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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 May, 2008

Fri, May 16th, 2008
Yes, book reviewers want to be authors–you got a problem with that?
Posted by: Keir Graff

So Janet Maslin reviewed Bright Shiny Morning writing in the style of her subject (“Little Pieces of Los Angeles, Done His Way,” New York Times): He wrote a book but it was bad, liar bad, faker bad, it got him in trouble. A million little pieces. It was the name of the book. It was also […]

Thu, May 15th, 2008
Better Frey Up Some Time
Posted by: Keir Graff

So James Frey apparently told Evgenia Peretz that he had no plans to speak to the press after speaking to her (“James Frey’s Morning After,” Vanity Fair). Artful wording, that–plans, after all, do change (“James Frey takes a novel approach with ‘Bright Shiny Morning’,” by Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today). And change again: And again (“The […]

Wed, May 14th, 2008
The Glamour of a Writing Career
Posted by: Keir Graff

What with two sick kids and a handful of deadlines, half the week has passed without a post on my part. I’ve been saving up the good stuff, but I have a conference call in 15 minutes, so I won’t get to the good stuff today. I will, however, link to this very funny book […]

Fri, May 9th, 2008
Make That Fifty-One Percent
Posted by: Keir Graff

Yet another article about the problem of memoirs helps prove Jessa Crispin’s contention that “Fifty percent of all books coverage these days is, ‘Who is telling the truth?’ ” (“Memoirs: Whose Truth — and Does It Matter,” by Matthew Shaer and Teresa Mendez, Christian Science Monitor).  But it’s worth reading anyway: She points to Augusten Burroughs, […]

Wed, May 7th, 2008
Famous and Possessive: A Core List
Posted by: Keir Graff

Inspired by the excruciating ruminations of Lisa Chellman, I finally started a list I’ve been meaning to make for a long time. I think you’ll quickly discern the theme: Audubon’s Elephant, by Duff Hart-Davis (2004) Caesar’s Column, by Ignatius Donnelly and Walter Rideout (1960) Cleopatra’s Nose, by Daniel J. Boorstin (1994) Cleopatra’s Nose, by Judith Thurman (2007) […]

Tue, May 6th, 2008
Writing and Publishing Are His Business
Posted by: Keir Graff

If you missed Terry Gross’ ”Fresh Air” interview of the always-fascinating Charles Ardai yesterday, you can check it out online. Although much of the information about the Hard Case Crime publisher was familiar to me from my own interview three years ago (I’m proud to say that Booklist recognized HCC’s potential appeal long before the mainstream media […]

Mon, May 5th, 2008
Also, He Was Bad at Sports
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the Department of Silver Linings: according to the Independent, Salman Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence, 2008) told a TV shrink* that a death threat improved his outlook on life (“Rushdie: how the fatwa made me a much nicer man,” by Jonathan Owen): Sir Salman Rushdie has confessed how he emerged a better person after being under a […]

Mon, May 5th, 2008
Frey Blog!
Posted by: Keir Graff

For someone who seems a little media-shy, I’m not sure that blogging is the next best move for James Frey. The feedback tends to be, shall we say, forthright and immediate. Then again, there’s nothing quite so sincere as blogging on Amazon when you’ve got a book coming out.

Fri, May 2nd, 2008
Seems Like It Would Be Easier to Lie On the Page Than on Camera
Posted by: Keir Graff

All right, this will be my last fraud-related post of the week. Probably. On Media Assassin, Harry Allen has video of Margaret Seltzer, aka Margaret B. Jones (Love and Consequences, 2008), explaining what her upbringing was like: “We used to say, growing up, ‘I’m not from America, I’m from South Central L.A.’” Ouch! (Via.)

Fri, May 2nd, 2008
James Frey, Public Servant
Posted by: Keir Graff

As previously noted, James Frey is coming back. In his first interview since his second Oprah appearance, he rehashes the whole affair with Vanity Fair‘s Evgenia Peretz (“James Frey’s Morning After“). As much as I’ve always believed that it doesn’t matter whether writers are personally likeable–great art has often been created by jerks, and vice versa–well, […]

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