Moving right along with the Weekend Update
And first up is my new column for the Baltimore Sun, which ran earlier than I was expecting. It features reviews of the latest by Brian Freeman, John Katzenbach, Gillian Flynn, Carol Lea Benjamin and Simon Beckett.
NYTBR: William Kennedy has his say on Cormac McCarthy’s venture into darkly bleak, post-apocalyptic waters with THE ROAD; Tom Mallon dishes on the two ladies Hepburn, Katharine and Audrey; Ben MacIntyre is unnerved by William Boyd’s pseudo-thriller, RESTLESS; and Marilyn Stasio’s crime column features new books by Michael Collins, Michael Dibdin, Maggie Estep and Sarah Stewart Taylor.
WaPo Book World: Jonathan Yardley’s fanboy fervor for John Grisham is only slightly abated by reading his new non-fiction account of wrongful conviction; Ron Charles is intrigued by frustrated by the claustrophobic feel of Sena Jeter Naslund’s ABUNDANCE; and Sebastian Faulks is bowled over by Richard Powers’ fantastically brilliant, richly textured new novel THE ECHO MAKER (which I will have lots more to say about at another time, in another venue, but suffice to say this is one of the best books I have read in years.)
G&M: David Mamet writes of being Jewish and his expectations for others in a new essay collection; Sarah Harvey is bowled over by Marisa Marchetto’s searing graphic novel memoir CANCER VIXEN; Anar Ali has a great time with Tina Biswas’ charming debut novel; and Peter McSkimming is somewhat disappointed with Charles Frazier’s new novel, but still can’t wait for #3.
Guardian Review: Tibor Fischer writes about post-war Hungarian films on the 50th anniversary of the country’s revolution; Lucasta Miller finds out why John Mortimer is getting topical in his old age; Chris Petit is haunted by Derek Raymond’s “lost” novel NIGHTMARE IN THE STREET, which is definitely brilliant stuff; Christopher Brookmyre wonders why some swear words still have the power to shock; and Michael Dibdin places his verdict on John Banville’s foray into crime fiction as Benjamin Black: it’s a damn good book.
Observer: Tim Adams deems Richard Ford’s new novel “essential reading”; Alex Clark is overwhelmed by the number of books he owns; and the paper has its say on what the greatest Commonwealth novel of the last 25 years is..and it’s J.M. Coetzee’s DISGRACE;
The Times: So how does John Grisham fare as a non-fiction writer? Marcel Berlins says he does just fine; Salman Rushdie re-examines the Scheherazade myth for a new generation; Assia Weevill, Ted Hughes’ second suicidal wife, comes to life in a new biography; and Colm Toibin sticks close to his characters’ inner selves in his new collection of short stories.
The Scotsman: Geraldine McCaughrean details what it was like to add her few cents to a children’s legend; Fiona McCarthy ‘fesses up to her debutante past; Justin Marozzi doesn’t think Fredrick Forsyth will win new friends in the Muslim community with his new book, THE AFGHAN; and Margaret Atwood’s dry wit is on full display in this profile by Catherine Deveney.
John Banville will likely be making lots of waves by “crossing over” into genre territory with CHRISTINE FALLS (which is already getting pretty good buzz; the ARC sits in my TBR pile, waiting to be cracked open before its US release in March.) Both the Sunday Times and Independent have long interviews with him essentially asking the same question: why do this? The answer, because things were changing and it was fun to write.
Three mysteries are vying for Oline Cogdill’s top mystery of the year, and one of them is Michael Connelly’s ECHO PARK.
The Seattle Times’ Adam Woog reviews new crime releases by Robert B. Parker, Morag Joss, Charlie Huston, Linda Richards, and James R. Benn.
At the Denver Post, Robin Vidimos looks at Michael Connelly’s ECHO PARK, Sandra Dallas reviews two new books by Robert Greer, while Leslie Doran has much good to say about Margaret Coel’s THE DROWNING MAN.
The Toronto Star’s Jack Batten reviews two new mysteries by homegrown talent, Gail Bowen and Linwood Barclay. The Halifax Chronicle Herald does the same, reviewing the latest by Bowen, Giles Blunt and Barbara Fradkin.
The Philly Inquirer’s Frank Wilson takes a good look at Andrew Klavan’s latest Weiss/Bishop thriller.
Karen Olson was on local Connecticut TV to promote her new mystery SECONDHAND SMOKE, and you can watch her appearance here.
The NY Post’s Peter Pavia catches up with Maggie Estep and asks her about her love of horses, which comes through in her latest mystery, FLAMETHROWER, and the anthology she co-edited with Jason Starr, BLOODLINES.
Anne Perry talks to the Highland News about the so-called “lonely job” of writing, and why she favors crime fiction above all else.
Chimamanda Adichie talks to the Boston Globe about the impetus for her amazing novel HALF OF A YELLOW SUN.
M.J. Hyland was so surprised to be on the Booker shortlist that she acted “like a drunken caveman,” as the Sydney Morning Herald finds out. Also in the paper, Shane Maloney goes on the hunt for Agatha Christie in Harrogate.
How did Australia’s national anthem come about? A new book about WALTZING MATILDA reveals all, according to the Melbourne Age’s Martin Flanagan.
The newest teenage literary sensation? Indonesian Vira Safitri, who already has two novels under her belt.
And finally, best musical number EVAH (well, the Broadway version, but the movie clip will have to do.)