The Seis de Mayo Weekend Update

NYTBR: Note to Tanenhaus & co: structuring the entire issue around things are are ostensibly “bad for you” also invite jokes about the Book Review being bad for you. And indeed, my intellectual arteries started to clog as I read through Robert Harris’s take on a book about drinking (“I have no training as a historian, just some slight experience on both sides of bars”) Jonathan Miles on the history of smoking, Camilla Paglia on the origins of adolescence and Benjamin Kunkel, inexplicably, on Nirvana, which is like asking Pete Wentz to comment on Queen. And then we have Joe Queenan, sui generis on the badness front. Oy.

At least Marilyn Stasio is still doing the same thing, reviewing new crime novels by Mark Mills, Neil McMahon, C.J. Box and Gene Kerrigan.

WaPo Book World: Ilan Stavans explains what made Roberto Bolano and his work so iconic; Graham Joyce navigates the unclassifiable territory of Elizabeth Hand’s GENERATION LOSS; and David Leavitt enjoys the themes of politics and love in Thomas Mallon’s McCarthy-based novel.

LA Times: Jane Smiley appreciates Elmore Leonard’s latest masterclass in crime writing; Nick Owchar talks with Richard Flanagan, whose new novel THE UNKNOWN TERRORIST is critiqued by Melvin Jules Bukiet; Paul Powers’ autobiography of his pulp fiction days is published 36 years after his death; Richard Rayner is generally effusive about LOS ANGELES NOIR; and Sonja Bolle debuts her monthly children’s column.

G&M: Margaret Atwood comments on the strangeness of writing in collaboration; Cynthia McDonald’s review of the YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION has the best headline ever; Stanley Coren prepares a primer for kids who want to have a pet; and Margaret Cannon reviews new crime offerings from Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Natsuo Kirino, J.D. Copeland, James Hawkins and Simon Brett.

Guardian Review: Peter Wilby analyzes the biographies of soon-to-be-former PM Tony Blair; Patrick McGrath relishes the dark side of Daphne Du Maurier; Terry Eagleton applauds Joseph O’Connor’s evocation of the Civil War; and Matthew Lewin reviews new crime novels by Steve Mosby, Jesse Kellerman and Sophie Hannah.

Observer: Andrew Anthony comments on Anthony Holden’s return to the “new” poker circuit; Rachel Cooke has a serious axe to grind against Lionel Shriver; and Robert McCrum comments on literary failure.

The Times: Jeanette Winterson details how she fell madly in love with Venice; Martin Amis delves into the Islamist world that Ed Hussein entered and left behind; Francine Stock questions the wisdom of a publishing prize solely for women; Maureen Freely appreciates the ring of truth in Helen Oyeyemi’s second novel; and Tom Deveson may not be the ideal reader for Charlotte Mendelson’s WHEN WE WERE BAD.

The Scotsman: Susan Mansfield discovers the strange influences underlying Nicola Barker’s work; Lee Randall gains greater admiration and awe of Deborah Moggach; Tom Adair is astonished by the literary powers of Sebastian Faulks; and Lionel Shriver reveals plenty in this Q&A.

The Rest:

The WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg talks with Laura Lippman
about the real life Lyon case, moving from standalones to series and back again and the influence of THE WIRE – which is really the influence of its novelist writers.

Eddie Muller’s idiosyncratic crime column returns with a look at Vicki Hendricks’ CRUEL POETRY, LOS ANGELES NOIR and next year’s NoirCon.

Also in the SF Chronicle, Christine Thomas unravels the many layers contained within Jose Carlos Somoza’s ZIG ZAG.

Malice Domestic is finishing up this weekend and the Rutland Herald reveals why so many flock to the traditionally-minded mystery convention each year.

The Brooklyn Rail met up with Bolivian crime writer Juan de Recacoechea and his translator, Adrian Althoff, to discuss AMERICAN VISA and being just about the only practitioner of “Bolivian Noir.”

Obligatory Chabon Q&A piece, this courtesy the Sydney Morning Herald’s Helen GreenwoodThe paper also chats with Michael Ondaatje about his new novel DIVISADERO.

AP’s Hillel Italie talks with Amy Hempel, whose COLLECTED STORIES is proving to be a sleeper hit.

And finally, stealing from the mob is a bad, bad idea.