlessly from country to country, book to book, headache to heartache, keeping a respectful distance from the private dramas of the writer he admires, but mining thoroughly the subtle nuances and hard-to-find revelations within Lispector’s work. The intersections of fact and fabrication, life and literature, are skillfully pulled apart by this sensitive and intelligent biographer, who highlights, above all else, Lispector’s dignity and creative drive.
Yesterday, John Reed wrote about Gerg Milner's "Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music."
The effect of recording technology is not just an altered perception of the listener; the psychology of the recording process has found its way into the music itself. Milner details a contemporary music that is as much the result of the recording process as the subject of it. As handled by Milner, what could be an esoteric and ancillary subject finds grounding in fundamental questions of what it is to hear, and what it is to experience music.
The idea of reading 30 books in 30 days is a bit overwhelming, but 30 book reviews in 30 days? That's manageable.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: The world's longest outdoor bookcase, created on a beach in Australia by Ikea, to celebrate the anniversary of its Billy bookshelves. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images