Raise one for the Weekend Update

NYTBR: Now somehow I completely whiffed on linking to Marilyn Stasio’s column last week, which featured reviews of the latest by Michael Connelly, Reginald Hill, Gregory Blake Smith and Rita Mae Brown, but mistakes happen (and often) around here. This week, the focus is on abstract art, and John Updike’s review of a new compendium of such works; Amy Tan’s new novel is commended for her storytelling ability; and Jonathan Tepperman takes a look at the Good Neighbor Foreign Policy, book-style.

WaPo Book World: Margaret Atwood interviews Patrick Lane now that he has a new book out for the first time in quite a while; Ron Charles’ review is so good that it’s probably time for me to take THE GREAT STINK off the TBR and read it already; Chris Bray rounds up new books of war and battle; and you have to love a review that dubs a new biography of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone Beauvoir as “an almost highbrow Francophile edition of US WEEKLY.”

G&M: Margaret Cannon rounds up the latest in crime by William Tapply, Jeff Lindsay, Karin Slaughter, Louise Penny, Jean Rae Baxter, David Rotenberg and Chris Elliot; it’s not enough that Farley Mowat writes so much, but his wife’s now onto her second volume of memoirs about living with the famed Canadian legend; and Catherine Bush is attracted to the deep symbolism of Mary Gaitskill’s VERONICA.

Guardian Review: Beryl Bainbridge pays tribute to her longtime friend Bernice Rubens, who died last year; Charles Fernyhough wonders why writers don’t pay nearly as much attention to scientific subjects as they could; and Frances Wilson wishes that publishers would just do away with the whole author photo thing (same with the NYTBR, as their rationale for not publishing book covers — “we don’t want to give publishers free advertising” — is a crock of shit.)

Observer: Robert McCrum argues in favor of Pinter being the “voice of our times” while also stumping for Orhan Pamuk; the Nobel Prize winner also loooooooves his cricket, according to Robert Winder; and Bettany Hughes tries to get to the bottom of Helen of Troy, and nearly succeeds.

The Times: John Crossland assesses the legacy and importance of Lord Nelson 200 years after the Battle of Trafalgar; a two-fer of Alexander McCall Smith’s works leaves the reviewer just a little bit jittery; Natasha Cooper analyzes the new Inspector Wexford novel with incisive detail; and David Baddiel really believes that America’s fiction landscapes trumps the UK no matter what.

The Scotsman: Haven’t I seen this John Le Carre interview somewhere? But with THE CONSTANT GARDENER in theaters worldwide, newspapers everywhere really want to talk to him; Brian Morton offers up yet another toast to the Nobel-bestowed Harold Pinter; and Louise Welsh swaps her novelist hat for playwriting as she gets ready for her first play, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ALFRED, to premiere.

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill is thoroughly entertained by Bob Morris’s sophomore crime novel, JAMAICA ME DEAD.

David Montgomery’s column for the Sun-Times looks at new releases by Stephen King, Jonnie Jacobs, Paul Levine, Elaine Flinn and Sujata Massey.

David Ulin, writing in the LA Times, offers up an impressive essay about the power of fiction in today’s times.

Oh dear god, do we really need a new novel from Jeffrey Archer? Really? And one which is all about his passion for art? It’s madness, I tell you, utter madness….

Rob Lopresti’s made the jump from selling numerous short stories to AHMM to the novel-writing world with his first mystery, SUCH A KILLING CRIME. He talks to the Bellingham Herald about why he set the book in the folk-singing world of the 1960s (which is why I am really looking forward to reading it.)

Kevin King, interviewed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, talks about what prompted him to write his new book about the greatest baseball game never played.

The Portland Tribune talks to Jim Lynch, whose latest novel THE HIGHEST TIDE sticks very close to his hometown roots.

The origins of the Fantastic Four have been told a time or few, but Walter Mosley, as he explains to IGN, found a different way — and format — to do so.

John Belushi’s widow, Judy, thought that WIRED would be the definitive account of her husband’s life. It wasn’t, so she’s decided to write her own, as she explains to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Oh, that William Georgiades — how is it that even when he disses a book, like he does Zadie Smith’s ON BEAUTY, he makes it all about him?

And finally, there is LulavGate — intrigue, black markets, shady betrayals…and palm tree fronds?