The Jewish Holiday Weekend Update

Rosh Hashanah has ended, and I survived the onslaught of food (excellent) synagogue (running into people you’d never expect) social interaction (by and large good) and self-reflection (mixed.) Still catching up on much I’ve missed, which may make this Update a bit weightier than usual – starting off with my new Baltimore Sun column, featuring reviews of new books by Kathy Reichs, Charlie Huston, Margaret Coel, Cora Harrison and Humphrey Hawksley.

Also, I’ve started contributing to Time Out New York‘s “Out There” section at the front of the book. This piece focuses on the tumultuous history of 814 Fifth Avenue, once an illustrious art museum rivaling the Frick and later known for being the murder spot of financier Serge Rubinstein – a crime unsolved to this very day.


NYTBR: Nell Freudenberger admires David Leavitt’s bravery on display in THE INDIAN CLERK; Terrence Rafferty has his problems with Sebastian Faulks’ change of direction; Ligaya Mishan compares the real-life case and Nikita Lalwani’s wonderful novel GIFTED; and Rachel Donadio revisits the canon wars – finding there is, in fact, a clear winner.

WaPo Book World: David Ignatius is glad to see Denis Johnson return with a Vietnam War epic; Ron Charles feels for the main character in Nikita Lalwani’s GIFTED; and Jonathan Yardley laps up the details in Michael Palin’s diary chronicling the Python years.

LA TImes: Philip K. Dick’s children continue to work to ensure the author’s legacy; Scott Timberg talks with Junot Diaz about that long wait, his love of science fiction and his next projects; Douglas Hofstadter dissects the many ideas contained within Steven Pinker’s new tome; and Carolyn Kellogg has her say about Ellen Litman’s novel-in-stories.

G&M: Jeffrey Wilson puts the Myriam Bedard child abduction trial (!!!!!!!) in necessary perspective; Martin Levin compares book and film versions of the same ideas; Natasha Cooper adores Peter Robinson’s latest Inspector Banks effort; and Brian Mulroney’s memoirs are, frankly, too bloody long.

Guardian Review: David Grossman explains why he’s always felt compelled to write about the Holocaust; Julie Kavanagh looks at Rudolf Nureyev’s literary influences; Andrew Lycett pieces together the truth behind Arthur Conan Doyle’s letters; and Giles Foden comments on the Booker Prize shortlist and the so-called controversy over the lack of big names.

Observer: Elizabeth Day has the first interview with author-murderer Krystian Bala since he was convicted; Nick Greenslade is entertained by Ronan Bennett’s chess-inflected Russian thriller; and Sue Friedlander’s book on the Nazi’s extermination plans sends a chill down Tim Gardam’s spine.

The Times: Nick Rennison is gripped by Ruth Rendell’s latest tale, even if it’s not “top-flight”; Peter Millar finds himself in thrall to Yannick Murphy’s depiction of Mata Hari; Susan Hill and other authors offer tips on writing and their favorite ghost stories; and Peter Kemp takes aim at Laura Thompson’s biography of Agatha Christie.

The Scotsman: Stuart Kelly talks with Peter Ackroyd about all things biography; Andrea Mullaney appreciates Laura Thompson’s empathetic portrayal of Agatha Christie; Sophie Hannah undergoes the Q&A treatment; Gary Flockhart has a somewhat perfunctory profile of Mark Billingham; and in the midst of this profile of novelist John Buchan, I find out he was Canada’s G-G during the MacKenzie King years. Who knew?

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill concludes in her Sun-Sentinel column that William Lashner’s new Victor Carl novel “soars with well-timed twists and crisp storytelling.”

David Montgomery can’t lavish enough praise upon MJ Rose for her new thriller THE REINCARNATIONIST.

Susanna Yager offers her opinions on recent crime fiction efforts by Denise Mina and Elmore Leonard.

The Salt Lake City Tribune recounts Gordon Campbell’s storybook progression from trial lawyer to published thriller writer with MISSING WITNESS.

In the New Statesman, John Sutherland looks at how some crime writers make certain American cities their very own.

The Age’s Robin Sharp ponders the posthumous success of Robert Ludlum’s spy novels.

The AP talks with Howard Dully, whose lobotomy at age 12 transformed his life – and inspired his heart-wrenching memoir on the subject.

Sebastian Faulks tells the AP a bit more about his upcoming take on James Bond due out next spring.

At the Rap Sheet, J. Kingston Pierce wonders what happened to all the good crime dramas that populated the TV landscape in the 1970s.

And finally, most bizarre pic ever.