For over twenty years, James Campbell wrote the NB column on the back page of The Times Literary Supplement, signing it "J. C." "J. C." was irreverent, whimsical, occasionally severe. The column had a low tolerance for the literary sins of pomposity, hypocrisy, and cant, and provided an off-beat guide to our cultural times.
NB skewered pomposity in its many forms ... NB is the sort of column that people looked at and thought, "I could do that." Turns out they couldn’t. I still read NB every week with pleasure, but absent J.C., the column has lost a sliver of its freshness and nerve.
A uniquely personal miscellany of wit, weirdness and waspish provocation ... In one minor way, NB by J.C. may disappoint some readers ... It’s hardly "A Walk Through the Times Literary Supplement," as its subtitle promises.
Witty and companionable and framed in immaculate prose ... One narrative that emerges in the book is his mounting anxiety about the "bullies from the cultural-appropriation or cancel-culture camps" ... Campbell writes touchingly about what the column has meant to him over the past quarter of a century.