BY NICO VREELAND

[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers.]

The Pirates of Somalia , by Jay Bahadur, reviewed by Joshua Hammer (New York Times)

Basically any account of Somali pirates is fascinating. Like, remember those SEAL snipers who rescued a sea captain by simultaneously shooting three pirates from the back of a moving boat? That was awesome, and this book promises a whole lot of that kind of awesomeness. Including, but not limited to, the story of the author himself, who was evidently just some snot-nosed kid working a boring job in Chicago when he up and decided to travel halfway around the world and talk his way into the good graces of a couple bloodthirsty pirate gangs in order to write this book. Damn. [Get this book]


The Call, by Yannick Murphy, reviewed by Heller McAlpin (BN Review)

The elevator pitch for this book didn’t grab me: a rural veterinarian has a tough time. Yawn. But McAlpin’s review sheds a more detailed light on The Call, and makes it sound intriguing, even if its probably-contrived structure (as a series of notes on different veterinary “calls”) will probably keep me from actually reading it. [Get this book]


The Murder of the Century, by Paul Collins, reviewed by James McGrath Morris (Washington Post)

Surprisingly, Paul Collins is the first to write a book about the bizarre story of an 1897 murder in which different pieces of the corpse are discovered all over New York. The story includes tabloid wars, bombastic lawyers, and of course the weird mystery at the center of it all. [Get this book]

Sex on the Moon, by Ben Mezrich, reviewed by Bob Minzesheimer (USA Today)

The brand new USA Today books section carries a bigger stick than I’d’ve thought. Minzesheimer takes Mezrich to task in this review, slamming both his writing style and his lax journalistic practices. Mezrich is a known embellisher, so it’s not such a risky tack to sail, but it’s still nice to see that USA Today has teeth. For a space book worth half a crap, I’d go with Packing for Mars, by C4 favorite Mary Roach. [Get this book]


In brief: “Fill my mouth with the manly warmth of your nutbag”: a review of Nicholson Baker’s “book of raunch” House of Holes in the LA Review of Books. … The NYT comes to the same conclusion about The Night Train that I did, but their reviewer liked it more than me. … The jargon of the novel … Lemony Snicket’s review of The Astral is quite interesting if you missed it. … The Guardian’s review of Rules of Civility almost made this week’s list. … Also interesting: reviews of “yet another Swedish crime novel” and a stylebook for the Twitter set. … Finally, this review of Open City is intriguing, but actually make Cole’s previous book, Every Day Is for the Thief, sound like the one to get. Too bad it’s so hard to find.

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