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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 September, 2008

Tue, September 30th, 2008
A Good Reason to Visit the White House
Posted by: Keir Graff

Warm congratulations to the good people at the Kansas City Public Library (“Kansas City Public Library wins 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Services,” by Joe Robertson, Kansas City Star): The creative partners behind the Kansas City Public Library know they have been on a roll. And now they have the nation’s highest honor […]


Mon, September 29th, 2008
Fiery Talk Fuels Firebombing
Posted by: Keir Graff

Sadly, the talk of violence in the Jewel of Medina controversy was not just theoretical. The New York Times reported yesterday that Martin Rynja of Gibson Square, the book’s UK publisher, was the victim of something more than inflammatory speech. Thankfully, no one was hurt (“Attack May Be Tied To Book About Muhammad,” by Sarah Lyall): Early […]


Fri, September 26th, 2008
Quickly: A Tenured Writer, a Child Soldier, an Obscene Publisher, a Bad Poet, An Unhappy Critic, Two Depressed Writers, and a Fantasy of NASCAR
Posted by: Keir Graff

Boy, I’ve had a hard time keeping up lately. In the New York Times Magazine (“Those Who Write, Teach“), David Gessner asks, “what, if anything, does it mean for a country to have a tenured literature? It’s fine for writing teachers to talk in self-help jargon about how their lives require “balance” and “shifting gears” between teaching […]


Thu, September 25th, 2008
Take Time Out for Time Out Chicago
Posted by: Keir Graff

The cover story of this week’s issue of Time Out Chicago, “Cultural Heroes,” includes five ”page-turners“: Achy Obejas (Days of Awe), Stuart Dybek (I Sailed with Magellan), Joe Meno (The Boy Detective Fails), Aleksandar Hemon (The Lazarus Project), and Alex Kotlowitz (The Other Side of the River). (Check it out–five literary stars, five starred reviews.) Obejas […]


Wed, September 24th, 2008
5 Under 35 X 3
Posted by: Keir Graff

The National Book Foundation has selected this year’s 5 Under 35: Matthew Eck (The Farther Shore, 2007) Keith Gessen (All the Sad Young Literary Men, 2008) Sana Krasikov (One More Year: Stories, 2008) Nam Le (The Boat, 2008) Fiona Maazel (Last Last Chance, 2008) Interestingly, each promising young writer has been selected by someone previously selected as a promising young writer. Click here […]


Tue, September 23rd, 2008
Quickly: Adichie, Brisingr, Handey, Rapunzel, Blurbs!
Posted by: Keir Graff

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun, 2006) is a genius (“25 Receive $500,000 ‘Genius’ Fellowships,” by Patricia Cohen, New York Times): Ms. Adichie was celebrating her birthday and taking a bath when the phone call came. “I was thrilled and grateful,” she wrote in an e-mail message from Lagos. “I like to say that […]


Mon, September 22nd, 2008
Bleeping Books
Posted by: Keir Graff

Speaking of Banned Books Week–you were just speaking of it, weren’t you? It’s possible that I’ve turned my listening device to the wrong channel, but we here at the Agency rarely make mistakes. (And when we do, we rarely admit it.) So, since I’ve caught you discussing books of questionable moral character, I know that […]


Thu, September 18th, 2008
James Crumley, R.I.P.
Posted by: Keir Graff

I just heard from my father that James Crumley is dead. He hadn’t been well for quite some time, so it wasn’t a surprise, but it’s still a blow. The Wrong Case (1975) and Dancing Bear (1983) inspired me to try my hand at writing crime fiction–it’s a good thing I hadn’t read The Last Good […]


Tue, September 16th, 2008
That Is, If “Film Critic” Means “One Who Is Critical of Films”
Posted by: Keir Graff

Know who could have saved the “At the Movies” franchise? Philip Roth. His acerbic takedowns would have filled a gap left empty since the death of Gene Siskel–and, come to think of it, there’s a slight physical resemblance as well. The only drawback? The show would have to limit its focus to adaptations of Roth’s own novels. […]


Mon, September 15th, 2008
David Foster Wallace, R.I.P.
Posted by: Keir Graff

David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest (1996), has died, an apparent suicide (“David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer, Dies at 46,” by Bruce Weber, New York Times): In response to a question about what being an American was like for him at the end of the 20th century, he told the online magazine Salon in […]





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