Hold Fast for the Weekend Update

Before I get to the update, I must note the passing of one of the greats of thriller writing, Trevanian (otherwise known as Rodney Whittaker) who died in England earlier this week at the age of 74. If you haven’t read his books (like THE EIGER SANCTION and SHIBUMI) then do so as soon as you can.

Also, since it seems every mystery reviewer has had some say on Sue Grafton’s newest Kinsey Millhone novel, I figured I’d jump on that bandwagon as well. Capsule summary: props to Grafton for trying something new (for her) but ultimately…Kinsey’s just blah.


NYTBR: Alexander Wolff wishes Harvey Araton’s anti-NBA polemic had been a bit more measured in its thinking; science gets its due with reviews of books by Clifford Conner and Chris Mooney; and oh goody, authors like to Technorati themselves to death. Tell me something I don’t know, aside from the fact that the “most blogged about books” was probably culled somewhat unscientifically…

WaPo Book World: Edmund Morris tries his hand at a Beethoven biography that’s just about the right size for Tim Page; Marge Piercy is back with a fascinating novel about women and post-Civil War society; and if you love wine, chances are you’ll want to get Paul Lukacs’ book.

G&M: Neil Bissoondath wonders what to do when strangers belting out bizarre songs show up at his door — and it’s perfectly normal; Martin Levin goes hockey-mad for a variety of books on the subject; Hal Niezvedecki wonders what’s up with all these crazy pop-culture-drenched “stupid kooky” books; and a new book explains how nanotechnology may well change our lives, if you believe that sort of thing.

Guardian Review: James Campbell reconstructs his interview with John Fowles from over thirty years ago; Rick Moody calls the movie version of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN “the great American love story”; Maya Jaggi sits down with Ursula LeGuin, whom many SF/F authors owe a great debt to; and Matthew Lewin rounds up thrillers by Paul Adam, Margaret Murphy, Alice Blanchard and whoever is writing as Robert Ludlum these days.

Observer:Jemma Read applauds a new collection on censorship edited by Lisa Appignanesi; Sam Leith looks at the weird relationships people have with their pets; and Robert McCrum wonders which of 2005’s notables will be remembered 100 years from now.

The Times: Just how important is a cover to a book? Helen Rumbow investigates; John Dugdale collects some of the strangest and most entertaining literary quotes of 2005; and Clive James describes his literary education in the TLS (which is now available online more accessibly, yippee)
The Scotsman**: Various new releases (like the star-studded ONE CITY) attempt to put a stamp on the literary identity of Edinburgh; Andrew Crumey wonders if a Scottish-specific publishing site will take off and promote authors appropriately; and take any recommendation from a man who wrote I HATE CHRISTMAS with some grains of salt, but then again, the book sounds awfully amusing, at least to me…

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill explains which books were her favorites, and then provides her top twenty books of 2005.

David Montgomery’s final column of 2005 looks at the latest by Max Allan Collins, Eleanor Taylor Bland, Linda Richards, Matthew Reilly and Dean Koontz.

Les Roberts looks at releases older and newer by Will Clarke, Eleanor Taylor Bland, and Henry Kisor.

What does Mark Timlin recommend for Christmas? How about books by James Crumley, David Baldacci, Ed McBain and James Patterson? Well, I guess most of them should do it…

John Banville goes to New York, talks about whether readers will take to the Booker-winning THE SEA..and spies his doppelganger lounging about the hotel with two attractive French women. Just another interview, don’t you know…

Jonathan Harr talks to Rege Behe about the impetus for his newest non-fiction mystery, THE LOST PAINTING.

SF Chronicle’s Heidi Benson offers the Left Coast version of the “Who is JT Leroy?” brouhaha. All I know is that whoever the guy is, he’s working on something new right now…

Is writing a biography like falling in love? Hazel Rowley certainly thinks so, as she tells the Sydney Morning Herald.

At the Age, Jane Sullivan pens an ode to the State Library of Victoria, which houses all sorts of undiscovered literary treasures.

Eclectic publisher Taschen is opening up a store in Manhattan, and the NY Post’s William Georgiades has the scoop.

And finally, I’m not sure this is what they meant by the Spirit of Christmas, that’s for sure…