In Which I Join the Fold

Since I’ve amassed a tidy arsenal of reviews over the past six months, and, since my litblogging colleagues Mark Sarvas, Lizzie Skurnick, Sarah Weinman, Michael Orthofer, and Jessa Crispin were members, I figured that the time had come to join the National Book Critics Circle and participate in the ongoing critical conversation.

I’m honored to report that I’m now an NBCC member.

There were several reasons why I joined. For one, we’re in the middle of an interesting convergence point, a confused nexus of print and online media in which both parties sometimes wave scolding fingers at each other instead of communicating or meshing with the “other” side. It seemed only natural to join the organizational body that was attempting to put current literary criticism into perspective — particularly as some perspectives are misunderstood, some genres and books are needlessly dismissed, and the future of literary criticism remains somewhat inchoate as layoffs and buyout offers assault working journalists and the remaining column inches devoted to book reviews.

While it is true that I have taken the NBCC to task from time to time (and I certainly don’t exculpate myself from some of the aforementioned finger-waving), I figured that understanding the NBCC from a member’s perspective might permit me to form a more informed opinion and understand where many of its members were coming from.

We’ll see how this all works. In the meantime, I’d like to thank Jane Ciabattari, Rebecca Skloot, and John Freeman for having me on board.


  1. Sell out!

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I don’t really believe in the concept of “selling out” since I believe it’s the individual’s right to monitor their own integrity, as you’re obviously doing so here. I’m not sure you always give others that benefit of that doubt, but so be it.)


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