National Book Critics Circle Announces 2017 Award Winners

The John Leonard Prize
The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing
The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

‘The Advanced Ward’ on StarShipSofa

starshipsofa-logoA short story I wrote a few years ago that was published in the anthology Veterans of the Future Wars has been recorded as is now available on StarShipSofa, the Audio Science Fiction Magazine.

Check it out on StarShipSofa or listen to it below (the story is introduced by Tony C. Smith and read by Spencer DiSparti):

Thank you StarShipSofa!


My first Amazon order

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It’s a thing. On the internet. People have been posting about their very first order on Amazon. Looks like I bought an audio book as a gift for my father eighteen years ago. Reminds me how much I enjoyed Ed McBain’s novels of the 87th Precinct. He wrote dozens of them. Though McBain—which was a pseudonym for Evan Hunter (which was a legal name change, as McBain/Hunter was born Salvatore Albert Lombino)— may also be just as well known for writing the novel Blackboard Jungle, which was made into the 1955 film.


National Book Critics Circle Announces Finalists for 2017 Awards

IMG_8528.jpgThe National Book Critics Circle has announced today winners of three prestigious prizes and nominees in nonfiction, biography, autobiography, poetry, criticism and fiction. The awards will be announced on March 15.

  • Carmen Maria Machado’s debut story collection, Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf), is being honored with the John Leonard Prize, which recognizes an outstanding first book in any genre. It is named in honor of founding NBCC member John Leonard.
  • Charles Finch is being awarded the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
  • The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award will go to John McPhee.
Here is the complete list of NBCC Award finalists:

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Review: North and Central by Bob Hartley

34748200We had a Zenith television when I was a kid. It was big, bigger than me. When we wanted to change the channel, we had to get up and turn the dial. When the plastic dial broke, or at least the part that connected it to the channel mechanism on the TV, then we superglued the broken bit of plastic back together. We used the dial until it broke, again. We superglued it again. This kept going on until the plastic dial couldn’t be repaired anymore. Then we just risked cutting our fingers against the sharp-edged plastic of the now-exposed channel changing mechanism. We pressed our fingers against it, twisted our wrists and changed the channel. There were only 13 stops on the dial, and only four stations: ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. We made do and we kept that TV long after friends started to buy Sony Trinitrons. Eventually, we got something from Panasonic.

Bob Hartley’s second novel, North and Central (Tortoise Books, 240 pages, $16), is set in a Chicago bar whose clientele consisted mostly of Zenith factory workers and who, no doubt, would mock my use of “clientele” to describe them. “Drinkers,” perhaps, is better? “Strugglers,” perhaps, too, as Zenith is on the decline due to competition from Japan—the entire neighborhood is rough shape. Another name for those workers could be “Trump voters,” which is more about when I read the book than when it was written or its setting a few decades ago in the 1970s.

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