The Weekend Update Unbound

NYTBR: Joseph Epstein discourses on friendship, much to Jennifer Senior’s liking; Marie Arana’s CELLOPHANE illuminates culture in a magical realist way, as Liesl Schillinger finds out; and Benjamin Kunkel examines why memoirs have become so damn misery-driven.

WaPo Book World: Ron Charles explains why T.C. Boyle’s TALK TALK is more than just a novel of identity theft; the author is also interviewed by Daniel Asa Rose; Peter Earnest taps Dan Fesperman for writing a most “tantalizing, timely thriller”; and a new biography adds three-dimensional light on Mozart’s most notable librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte.

G&M: Peter Shawn Taylor rounds up books on the famed Calgary Stampede; James Alan Gardner is mightily impressed with Frank Schatzing’s gigantic thriller THE SWARM; Thomas McGuane’s new collection of short stories leaves Ray Robertson wanting; and where did all the bears go? Brian Payton wrote a new book to find some answers.

Guardian Review: Gordon Burn was first betrayed, then delighted at what heavily influenced Richard Ford’s THE SPORTSWRITER; Steve Davies is bowled over by Daniel Woodrell’s WINTER’S BONE, as well he should be; and Maxim Jakubowski rounds up new crime fiction by Denise Mina, Karin Slaughter, Tonino Benacquista, Peter James and Jason Starr.

Observer: Rachel Cooke is impressed – and a bit disturbed – by Jason Fagone’s account of competitive eating; Niall Griffiths rhapsodizes over WINTER’S BONE; and Peter Guttridge rounds up new crime novels by Thomas Cook, Simon Kernick, Peter Temple, Frances Fyfield and Dan Fesperman.

The Times: Amanda Craig talks with Anthony Horowitz about Alex Rider, the new movie, and his latest books; David Baddiel explains why David Baldacci drives him bonkers; Peter Millar is impressed with Jim Kelly’s latest crime novel in the Fens; and with the Harrogate Crime festival due next week, Selina Walker looks back at an important event in Agatha Christie’s life 80 years ago.

The Scotsman: Louise Welsh chats with David Robinson about literary conjuring and her new novel, THE BULLET TRICK; Jeannette Winterson’s try at a children’s book gets a mixed, but still positive take from Katie Law; and Margaret Murphy reveals what’s on her nightstand.

The Rest:

Sometimes, a reviewer has to go against the tide of overwhelming positive forces. That’s what Oline Cogdill has done in her review of Scott Smith’s THE RUINS, which is one of the most thoughtful I’ve seen on a book in quite a while. She also gives a more straightforward thumbs-up to Naomi Hirahara’s SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN.

Lee Child was in Norfolk recently to promote THE HARD WAY, and talks to the local paper about why he set part of that book in that particular English town.

Peter Robinson talks to the Age about PIECE OF MY HEART, the latest Inspector Banks novel, and his love of ’60s music.

Mark Richard Zubro has been writing his gay detective series for over a decade, and the elevent installment, the Chicago Sun-Times finds out, has Tom Mason and Scott Carpenter heading overseas.

The Independent’s Christina Patterson discovers why Amelie Nothomb is such a highly regarded (and chased after) cult figure in France.

In the same paper, Mark Timlin reviews three veterans of crime: Joe Lansdale, John Harvey & John Sandford.

At the Baltimore Sun, Diane Scharper has her say on Scott Smith’s THE RUINS while Charles Matthews adds his raves to those for Dan Fesperman’s THE PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO.

Regis Behe interviews Lila Shaara – sister of Jeff and daughter of Michael – about her debut literary suspense novel, EVERY SECRET THING.

Julia Glass talks to the WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg on writing, 911 and what fiction offers to the reader.

Thomas McGuane’s new short story collection is just out, and he talks to the LA Times’ Susan Salter Reynolds by phone about it.

It’s not fun to be in Phoenix right now as 2 serial killers are likely stalking the city. The Arizona Republic asks people – including Poisoned Pen’s Patrick Millikin – their thoughts on the matter.

And finally, I hope like hell he gets out of Lebanon. And on a lighter note, Jaime explains why the opera La Gioconda is so ridiculously insane. You better believe it, as I distinctly remember a car trip in our childhood where he explained the entire plot to me – and it took a good two hours to do so…