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.



April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.