Weekend Update in a Post-Obama World

NYTBR: Jonathan Lethem spent ecstatic days with Roberto Bolano’s 2666 and pretty much declares it the novel to read; Richard Parker looks at the Great Depression and what it might mean for today’s economic crisis; Motoko Rich examines the improbable hit that is “Hip Hop Speaks to Children”; The Fall 2008 Children’s Book PagesA.O. Scott remembers John Leonard as critic and a regular person; and David Allan travels to Ian Fleming’s Jamaica.

WaPo Book World: Ron Charles has his say on Toni Morrison’s new novel; Jonathan Yardley goes on a walking excursion; and Peter Behrens is taken with Anne Enright’s recent short story collection.

LA Times: Ben Eherenreich on the current literary book of the moment, 2666; Beau Friedlander looks at the links between reading books and the Internet; Richard Rayner revisits Michael Chabon’s debut novel; and Carolyn Kellogg examines Jeffrey Ford’s new short story collection

G&M: Placing bets on who will win the Giller Prize on Tuesday; Elizabeth Renzetti remembers Barbara Cartland; and Nora Gold is haunted by Edeet Ravel’s Holocaust-themed new novel.

Guardian Review: Seamus Heaney compares and contrasts public and private personae; Carmen Callil is moved by the journal of Helene Berr; Alfred Hickling ponders the genre switch by Tim Binding into TJ Middleton; and Wyatt Mason on the charms of Tennessee Williams.

Observer: Felicity Dahl recalls her times with her late husband Roald; William Leith finds the punchlines in Jim Holt’s history of jokes; and Shena McKay talks up her literary life with Rachel Cooke.

The Times: Douglas Kennedy gives the Kerouac/Burroughs collaboration a spin, as does Nick Rennison; Simon Callow declares his love for the London library; the inevitable Le Clezio backlash in France; and Marcel Berlins rounds up new crime fiction by Ruth Rendell, Robert B. Parker and Aly Monroe.

The Scotsman: Neil Gaiman talks of graveyards and spooky stories; ten late-flowering debut novelists;and Claire Prentice tries to make sense of Anne Rice’s further explorations of Christianity.

The Rest:

So. Bolano. 2666 is the literary book of the moment. I bailed on the launch party Friday night but evidently it was so crowded as to make conversation just about impossible. New York should just re-commemorate November 11 as Bolano Day. The Complete Review, which doesn’t praise books lightly, calls it “the first great book of the twenty-first century.” Even O writes it up favorably! So what I’m about to say may come across as harshing on something without having read it, but based on my recent reading of THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES, I do wonder if the collective nerdgasm about Bolano has less to do with the work and more to do with how Bolano portrayed a certain type of masculinity that’s present in his fictional world of writers and almost wholly absent from New York’s real world of writers and other literary types.

Oline Cogdill applauds Kate Atkinson’s latest novel featuring Jackson Brodie.

Adam Woog looks at new releases
by P.D. James, Christopher Fowler and Charles Ardai in his Scene of the Crime column.

Eddie Muller reads Kent Harrington’s THE GOOD PHYSICIAN and raves bigtime. Also in the SF Chron is Michael Berry’s appreciation of Michael Crichton as a genre writer.

Dennis Lehane visits with NECN’s Book Club to talk about THE GIVEN DAY (via)

The Sydney Morning Herald chats with Richard Flanagan about his new historical novel, WAITING.

Of course everyone is sniffing around Sarah Palin for book and TV deals and the like, but come on, don’t you think Bob Barnett has this locked up already?

Ellen Jordan on kicking the dreaded coffee addiction.

Hunting a female serial killer in Germany whose crimes are wide and strange.

And finally, I can’t wait to see how this fully shakes out. Wow.