Whence Cometh the Weekend Update

After yesterday afternoon, I’ll be paying a hell of a lot more attention to the World Cup. Crazy game yesterday, to say the least, especially watching it with hundreds of people in a crowded bar.

NYTBR: That’s it – Joe Queenan should just stop reviewing books. It’s not that he can’t be entertaining but I mean, what is the point of assigning him to review Charlie Higson and Anthony Horowitz’s adventure novels for boys? I mean, really? Otherwise, Lee Seigel writes about Paul Zweig, Robert Stone puts John Updike in perspective, and Harold Bloom gives Baruch Spinoza his due, but isn’t necessarily as keen as Rebecca Goldstein’s take on the Jewish philosopher.

WaPo Book World: Jonathan Yardley finds out why the US has been shaped by fire in more ways than one; Urban fiction struggles with an identity crisis, as debates at a recent sales conference bear out; and it turns out all the Brynners – not just Yul – had some pretty fascinating lives.

G&M: Martin Levin looks at the latest in rocker bios; Leslie Forbes has an interesting criticism of Monica Ali’s new novel ALENTEJO BLUE; Nathalie Atkinson debuts a quarterly feature on the best graphic novels of the season; and the Bronfmans get their due in a new biography, from bootlegging to philanthropy and everything in between.

Guardian Review: Oh ho, it’s the Summer Reading issue, which means literary luminaries recommend their top beach reads; Sarah Dunant laments the “stickerization” of new books on those 3-for-2 shelves; Stephen Moss writes a predictably snarky column about top ten airport bestsellers; Arnaldur Indridason offers an inside look at his work and at Scandinavian crime fiction in this fascinating interview; Matthew Lewin enjoys the latest effort by Christopher Brookymre, while Mark Lawson has the same reaction to Matthew Pearl’s new thriller; and Maxim Jakubowski rounds up crime fiction by James Sallis, Peter Temple, Mo Hayder, Sue Grafton & Ray Banks.

Observer: Peter Beaumont gets all riled up about Noam Chomsky’s new book – so much so that he addresses critics before they go after him; Alan Turing’s new biography paints him as an awkward, frustrated genius; Sinclair McKay is thoroughly entertained by a sociological examination of James Bond; and Peter Guttridge’s crime roundup includes new work by Louis Bayard, Matthew Pearl, Jason Goodwin, Michael Grigorio, Andrew Pepper and Andrew Martin.

The Times: Will Self returns with a new book of biting satire; Frank Cottrell Boyce tests out must-read books for Father’s Day; Tahir Shah examines literary fascination with Morocco; David Baddiel reflects on Penguin Modern Classics’ announcement of a big new edition of John Updike’s works; and Marcel Berlins rounds up new crime releases by Peter Robinson, Craig Russell & Gene Kerrigan.

The Scotsman: Elizabeth Buchan’s careful watching of people and society spurred her to write, as she tells Gillian Glover; John Tulloch wanted to make sure he wasn’t seen as “just a victim” of the 77 bombings; and is pursuing happiness really a killer? Stuart Kelly finds out by reading a new book on the subject.

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill gives some of the best reasons to read the latest Stephanie Plum novel, TWELVE SHARP, I’ve seen yet.

David Montgomery puts Barry Eisler in context of other thriller writers in this review for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Les Roberts raves madly about Jonathan Stone’s new thriller while also reviewing the latest by Jeffery Deaver and Charlie Stella.

Jack Batten’s Whodunit column focuses on female Swedish detectives, who turn out to be a lot more fun than their male counterparts.

Australia is abuzz with Kate Morton’s debut novel THE SHIFTING FOG, which sounds lovely in a Daphne DuMaurier kind of way.

Craig Russell’s Hamburg-based police procedurals are attracting increased attention in the UK, as IC Renfrewshire finds out.

Henning Mankell gets his due from Carlin Romano, who is amazed at many of the philanthropic deeds the Swedish crime writer engages in.

What’s going on with South African crime fiction? Yolandi Groenwald at the South African Mail & Guardian rounds up the newest crop of current titles.

The Austin-American Statesman profiles Julie Kenner, whose books include a little of everything: romance, paranormal, chick-lit and thriller.

Regis Behe speaks with Gay Talese about his writing process and his new memoir, A WRITER’S LIFE.

The WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg talks to John McPhee about teaching at Princeton, his latest book and the standards for writing non-fiction.

Fay Weldon is an original and very outspoken, as the Hartford Courant’s Carole Goldberg discovers.