The Trib gets the nod this week for superior literary coverage, with several significant new books covered:
* Art Winslow reviews Cloud Atlas, finding it neither difficult nor unreadable. “Unlikely as it might sound, the book feels as if it partakes of Nordhoff and Hall’s Mutiny on the Bounty and Melville’s ‘Billy Budd,’ Philip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ (basis of the sci-fi film “Blade Runner”), Ken Kesey’s nightmare of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, ethnographies of the South Pacific from the early days of anthropology, and even corporate-malignancy-cum-murder thrillers a la Silkwood.”
* Jane Ciabattari looks at two books with southeast Michigan settings, The Mercy Killers by Lisa Reardon, and All These Girls by Ellen Slezak. In a sidebar, Jessica Reaves talks to Stuart Dybek about Mich lit. (No mention of my man Seager, though.)
* Jonathan Rosen’s Joy Comes in the Morning gets good marks from Floyd Skloot. “Despite the lack of suspense, Rosen holds the reader with suave prose, delightful narrative inventiveness and compelling ideas.”
* Finally, Alan Cheuse reviews Louis de Bernieres’s “soaring” Birds Without Wings. “Give[es] the dazzled reader a lively and enlivening history and character study and geography and theological accounting all in one.”
Across the way at the Sun-Times, they go easy on me this week:
* Mark Ahtitakis covers Greenblatt’s Shakespeare, calling it “A speculative but rigorous biography that ties the man’s historical record to his plays, his plays to Elizabethan society, and that society to the man himself. (I still haven’t read the other articles.)
* Looks like the ST’s expanded literary calendar is here to stay — now on its own page.
* Finally, something I missed from Friday’s ST: Hedy Weiss’s piece on the new collection, Seven Black Plays: The Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting, with an intro by August Wilson.