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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

Mon, October 15th, 2007
Maybe That’s Why the Name Is Synonymous with Sausage
Posted by: Keir Graff

Book lovers may well imagine that the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest literary marketplace, is a kind of nirvana–commercial, sure, but nonetheless a jaw-dropping testament to the continuing relevance of books and writers. Those book lovers have not yet read Carole Cadwalladr’s lively, sobering report on this year’s fair (“‘It’s carnage…’ Inside the genteel world of books,’” Observer): But then […]


Fri, October 12th, 2007
You Don’t Even Need Quarters
Posted by: Keir Graff

It’s Friday. Knock off early and head to the arcade. (Thanks, Carlos!)


Fri, October 12th, 2007
Keep a Handkerchief Handy
Posted by: Keir Graff

This is either the most romantic thing I’ve read all year, or the most depressing–actually, it’s both (“Love letter that sealed a death pact,” by Graham Tearse, Guardian): An open letter of love and despair written by renowned French philosopher André Gorz to his British-born wife, Doreen, has become an overnight bestseller in France after […]


Fri, October 12th, 2007
Hey, Nobody Put a Gun to Your Head
Posted by: Keir Graff

Film critic writes book, cries, finds happy ending, offers advice: write in Starbucks. I’m being glib. Partly. From the Star-Telegram (“S-T film critic’s book-publishing adventure,” by Christopher Kelly): That was when I realized that if you truly value your mental health, fiction writing is not the wisest way to spend your spare time.


Fri, October 12th, 2007
Where the Next Novel Is
Posted by: Keir Graff

Perhaps you’ve heard about this already, but if you haven’t, I think you’ll be interested. I saw this in Publishers Weekly (“Live from Frankfurt,” by Karen Holt) first, but New York (“Dave Eggers’s Next Novel Is Based on ‘Where the Wild Things Are’?“) included pretty pictures: Publishers Weekly reports that the Frankfurt Book Fair is […]


Thu, October 11th, 2007
Lessing Wins the Nobel
Posted by: Keir Graff

Wow! Those crazy Swedes have made some surprising picks in the past (Elfriede Jelinek, anyone?), but this time they picked someone–Doris Lessing–that Ladbrokes hadn’t even bothered to give odds on. They even had Bob Dylan, for crying out loud. (At 150-1, I was sure I’d be retired by now–so long, kids’ college fund!) However, unlike some picks, Lessing is someone […]


Wed, October 10th, 2007
And Then He Did the Old Soft Shoe
Posted by: Keir Graff

Talk about surprised expectations, Hermione Lee’s (Edith Wharton) prologue to her conversation with Philip Roth (Exit Ghost) closes with a surprising paragraph (the interview is from the New Yorker ["Age Makes a Difference"] but the introduction is only in the Observer ["An audience with Philip Roth"]): On our last evening. Philip takes me to an Italian restaurant […]


Wed, October 10th, 2007
National Book Award Finalists
Posted by: Keir Graff

The National Book Award Finalists have been announced. Surprises? Take your pick. Fiction Fieldwork, by Mischa Berlinski (Farrar) Varieties of Disturbance, by Lydia Davis (Farrar) Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris (Little, Brown) Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson (Farrar) Like You’d Understand, Anyway, by Jim Shepard (Knopf) Nonfiction Brother, I’m Dying, by […]


Wed, October 10th, 2007
Read the Big Read
Posted by: Keir Graff

F.O.B. (Friend of Booklist) Kaite Mediatore Stover has a new blog up and running–this one’s for her workplace, Kansas City Public Library. It’s called The Big Read, meaning that classic film aficianados and punsters still have “The Big Read One” available to them. Sorry. This fall’s Big Read is Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. […]


Tue, October 9th, 2007
He May Have Been a Man of Letters, but He Was Only Flesh and Blood
Posted by: Keir Graff

To mark the occasion of Edmund Wilson’s induction to the Library of America, “that clothbound hall of literary fame,” Charles McGrath offers a fascinating profile of “the most functional alcoholic in all of American letters.” From the New York Times (“A Shaper of the Canon Gets His Place in It“): Some of his most thrilling stuff, though, is the literary journalism he […]





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