Good golly, it’s the Weekend Update

Before getting to the update, check out my latest review at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where I have much to say about Fred Vargas’s SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR (released after HAVE MERCY OF US ALL, but written before.)

NYTBR: I’m tempted to simply link to the entire issue because it’s huge – HUGE! Holiday books everywhere, from the 10 best to Hollywood to music to gardening to almost every other major category. Otherwise, James Wolcott is about the best guy to review Richard Stark’s ASK THE PARROT; John Leland has his say on Carl Hiaasen’s NATURE GIRL; and how fortuitous that Marisha Pessl’s first NYTBR review runs in the same issue she’s anointed one of the Book Review’s 10 best of the year.

WaPo Book World: Like every other broadsheet, Book World makes its Best of the Year picks; Michael Dirda learns a lot he didn’t know about Walt Disney in Neal Gabler’s new biography; and Claire Messud is looking forward to staying home for Christmas and reading fat novels.

G&M: Greg Hollingshead provides his Canadian-centric take on Pynchon; Catherine Bush wonders if THE ECHO MAKER’s narrative is suffering from Capgras (an interesting theory, to be sure); Thomas Axworthy looks at books that might be of use for those gunning for Liberal Party leadership; and Kenneth Oppel is the latest to fall in love with M.T. Anderson’s OCTAVIAN NOTHING. As you all should, too.

Guardian Review: Edmund White is glad that Jonathan Franzen was so confessional in his essay-style memoir; Lynne Truss extols the virtues of Stella Gibbons; and Maureen Freely is transported to a new world by Yasmine Ghata’s debut novel.

Observer: David Gale finds reading AGAINST THE DAY to be time well spent; Edward Helmore looks at Faulkner’s foray into Hollywood; and Robert McCrum comments on the McEwan/plagiarism matter.

The Times: Douglas Kennedy is nearly convinced that Pynchon has pulled it off with AGAINST THE DAY; David Baddiel scoffs at the plagiarism allegations dogging Ian McEwan; and the TLS asks notable writers and correspondents to pick their favorite books of 2006.

The Scotsman: Emma Cowing is overwhelmed with so many faux-celebrity biographies; Tom Adair rounds up the best Scottish fiction of the year; John McGahern’s final completed work gets its due; and Stuart Kelly rounds up recent publishing news.   

The Rest:

Dick Adler reviews a chock full of crime fiction for the Chicago Tribune, including the latest by Richard Stark, Michelle Spring, Tony Hillerman, Michael Gregorio, Philip Sington, Jean Patrick-Manchette, Guillermo Martinez & David Kent.

Regis Behe chats with Brett Ellen Block, whose new novel THE LIGHTNING RULE goes back to 1967 Newark and their own brand of riots.

It’s been a grueling year of interviews and profiles but Kate Mosse manages one more for the Sydney Morning Herald to talk about her mega-bestseller LABYRINTH.

What is plagiarism? The Age’s Stephanie Bunbury probes the question as it relates to literary works and recent brouhahas.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer talks to Brad Meltzer, who was especially interested in going there to look at where Superman creator Jerry Siegel lived.

Robert Wilson explains to the Boston Globe why he wrote about terrorism in his latest crime effort, THE HIDDEN ASSASSINS. And the same paper, of course, has to pick its best fiction of 2006.

John Dickson Carr may be the master of the locked room mystery but he’s not as well-read as he ought to be, according to Alexander Rubio.

Should writers blog? 95% of the time I would say please, please, don’t do it, but as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Athitakis confirms, The seven crime writers who comprise The Outfit Collective do a fine job of group blogging.

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald’s Paul Fiander picks his best crime novels of the year, and it’s a varied bunch.