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Kate Tuttle

Writer & Critic

Kate Tuttle

Writing on books and authors, race and politics, family and childhood.

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The NBCC President on In Cold Blood, White Male Critics, and Reasoned Criticism vs. Promotion

Welcome to Secrets of the Book Critics, a new feature in which books journalists from around the US share their thoughts on beloved classics, overlooked recents gems, misconceptions about the industry, and the changing nature of literary criticism in the age of social media. Each week we’ll spotlight a critic from a different part of the country, bringing you behind the curtain of publications both national and regional, large and small.
LitHub Link to Story
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Salman Rushdie on the opulent realism of his new novel, 'The Golden House'

“I’m on the Technicolor end,” said Salman Rushdie. He was talking about the kind of realism you’ll find in “The Golden House,” his new novel. “If realism goes from Raymond Carver to James Joyce,” he explained, “It’s realism, but it’s kind of amped up, boosted.”. Interviewed in the Manhattan office of his longtime agent, Andrew Wylie, Rushdie was jovial and charming, a voluble conversationalist not only about the art of fiction but also on topics as diverse as the politics of place names and the different ways to grip the paddle when playing ping-pong.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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Tom Perrotta on Sex, the Suburbs, and his new MILF

When Tom Perrotta and his wife, Mary Granfield, sent their second child off to college two years ago, they found themselves navigating a brand new life stage. “Parenting becomes this career,” he says. “You’re in the thick of it, and then suddenly it’s – not quite over, but it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space anymore, and there’s a sense of reassessment of one’s adult life.”.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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For Rob Sheffield, the Beatles Are a Love Story

Growing up in Milton, Rob Sheffield spent a lot of time in the town’s public library, sitting in a chair with big headphones over his ears, listening to every Beatles record he could find. Introduced to the band by his older sisters, Sheffield was a fan from an early age. In “Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World,” Sheffield’s fifth book, he writes about what he calls “the world’s most passionately beloved band,” one whose music remapped popular culture and whose legacy somehow seems eternal.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Skiffle strikes a chord with author Billy Bragg

Best known as a musician with a notably political bent, Billy Bragg is also a talented writer. In 2007 he published “The Progressive Patriot: A Search for Belonging,” in 2016 “A Lover Sings: Selected Lyrics,’’ and now comes “Roots, Radicals, and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World,” a deeply researched yet lively look at the musical craze that hit England in the mid-1950s.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Svetlana Alexievich’s ‘The Unwomanly Face of War’

They answered the call of patriotism. Some still in high school and some even younger, they begged at recruitment offices for a chance to join the fight.
Newsday Link to Story
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Sherman Alexie on his new memoir, his mother and Donald Trump

Sherman Alexie keeps running into his mother on book tour, catching glimpses of the woman at the center of his new memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.”. He sees her in the quilt decorating his hotel in Boston, a vivid reminder of her artistry and industry. And then there are the sirens that keep going off when Alexie’s giving a reading, just at the moments the author finds himself getting emotional.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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Story Behind the Book: Finn Murphy's ‘The Long Haul’

“I was squirreling stories away for a long time,” said Finn Murphy. “I had an audio-cassette recorder, and at the end of the day I would just talk into it.”. Those stories form the backbone of Murphy’s “The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road,” published this month — around four decades after he first caught a glimpse of what would become his life’s work.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Story Behind the Book: "The Gypsy Moth Summer"

Julia Fierro’s second novel, “The Gypsy Moth Summer,” is set in Avalon, a fictional islet off the coast of Long Island, over the summer of 1992. Change is in the air: The Cold War is winding down, and Bill Clinton is poised to enter the White House. But the people of Avalon are facing their own personal upheavals, some of them painful.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Book Review: The Fact of a Body

The murder occurred in February 1992, in a shabby house in a small town in Louisiana. A 6-year-old boy named Jeremy Guillory was looking for his friend Joey. Beloved BB gun in his hand, he knocked on Joey’s door. The man who opened it was Ricky Langley, a 26-year-old man who lived with Joey’s family and often watched Joey and his sister, Joy.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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Kevin Wilson's Perfect Little World: It takes a utopia to raise a child

Rather than join her classmates in celebrating, the first thing Isabel Poole does after graduating from high school is tell her art teacher, Hal, that she’s pregnant. the five stages of Hal’s reaction seem to be terror, ambivalence, drunkenness, violence, and disappearance. Izzy is left adrift and feeling alone in her Tennessee town.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Patricia Lockwood likes to write in bed. 'Priestdaddy' is her memoir

Patricia Lockwood became a famous poet on the Internet, a statement that raises many questions: Is “famous poet” even a thing? Isn’t poetry a stodgy and dignified endeavor, more suited to print magazines like the New Yorker than ephemeral, frivolous spaces like Twitter? And how was it that some of the smartest, most original poetry was being written by the daughter of a Catholic priest, a woman who never went to college, married at 21, and does her writing from bed in Savannah, Ga.?
Los Angeles Times Link to Story

About

Kate Tuttle

I'm currently serving as President of the National Book Critics Circle. My reviews and articles about books have appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Salon, Atlantic.com, and elsewhere. Native Kansan, longtime Cantabrigian, falling in love with Decatur, Georgia.

Feel free to email me at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.