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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

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 2:52 pm
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 America is like my distant uncle who doesn’t remember my name but occasionally gives me pocket money. That phone call filled me with an enormous affection for my uncle!”

Brisingr brisings home the bacon (“‘Brisingr’ Breaks Random House Children’s Record,” by Diane Roback, Publishers Weekly):

Brisingr (Knopf), the long-awaited third volume in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle, arrived last Friday night, September 20, at midnight. In a record for Random House Children’s Books, the book sold 550,000 copies in its first day.

Humor is hard to find in Jack Handey’s “Laughter in the Dark” (New York Times):

In general, the easiest way to locate the Humor section in any bookstore is to go through the front entrance of the bookstore and to the farthest point from the entrance. That’s where the Humor section will be.

Are scary parts getting scarce in fairy tales (“Fear of fairy tales,” by Joanna Weiss, Boston Globe)?

Rapunzel has become a lobotomized girl in a pleasant tower playroom; Cinderella is another pretty lady in a ball gown, like some model on “Project Runway.”

William Leith’s essay (“Blurb your enthusiasm,” The Guardian) is a witty and touching tribute to a common industry practice that you’ll want to read again and again! Also, Leith is a book marketer’s dream date:

Anyway, I started reading the US essayist Chuck Klosterman’s books, partly because of a blurb by Ellis (“I can’t think of a more sheerly likable writer than Chuck Klosterman”) and partly because of a blurb by Douglas Coupland (“He’s the real thing”). And I read Coupland’s Shampoo Planet partly because of a blurb by Nick Hornby (“A rich, intelligent piece of work”). And I definitely read Christopher Coake’s book of short stories We’re in Trouble because of a Hornby blurb. He said: “Sometimes, when you’re reading these stories, you forget to breathe.” Which, for me, wasn’t quite true. But they are terrific stories.

(More on blurbing here.)


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