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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 October, 2007

Wed, October 31st, 2007
George Plimpton: Merely “Pretty Good”?
Posted by: Keir Graff

I guess the mourning is officially over. George Plimpton, who died in 2003, is taking some lumps this week. On Slate (“Was George Plimpton a Literary Giant?“), Timothy Noah writes that “the late sportswriter and fireworks enthusiast” isn’t nearly as good as Philip Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman (and therefore, Roth) seems to think he is: He was […]

Mon, October 29th, 2007
They Don’t Write Novels Like They Used To, Apparently
Posted by: Keir Graff

Apparently the last half century has been a time of drought in Chicago letters. In its November issue, Chicago Magazine (“Tough Love: Great Chicago Novels“) offers its list of the “ten essential Chicago novels.” But while inclusion doesn’t necessarily hinge on a novel’s status as classic, the results skew that way, with only one post-1953 book–Sandra Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street […]

Mon, October 29th, 2007
Guantanamo and Goldman Sachs
Posted by: Keir Graff

Gotcha with that headline, didn’t I? A couple of award updates, the first one fairly late, the second one only a tiny bit late. Dan Fesperman’s The Prisoner of Guantanamo (Knopf) has won the International Association of Crime Writers‘ 2006 Hammett Prize. The other nominees were: Ghost Dancer, by John Case (Ballantine) Dark Companion, by Jim […]

Fri, October 26th, 2007
Posted by: Keir Graff

For their Halloween issue, Time Out Chicago is featuring scary stories by three local writers. The writers are Joe Meno (The Boy Detective Fails, 2006), Patrick Somerville (Trouble, 2006), and–boo!–me. Here are links to all three stories. I hope TOC doesn’t mind if I show you Blair Kelly‘s cool artwork, too. “Ghost Stations,” by Keir Graff One night she heard a […]

Thu, October 25th, 2007
Getting It Wrong and Being Mean about It?
Posted by: Keir Graff

If you haven’t been following it, there has been an interesting and thought-provoking series of posts on Galleycat about inaccuracy and negativity in book reviews. The jumping-off point is Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon. Oh, Mom, Poor Mom, The Critics Left You in the Freezer and I’m Feeling So Numb (10/22) In response to Thursday’s item about […]

Wed, October 24th, 2007
It’s Not The Road, That’s For Sure
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the AP (“Complaint puts Texas teacher on leave,” by Angela K. Brown): TUSCOLA, Texas – A popular English teacher has been placed on paid leave – and faces possible criminal charges – after a student’s parents complained to police that a ninth-grade class reading list contained a book about a murderer who has sex […]

Wed, October 24th, 2007
Book Events Have Bleacher Bums, Too
Posted by: Keir Graff

Bob Hoover, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s book editor, claims that audience behavior at several of the readings he attended recently ”reached the anarchy of the multiplex movie crowd” (“Book News: It’s a new ballgame at literary events“). I find the analogy a tiny bit strained–did anyone shout “Don’t go in there”? and is eating french fries actually anarchic?–but I won’t […]

Tue, October 23rd, 2007
In Other News
Posted by: Keir Graff

Nora Roberts’ Angels Fall won Book of the Year at the Quills last night, beating out both Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason.

Tue, October 23rd, 2007
Posted by: Keir Graff

What? You thought that the end of the Harry Potter series meant that we could finally stop talking about Harry Potter? Ha! J. K. Rowling’s recent outing of Albus Dumbledore has puffed a smoldering fire back into flame. Are her ex-post-facto revelations a carefully calculated attempt to prolong the publicity–or proof positive of full-blown logorrhea? (Actually, I’d like […]

Mon, October 22nd, 2007
Did I mention that her last name is Seinfeld?
Posted by: Keir Graff

This spat isn’t nearly as exciting as some, but I feel compelled to mention it anyway: Oprah Winfrey plugs Jerry Seinfeld’s wife Jessica’s cookbook. Missy Chase Lapine says she wrote it first. From USA Today (“Cookbook author says Seinfeld book ‘Deceptively’ similar,” by Deirdre Donahue): Moreover, she adds, “I’m concerned and troubled that Oprah credited and applauded […]

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