Deconstructing the Weekend Update

And continuing the BSP-ish theme that has taken over the blog most recently, I’ve cracked a brand-new market on the book reviewing front: the Los Angeles Times, where my take on two recently reissued crime novels by David Markson appears this weekend. It’s probably not cricket to pick and choose among favorites but from assignment to finish, this was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a working writer.

Enough about moi. Onto the rest of the weekend’s tidings:

NYTBR: Marilyn Stasio reviews recent releases by Jesse Kellerman, Thomas Cook, Dana Stabenow and Sandi Ault; Terence Rafferty brings back his horror column and analyzes new offerings by Joe Schreiber, John Saul, Bentley Little and Sarah Langan; Thomas Mallon dives into Claire Tomalin’s portrayal of Thomas Hardy’s complicated life; and Jim Harrison makes the case for Karl Shapiro’s poetry to be included in MFA programs everywhere.

WaPo Book World: John Sutherland wonders how a book can evolve from obscenity to classic; Douglas Brinkley is charmed by Marc Fisher’s radio history and his “anti-TV” stance; and Christoph Peters’ new novel is not quite thriller, not quite character study but “strangely absorbing and satisfying” according to Dennis Drabelle.

G&M: Kevin Chong enjoys the dose of medicine given to Paul Auster’s fictional stand-in; a new book explores in more detail Lester B. Pearson’s role in the Suez Canal crisis; Norman Mailer ponders his relevancy, appealing to Jewish readers (or not) and young Hitler in this interview with Simon Houpt; and Margaret Cannon reviews new crime novels by Fred Vargas, Asa Larsson, Dana Stabenow, J.A. Jance, Deanna Raybourn and Janet Evanovich.

Guardian Review: Harif Kuneshi explains how his fascination with Junichiro Tanizaki’s tales inspired one of his own; Daphne DuMaurier’s DON’T LOOK NOW – the basis for the iconic movie – has been transformed into a play; Carrie Grady wonders how Fred Vargas lightens up what should be implausible mysteries; and Matthew Lewin reviews new thrillers by Nicci French, Nelson DeMille, Vince Flynn and Jonathon King.

Observer: Critics respond to Nick Cohen’s provocative thesis that the British liberal left condones Islamofascism; Rachel Cooke is impressed with Al Alvarez’ study of risky behavior; and Caroline Boucher can’t put down Nicci French’s new suspense novel.

The Times: Stuart McGurk tries out some novel-generating software; Joan Smith is impressed with Helon Habila’s novelized version of war and suffering in Nigeria; Agent Zigzag is one of the more colorful spies to be committed to the printed page; and Peter Millar has a much, much different take on EXILE than I did (perhaps by virtue of living in the UK?)

The Scotsman: Ian Rankin reveals why Scottish pubs are a great source of inspiration; David Robinson can’t say enough good things about Ruth Thomas’s novel of love, life and embroidery; Susan Fletcher’s much-awaited second novel builds on the talent seen in her first, bestselling effort EVE GREEN; and Jackie McGlone talks to the husband-and-wife team who write as Nicci French.

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill enjoys the time she spent reading new books by Jesse Kellerman and Lisa Unger.

Hallie Ephron returns with her latest Boston Globe column, reviewing new mysteries & thrillers by Tom Sancton, Justin Scott and Chuck Hogan.

The Telegraph’s Susanna Yager reviews the latest in crime by Saskia Noort, Joseph Wambaugh, Cormac Miller and Graham Hurley.

The Houston Chronicle congratulates Bill Crider for his deserved Edgar short story nomination.

John Marshall talks to Vendela Vida about travelling to Scandinavia, her writing day and what she and Dave Eggers talk about at mealtime.

Vikram Chandra tries to have a perfectly good interview with the LA Times’ Josh Getlin as well as the AP’s Marcus Wohlsen – but oh, that advance keeps popping up in conversation again.

Want the skinny on what it’s like to be on the NBCC Board? the Seattle Times’ Mary Ann Gwinn dishes the debate, the book choices, and the award deliberations.

And finally, I’ll add my voice to those who encourage people to sign up as organ donors as a means of honoring Barbara Seranella and what she fought for.