The High Flying Weekend Update

This month’s Baltimore Sun column is a bit different in that I took a more gift-centric approach. So if you have gifts to give to people fitting in certain categories, try these books out.

NYTBR: Marilyn Stasio reviews new (or new-ish) books by Ian Rankin, Henry Kisor, Steve Berry and Eliot Pattison; George Saunders considers the stories of Daniil Kharms; Christopher Sorrentino is effusive about TOKYO YEAR ZERO by David Peace; and I swear, every time the NYTBR publishes Lee Siegel I can’t help but think they are a bunch of crazy masochists because any piece of his is going to be scrutinized line-by-line for any possible gaffes. Why bother?

And by now you’ve heard the news that Sam Tanenhaus will also add the Week in Review to his editorial duties. Which is a nice way of saying that hiring freeze is positively glacial.

WaPo Book World: Art Taylor reviews recent mysteries by John Hart, Miyuki Miyabe, Sophie Hannah and Iris Johansen; Michael Dirda rejoices at the release of THE COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN; and the mere idea of Alan Dershowitz reviewing a children’s book by Bill O’Reilly kinda makes my head explode.

LA Times: Read the entire issue, not just because I’m in it. I mean, we have Denise Hamilton on the pleasures of Beverly Cleary, David Ulin on the displeasures of rereading, Ed Park’s favorite SF novels and Sonja Bolle’s favorite kids’ books, Charles Solomon on a Winsor McKay compendium, and Nick Owchar reminiscing about Golden Books. And I’ve left out about half the goodies.

G&M: Keith Garebian admires Julie Kavanagh’s massive biography of Nureyev; Michael Adams introduces a written symposium on Islam-West relations, while Martin Collacott responds; and Lewis DeSoto is entranced by Beatrice MacNeil’s latest novel.

Guardian Review: Orhan Pamuk remains optimistic about the fate of writers in Turkey; Doris Lessing’s Nobel speech is a little less optimistic about everything, especially reading; Michael Hoffmann makes the case for Malcolm Lowry’s complete oeuvre, not just UNDER THE VOLCANO; and Kate Mosse reveals the room where she writes.

Observer: Yet more “best of” courtesy the broadsheet’s writers; Peter Guttridge makes his picks of crime fiction’s cream; and Jean Hannah Edelstein enjoys Nadine Gordimer’s latest collection of short stories.

The Times: Peter Millar chooses his favorite thrillers of the year; Joan Smith looks at a more recent spate of crime fiction; Erica Wagner goes retro with reprint favorites; and Damian Whitworth goes meta by picking favorite books by the newspaper’s writers.

The Scotsman: Allan Massie goes beyond the Booker to make his favorite picks; Michael Kerrigan unearths non-fiction’s passionate nature; and Aidan Smith ponders what to read on the toilet.

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill presents last-minute reviews of Tana French’s IN THE WOODS and James Doss’s THREE SISTERS, liking both books.

Adam Woog reviews the latest in crime by Sue Grafton, Charles Todd and Martin Limon, as well as the BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF PULPS.

A.S. Byatt explains why she loves Margery Allingham, and in the process the inspiration for the cover of Sebastian Faulks’ James Bond novel is revealed.

Jane Sullivan tries to explain why Australian women and crime fiction are a really good match.

The Sun-Times’ Jeff Johnson meets Michael Wiley, author of the SMP/PWA winner THE LAST STRIPTEASE.

Also in the Sun-Times is Ed Champion’s take on Yannick Murphy’s luminous version of Mata Hari.

Steve Almond argues in the Boston Globe that crime fiction shaped the way we see the world after reading THE BIG BLACK LIZARD BOOK OF PULPS.

And finally, never thought I’d see the day when I would use MWA and Page Six in the same sentence.