All Must Have Prizes

I am delighted to learn that Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder, his lively and deeply intelligent study of the pursuit of science in the Romantic era, has been awarded the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction. You can read our review of the book, by Dava Sobel, here, and my extended interview with Holmes here.


Three other books reviewed on these web pages were also winners:

Autobiography: Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill. Reviewed by Anna Mundow.

Biography: Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey. Reviewed by Maud Newton.

Fiction: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Reviewed by Anna Mundow.


Other winners were:

Criticism: Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays by Eula Bliss.

Poetry: Versed by Rae Armantrout.


Joan Acocella was awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.



July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).