The tryptophan hangover Weekend Update

Bloody hell, this isn’t even my holiday but it seems I’ve taken it up with major league gusto (even though any turkey I had was by proxy, but it seemed to work well enough…) So as I try to barrel through this last week of November, the links this weekend (besides my newest column, featuring new books by PD James, Patricia Smiley, David Lozell Martin, John McLachlan Gray and Jose Latour) are:

NYTBR: John Simon takes aim at a new biography of famed director Elia Kazan; Terrence Rafferty finds that THE SEA might actually be two novels in one; and Jonathan Rosen is deeply affected by Harold Bloom’s personal struggles with God in the guise of scholarship.

WaPo Book World: Ron Charles uses this review of a food-drenched novel to bemoan how some women have to fight off the romance novel label while men’s romances get automatically classified as literary fiction; Kevin Allman heaps deserved praise upon Fred Vargas’ just released crime novel HAVE MERCY ON US ALL; and Meg Wolitzer reviews a trio of books reflecting on women coping with the stresses of marriage and work.

G&M: Margaret Cannon provides her top dozen mysteries of 2005 (although oops, one of them was published last year…) while also reviewing new crime books  by John McLachlan Gray, Roger Jon Ellory, Jean-Claude Izzo, Anthony Barrett, Elsa Klensch, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci, and someone ghosting Robert Ludlum; Anthony Barrett looks at a spate of books about leaders betrayed by friends, in light of Conrad Black’s downfall; this may be the most heartbreaking book I haven’t read yet, but I plan to; and enter the Great Canadian Literary Quiz to win lots and lots of prizes!

Guardian Review: Nuala O’Faolain explains why the story of Mary Duignan obsessed her so much to write a biography about the woman; Alfred Hickling pays tribute to Sherlockians around the world and back again; Gordon Burn  writes of the tenuous relationship between writers and drinking; and Maxim Jakubowski looks at new crime novels by Tonino Benacquista, Thierry Jonquiet and Brian Freeman.

Observer: Philip Pullman talks about the challenges of adapting Aladdin; Lisa O’Kelly believes Joan Didion winning the National Book Award was long overdue; Robert McCrum joins the Kinkster on the campaign trail; and Ranjit Bolt is a fan of Stephen Fry’s lighthearted treatise on poetry.

The Times: Why did Irish writer Cathy Kelly hit the top of the Times Bestseller List? Jane Wheatley finds out that it’s all about the characters she creates; and The Good Sex Award launches…with Belle de Jour as its main judge.

The Scotsman: For a so-called “quiet” literary decade, the 1950s sure did wonders for fantasy, with Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Gormenghast; Allan Massie trashes Nadine Gordimer’s new novel, calling it “afflicted with the curse of Nobel”; Ken Stott explains why it’s such a thrill for him to play Rebus; and surprise Whitbread nominee Rachel Zadok discusses what’s on her nightstand.

The Rest:

The St. Louis dispatch talks to Scott Phillips, whose profile will rise in a big way – and deservedly so – with the release this weekend of the movie version of THE ICE HARVEST.

Dick Adler’s column for the Chicago Tribune looks at the latest in mystery by Fred Vargas, James Magnuson, Lee Wood, Martin Edwards, John McLachlan Gray, Kaylie Jones, Andrea Camilleri and Rochelle Krich.

Oline Cogdill plays catch-up with some great crime novels by Alafair Burke, Mark Billingham and Richard Rayner she didn’t get around to reviewing when they were first released

The LA Times went to the Men of Mystery event earlier this month (already infamous for a completely different reason) and asked Barry Eisler, Jonathan Miller, Gary Phillips, and Gregg Hurwitz about their books and the allure of the genre.

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney looks at all things Holmes for the Financial Times, from new fiction to non-fiction to of course, Leslie Klinger’s latest annotated volume.

Just reading this interview with Crimespree cover boy Max Allan Collins in the Quad City Times makes me dizzy. How does he do it all? Hell if know, but his newest book, ROAD TO PARADISE, concludes the trilogy that began with the graphic novel-turned-movie ROAD TO PERDITION.

Is PD James saying goodbye to her best-known creation, Adam Dalgliesh? Henry Kisor wonders, but definitely hopes not.

Anthony Bourdain was interviewed by the Montreal Gazette after trekking to the city to sample its culinary delights — something he never did before last year.

Rosemary Herbert’s new “Omnibus of Crime” follows hot on the heels of the last one — 23 years ago. She tells the Portland Press Herald why there was such a long gap between books.

Bret Lott explains to the Baton Rouge Advocate how faith inspires his writing, and how Oprah changed his life.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a famous author or not — your publisher can still hate your work, as Enid Blyton found out when MacMillan rejected one of her novels in 1961.

Why are the most recent literary prizewinners in Japan young (very young!), female and attractive? Whatever the reason, the trend’s not exactly going away.

And finally, I guess the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Book editor ain’t no fan of Patsy C. Though hate to say it, one of the ways to ensure her books don’t get bought is for reviewers to ignore them completely.