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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 August, 2008

Fri, August 8th, 2008
Ahead of His Time
Posted by: Keir Graff

And now for something completely different. Looking for a successful post-9/11 novel, Adam Kirsch finds one in the 19th century: Dostoyevsky’s Demons (“Demons Inner and Outer,” New York Sun). He asks: Why is it that our novelists, despite their best efforts, cannot write a politically informed, psychologically convincing book about Islamic terrorism? Why is it so difficult […]


Fri, August 8th, 2008
RITAs Lovely
Posted by: Keir Graff

The Romance Writers of America have announced the winners of the 2008 RITA Awards:  Best First Book Dead Girls Are Easy, by Terri Garey (Avon) Best Contemporary Series Romance Snowbound, by Janice Johnson (Harlequin) Best Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure Treasure, by Helen Brenna (Harlequin) Best Contemporary Single Title Romance Catch of the Day, by Kristan Higgins […]


Thu, August 7th, 2008
Bad Blurb Dooms Book
Posted by: Keir Graff

Citing fear for the safety of its author and its employees, Random House has canceled publication of Sherry Jones’s The Jewel of Medina, a historical novel about Aisha, a young wife of the prophet Muhammad. A glance at this news undoubtedly causes many of us to ask: have the terrorists won? But this is a more nuanced […]


Thu, August 7th, 2008
Many Voices, Much Singing
Posted by: Keir Graff

I had kind of been congratulating myself for my bravery in singing a few bars at the Booklist Forum, but after watching the recap of the Many Voices, Many Nations program, I’m in awe. Surely that was the year’s most musical discussion of books, writing, literacy, librarianship, and the fundamental unity of the global human […]


Wed, August 6th, 2008
Travel Guides for Armchair Reading
Posted by: Keir Graff

On Slate, Paul Collins (Sixpence House, 2003) has put together an absolutely irresistible list: The 10 Oddest Travel Guides Ever Published. To wit: 7. Lonely Planet Guide to Micronations, by John Ryan et al. (2006) This may be the only Lonely Planet guide in which armchair travel is probably assumed—for the countries themselves are about […]


Mon, August 4th, 2008
We Hope This Helps (You) with the Hype
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the Department of That Was Fast, or perhaps the Department of It’s No Harry Potter, but What Is? (“‘Breaking Dawn’ Breaks Hachette Records,” by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly): It didn’t hit Harry Potter numbers, but Hachette Book Group USA estimated that it sold 1.3 million copies of Breaking Dawn, on August 2, the day […]


Mon, August 4th, 2008
I’m Sorry, That Format Is Not Recognized
Posted by: Keir Graff

Remember when people thought that putting newspapers on microform meant that they would be preserved forever? This kind of makes me think of that (“At Libraries, Taking the (Really) Long View,” by Andy Guess). But as libraries shift more of their resources to holdings that either originate as digital or become digital through scanning, it’s […]


Mon, August 4th, 2008
Judging Books by an Extremely Narrow Portion of Their Covers
Posted by: Keir Graff

Over at Under the Covers, Lisa Chellman takes a look at a rarely discussed aspect of book design: the spine. She makes an excellent point that publishers would do well to heed: In libraries and bookstores, where face-out shelving is at a premium, readers’ first impression of a book isn’t the cover. It’s the spine.


Mon, August 4th, 2008
Forging the Truth
Posted by: Keir Graff

Lee Israel, a biographer fallen on hard times, turned to theft and forgery to make ends meet. She was good–two of her phony Noel Coward letters were included in last year’s The Letters of Noel Coward (Knopf). Somewhat contrite, she’s now published a book about her crimes, called Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Simon & […]


Mon, August 4th, 2008
Sir Scruffy Threatens Expensive Suit
Posted by: Keir Graff

. . . or at least that’s the headline I imagine the British tabloids using. Sir Salman Rushdie has threatened to bring a lawsuit against his former police bodyguard, Ron Evans, because of certain passages in Evans’ memoir, On Her Majesty’s Service (“Rushdie anger at policeman’s book,” BBC). The author of The Satanic Verses, however, […]





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