The back to equilibrium Weekend Update

Ah, normality. It’s so nice to be back in that state after what turned out to be a crazier-than-usual Edgar Week. But by “normality” I really mean “extremely tight deadlines” so I suspect the coming two weeks will be light on posts and long on stretches of being chained to the computer. Business as usual, indeed.

Also, the LA Times Book Prize was announced Friday evening, with Robert Littell taking the mystery/thriller award for LEGENDS. And my new column is up, featuring reviews of new books by Peter Abrahams, Carolyn Haines, George Shuman, Lisa Unger & Helene Tursten.

And so, the Update:

NYTBR: Walter Kirn pretty much flips head over heels for Gary Shteyngart’s new novel ABSURDISTAN; Dwight Garner gets a little snarky about OAKDALE CONFIDENTIAL, the bestselling soap tie-in book ever; the continuing biography of Igor Stravinsky is applauded by Greg Sandow; and Kurt Andersen examines Gay Talese’s new memoir in extreme detail.

WaPo Book World: Michael Dirda mulls over several biographies of Mozart on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth; Maureen Corrigan reviews new mysteries by Kjell Eriksson, Kjell Westo, Manuel Vasquez Montalban, Jill Paton Walsh & Stuart Woods; Brigitte Weeks looks at a couple of so-called Da Vinci Clones; and Diana Gabaldon is duly impressed with Julia Alvarez’s latest novel, SAVING THE WORLD.

G&M: Margaret Cannon’s crime column looks at new releases by Harlan Coben, Loren Estleman, Boris Akunin, Tami Hoag, Jill Paton Walsh and Rhys Bowen; Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury tells his story in his new autobiography; and Martin Levin picks the best of the season’s newest baseball books.

Guardian Review: A variety of authors were asked to pick their favorite depictions of women reading books; John Banville appreciates the blank canvas of Philip Roth’s newest work, EVERYMAN; and Aili McConnon reports on the book industry in India.

Observer: Has Jilly Cooper gone soft? Rachel Cooke tries to find out what’s up with the doyenne of commercial fiction glamor; It remains to be seen if Guatam Malkani’s LONDONSTANI signals a need for authenticity in writing, Sarfraz Manzoor wonders; Jose Saramango gives his first interview to an English newspaper; and Robert McCrum remains skeptical of certain new publishing ventures.

The Times: Tim Waterstone tells Nicholas Clee why he wants to buy his old company back; Rick Gekoski describes his unusual friendship with Graham Greene in the 1980s; Michael Collins further explains why he chafes against genre conventions; Even if it’s appropriate to address Lockerbie in fiction, Chris Petit’s novel may not be the best way to do so, according to Peter Millar; and Joan Smith reviews new crime novels by Fred Vargas, Edward Wright, Charles Cumming, Andrea Camilleri, Laura Wilson, Barbara Nadel and Simon Brett.

The Scotsman: David Robinson is almost pained by the reality of David Mitchell’s BLACK SWAN GREEN; a new novel by an Iranian writer delves deeply into the country’s turbulent situation; and no, I think the joke’s on the reviewer, or maybe he’s suffering from a total lack of sense of humor.

The Rest:

This weekend is all about the LA Times Festival of Books, and no better place than the paper itself to get coverage overview.

Oline Cogdill’s column this week is of a decidedly chick-lit bent, looking at new releases by Miriam Auerbach and Elaine Viets.

Dick Adler’s latest Tribune column is more expansive this week, only reviewing two books – by Edward Wright and Naomi Hirahara.

Lloyd Shaw at the Washington Times reviews recent releases by Kjell Eriksson, Conrad Allen, M.C. Beaton and Otto Penzler’s latest anthology, MURDER AT THE RACETRACK.

Regis Behe meets Nancy Pickard, whose newest book THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS is a decided departure from her Jenny Cain series.

Carl Hiaasen chats with the LA Times about the upcoming movie of HOOT, his first book for kids.

Harlan Coben explains to the Kalamazoo Gazette about why, after all these years, he’s returned to Myron Bolitar & co. with PROMISE ME.

The Hindu New Delhi news speaks with Kalpana Swaminathan, whose detective Lalli features in THE PAGE 3 MURDERS, her latest book.

Michael Connelly’s CRIME BEAT is a compendium of the best of his journalism, and NPR catches up with the author about the real cases that inspired his fiction.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to those shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Prize, whose winner will be announced on June 22. One of them, Carrie Tiffany, is also up for the Orange Prize.

Now that Booker Prize chief Martyn Goff is stepping down after 34 years, Boyd Tonkin gets all the gossip and dirt for the Independent.

And finally, Tex Avery cartoons! God, I love YouTube (and thank Jaime for the link.)