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

Lights Out in Wonderland, by DBC Pierre, reviewed by David L. Ulin (L.A. Times)

I’m a huge DBC Pierre fan, but I’ve had this one on my shelf for 8 months (since its UK release) without finishing it. Ulin’s take on it is characteristically eloquent, and at least a measure more generous than my own. I have to imagine the people who don’t like Pierre won’t be nearly so generous. Then again, they’re not nearly as astute and enlightening as Ulin, either.  [Get this book]

Alice , by Judith Hermann, reviewed by Phillip Hensher (Guardian)

Hensher’s review casts a wide net in a short time, and manages to squeeze in a mini-history of novelists portraying loss and its effects. This is a piece worth reading. [This book is not yet available in the U.S.]

The Submission, by Amy Waldman, reviewed by Claire Messud (New York Times)

A special 9/11 commission picks a submission called “The Garden” from a heap of anonymous architectural proposals. Then it turns out that “The Garden” was created by a Muslim architect and things get sticky. The Submission sounds like a thoughtful, nuanced, unsplashy novel, and this review is the same.  [Get this book]

Luminarium, by Alex Shakar, reviewed by Donna Seaman (Chicago Tribune)

There’s no shortage of 9/11 books this month, with the 10th anniversary fast approaching. Shakar’s novel about the tragedy focuses on a pair of brothers who released a virtual reality game that gets forgotten in the aftermath of the towers falling—a similar occurrence, as Seaman notes, to the release of Shakar’s first novel shortly after the real 9/11. It sounds a bit petty, but Seaman likes it a lot, and Shakar has a good track record here at C4. [Get this book]

In brief: The case against teachers’ unions is far from airtight. … The latest provocative book about women’s sexuality and using good looks to advantage, and a pretty good review. … Joe Lieberman has written a moronic book about having sex on the sabbath (kind of). … The new book Retromania helps explain why Ready Player One is getting such hyperbolic rave reviews. … The Twin Cities Literary Punch Card is an awesome idea. … “A book that’s driven almost entirely by the novelty of its voice will polarize its readership”—I’m already on the South pole, trying to escape Busy Monsters. … The frustrating memoir of a high-level hacker.