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Book Blog - Likely Stories, by Keir Graff - Booklist Online

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 November, 2007

Fri, November 16th, 2007
They Say the First 30 Words Are the Most Difficult
Posted by: Keir Graff

A corrective to the notion that aspiring writers have difficulty getting published. (“Faking it: Craigslist becomes a workshop for aspiring writers,” by Andrew Adam Newman, International Herald Tribune): Craigslist is “a fun place to look when you should be doing something else,” said Debbie Newman, an editor at the gossip blog Jossip who trawls Craigslist […]


Fri, November 16th, 2007
Wish I Were There
Posted by: Keir Graff

Inside the London Library (“The Insider,” by Frances Wilson, the Telegraph): The real pleasure of the place, however, is that walking up the steps and pushing open the door is like entering the wardrobe into Narnia. Behind the rational 18th-century exterior is a vortex that spreads, sprawls and expands, rising up into the clouds, spiralling […]


Fri, November 16th, 2007
The Best Reader in America
Posted by: Keir Graff

Michael Silverblatt, host of KCRW’s Bookworm, talks to the Los Angeles City Beat about L.A. literary culture, his reading habits, and the idea that arguing is impolite (“3rd Degree: Michael Silverblatt,” by Rebecca Epstein): You are known for being able to impress your guests with your critical acumen. Have you ever been stumped or totally […]


Fri, November 16th, 2007
Iran’s Readers Melancholy
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the Guardian (“Iranian publisher’s ruse fails to protect raunchy García Márquez title from censors,” by Robert Tait): Iran’s straight-laced censors are not known for their tolerance of sexually risque literature, so a book called A Memory of My Melancholy Whores was never likely to meet with their approval. But in their determination to get Gabriel […]


Thu, November 15th, 2007
Johnson, Weiner, Hass, and Alexie Win the National Book Award
Posted by: Keir Graff

The National Book Award winners have been announced. A somewhat controversial pick, Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke, is the fiction winner–giving our reviewer, Ben Segedin, the opportunity to say he called it. (And Donna Seaman starred the poetry winner, too.) Fiction Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson (Farrar) Nonfiction Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, by […]


Wed, November 14th, 2007
Ira Levin, R.I.P.
Posted by: Keir Graff

Ira Levin, a writer whose bestselling novels are probably most remembered by the movies made from them, has died. From the Associated Press (“‘Rosemary’s Baby’ Author Dies in NY,” by Larry McShane): NEW YORK (AP) – Best-selling writer Ira Levin, whose genre-hopping novels such as the horror classic “Rosemary’s Baby” and the Nazi thriller “The Boys From Brazil” […]


Wed, November 14th, 2007
What Would the Bigger Version Look Like?
Posted by: Keir Graff

A mere week after hearing that Judith Regan wants out of the spotlight (“I want my life to get smaller, not bigger”), we learn that she’s coming back to the spotlight in a big, big way. From the Associated Press (“Regan Files $100M Suit Against Publisher,” by Samuel Maull): NEW YORK (AP) – One-time book publishing powerhouse Judith […]


Tue, November 13th, 2007
War and Peace and Carpal Tunnel
Posted by: Keir Graff

And more on the mind-boggling notion of reading books on cell phones. From the Chicago Tribune (“Cell phones’ latest plot twist,” by the delightfully named Stevenson Swanson, if that is his real name): With their small screens, cell phones might not spring to mind as a suitable medium for reading lengthy stretches of text. And a […]


Tue, November 13th, 2007
From the Department of But Tell Us What You Really Think
Posted by: Keir Graff

Most critics really liked Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke (Booklist certainly did, too; the book earned a star from the tough-minded Ben Segedin). But it’s always interesting to read the outlier reviews. After all, book reviewing would be pretty boring if we all agreed on everything. And, boy, does B. R. Myers disagree (“A Bright […]


Tue, November 13th, 2007
Is writing bad poetry a terrorist act?
Posted by: Keir Graff

Shirley Dent says it isn’t. And Harry Potter gets worked into the discussion. From the Guardian books blog, again (“Terrible poet, laughable terrorist“): In his recent book, An Invitation to Terror, Professor Frank Furedi likened official responses to terrorism to that of the school kids in Harry Potter: the terrorist threat is a “Voldermort-like figure that cannot or […]





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