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Likely Stories

A Booklist Blog
Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

Archive for February, 2007

Wed, February 28th, 2007
He could have at least picked up trash along the highway
Posted by: Keir Graff

Here’s a heart-warming story of a man who didn’t let a prison sentence stop him from writing a book. Take that, whiners! Oh, wait. Sigh. Make that a “heart-worming” story.  I first saw this story in this morning’s Chicago Tribune (“Dracula book gets American early release“), while I was fending off the jam-covered hands of my two-year-old, but the […]


Wed, February 28th, 2007
Bidart Wins the Bollingen
Posted by: Keir Graff

File this under, “Who Says Poetry Doesn’t Pay?” The News Blog of the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Frank Bidart has won the 2007 Bollingen Prize for Poetry. (If you look at the URL on the link, it appears that the first draft misspelled the award’s name.) The prize is given by the Yale […]


Wed, February 28th, 2007
You could always take up philately
Posted by: Keir Graff

From Cary Tennis’ “Since You Asked“ column on Salon.com:  Q: I don’t feel like writing. Does that mean I’m not a writer? A: Yes. Cary Tennis’ answer to this self-described “young, talented writer” is far more thoughtful than mine, but given the number of books being published every year — and the number of authors desperate […]


Tue, February 27th, 2007
Who are they writing for? They don’t know, either.
Posted by: Keir Graff

Gawker (“Secret Workings of ‘Times’ Book Review Exposed!“) has the inside scoop on an insider’s take: Barry Gewen, an editor at the New York Times Book Review, told an audience at Harvard how things work where he works. (And enough with the cloying sentence construction, me.) Gewen named names (of Book Review staff), explained selection […]


Mon, February 26th, 2007
Philip Roth Three-peats the PEN/Faulkner
Posted by: Keir Graff

Philip Roth has won the 2007 PEN/Faulkner award for fiction, for Everyman. He’s the first writer to have won it three times. (He also won for The Human Stain [2001] and Operation Shylock [1994].) From the Washington Post (“For Roth, a 3rd PEN/Faulkner Win, by Bob Thompson”): Roth’s novel tells the story of the physical decline […]


Fri, February 23rd, 2007
Who is Britain’s greatest living author?
Posted by: Keir Graff

Ian McEwan? Salman Rushdie? Harold Pinter? A. S. Byatt? Doris Lessing? Alan Bennett? Iain Banks? David Mitchell? Ian Rankin? Pat Barker? Alasdair Gray? Philip Pullman? Nick Hornby? Martin Amis? Muriel Spark? Terry Pratchett? J. K. Rowling? In the Guardian (“Who is the greatest of them all?“), Stephen Moss assesses the field — and the concept. One early respondent attempts to kill the debate at birth: […]


Fri, February 23rd, 2007
Seeing Stars
Posted by: Keir Graff

Things have been awfully busy around here lately and I find I’ve been drifting away from what I like doing most — writing about the books I’m reading. By the time I’m done opining (or whining) about the news, updating the landing pages in Booklist Online, and bug-hunting in our new publishing system, it’s usually too late in […]


Thu, February 22nd, 2007
Don’t like literary awards? Start your own!
Posted by: Keir Graff

If you’re attracted to the sexiness of book awards despite their arbitrariness and stupidity, you may wish to participate in The Morning News‘ 2007 Tournament of Books. The mission statement, according to ToB chairman Kevin Guilfoile: Someone, possibly me, once said that all decent ideas are born from too much wine, and so it was […]


Wed, February 21st, 2007
Ex Libris
Posted by: Keir Graff

There’s been a lot of discussion of late about the future of reading and of books as physical objects, but if paper-and-ink reading ever goes the way of the dodo bird (please, please let it not happen), there will be a symbiotic, minor art form that will die as well: the bookplate. Lewis Jaffe sent […]


Wed, February 21st, 2007
Better Than Any Book You’re Reading
Posted by: Keir Graff

In his “Media Mix” column exploring the mainstream media’s increasing coverage of what was once “tabloid fare” (the circumstances surrounding Anna Nicole Smith’s death, the hair formerly belonging to Britney Spears), USA Today‘s Peter Johnson seeks insight from Us Weekly‘s editor, Janice Min, and gets, well – get this: Min understands Smith’s appeal. “This story is the ultimate […]





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