The mid-month Weekend Update

And as for why it’s belated…let’s just say there is nothing more amusing than watching a gaggle of 13 year old girls dressed up for the prom dancing to a remix of “Sweet Caroline.” Oh wait, there’s one thing: the ten-year-old boy loudly singing every word to this song from the shoulders of his older brother.

Anyway, to the Update:

NYTBR: Liesl Schillinger gets a double dose of Marie Antoinette at the hands of Sena Jeter Naslund and Caroline Weber, while Antonia Fraser’s bio of Louis XIV is scrutinized by Megan Marshall; Douglas Brinkley is impressed with a new biography of Johnny Cash; and Elissa Schappell wishes Joyce Carol Oates’ new novel had stayed closer to character than to plot twists.

WaPo Book World: Ron Charles is thoroughly taken with Suzanne Berne’s acerbic family drama; both Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon get their dues in new biographies; and A.S. Byatt has much to say about Margaret Atwood’s latest tome.

G&M: Margaret Cannon’s crime novel rounds up new releases by Rick Blechta, Louise Penny, Maureen Jennings, Dick Francis and Margaret Maron; Of course Pierre Trudeau would be the subject of serious biography – and Andrew Cohen carefully examines John English’s first effort with volume one; Roger Gathman takes issue with Michael Cox for being, in his own words, “Victorian-lite”; and who knew Booker Prize-nominated author Lewis DeSoto was a Harry Bosch fan? Then again, why not?

Guardian Review: Murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya is remembered by James Meek and by…herself, in her last piece of published writing; Paul Bailey catches up with Andrea Camilleri to talk of his successful Sicilian crime novels; Rachel Hore finds that Julie Walters makes almost as good a novelist as she does an actress; Nicholas Lezard devours Patricia Highsmith’s previously uncollected short stories; and Hermoine Lee comments on tuning out so-called “literary white noise.”

Observer: Robert McCrum applauds the Nobel’s pick of Orhan Pamuk; do people really care if football players write their memoirs? Kevin Mitchell isn’t so sure; and Claire Tomalin’s new biography of Thomas Hardy reveals his love of his fictional women – moreso than the ones in his life.

The Times: Peter Millar puts up with Frederick Forsyth’s new thriller, THE AFGHAN, as does Hugh Barnacle; Sex and satire were really big in the 18th century, and a new book makes me want to find out even more; and no matter what, Martina Cole is always an original, as Zoe Paxton gets to find out in this lengthy profile.

The Scotsman: Aidan Smith chats with George Galloway about Castro, politics and celebrity Big Brother; Jackie McGlone offers up her own profile of Martina Cole; and that’s not James friggin’ Wood reviewing the new Rebus novel, is it? Or maybe it’s some other James Wood…but Allan Massie also has his say on the book, too.

The Rest:

Ah, Time Magazine. You are sooooo in step with um, time. Anyway, they offer “5 new mysteries from old masters” which I guess is supposed to mean longtime vets or something, I don’t know. But reviewing new books by Lawrence Block, Robert B. Parker, George Pelecanos, Elizabeth George & Henning Mankell is fine, it’s just…ah, I don’t know.

Oline Cogdill reviews two new offerings from Minotaur authors: Steve Hamilton & Jason Starr. Meanwhile, George Pelecanos is interviewed at length by the Sun-Sentinel’s books editor, Chauncey Mabe.

Adam Woog takes to the way Elizabeth George delivers what should be backstory in WHAT CAME BEFORE HE SHOT HER; Maxine Clarke, on the other hand, is less impressed with the overall result.

Getting Ursula LeGuin to review Susanna Clarke’s new short story collection was a great, great idea.

The Charlotte News Observer’s Todd Shy has the best line about Kate Atkinson’s ONE GOOD TURN, and by extension, literary vs. genre: “write what you want and do it well, and let the publishers and critics call it what they will.” Hear, hear. Atkinson also gets the Q&A treatment from the St. Louis Dispatch.

Don’t call Joe Meno a punk author, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Goldenberger warns. But his Q&A with the author reiterates my belief that THE BOY DETECTIVE FAILS is one of the best novels published this year.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie hopes her new novel will spur conversation about war, responsibility and accountability, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Regis Behe finds out.

William Boyd explains to the Sydney Morning Herald why he decided to try his hand at a spy thriller with his latest novel, RESTLESS.

The Melbourne Age does some post-Booker Prize catchup; first by finding out why MJ Hyland and Kate Grenville were relieved not to have won, and a profile of Text Publishing, the Australian publisher of both writers.

And finally, why shouldn’t Bouchercon have a podcast? Yes indeed, it’s the latest Bat Segundo Show.