Notable: New books feature criticism by women, and biographies of them

Published April 5 2018


Critical women

Three new books offer a feast of criticism by brilliant women, plus biographies of 10 of them.

Feel Free: Essays (Penguin Press) by Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth and Swing Time, collects her wide-ranging, wry cultural criticism of social media and libraries, Key & Peele and Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell and Justin Bieber, and more.

See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary (Knopf) by Lorrie Moore, whose fiction includes Bark and A Gate at the Stairs, gathers 60 of her illuminating reviews of everything from the books of John Updike and Alice Munro to TV series like Girls and The Wire.

Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion (Grove Press) by Michelle Dean, an award-winning critic herself, combines cultural history and biography to look at the critical work of 10 women, including Dorothy Parker, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion and Nora Ephron.

Colette Bancroft, Times book editor