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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 December, 2008

Tue, December 23rd, 2008
See you next year!
Posted by: Keir Graff

Well, I’ll be headed out the door shortly for nice, long Christmas vacation. Likely Stories will be dark until I return on Monday, January 5th. Thanks for reading in 2008–there will be some exciting changes around here in 2009. Happy Holidays and a very Merry New Year! I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Brian […]


Tue, December 23rd, 2008
David Foster Wallace’s “Richard Taylor’s ‘Fatalism’”
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the New York Times Magazine (“Consider the Philosopher“), James Ryerson reviews David Foster Wallace’s undergraduate thesis, which remains unpublished and largely unknown. There is, however, a reason that it may never receive wide readership, as you’ll see below: Given his considerable intellectual gifts and large cult following, it may come as a surprise to […]


Tue, December 23rd, 2008
Do the Holidays Make You Depressed, Too?
Posted by: Keir Graff

Bah, humbug! On Salon (“Read it and weep“), Jason Boog writes about “the end of days” for the publishing industry: “There were hedge fund guys with no background in publishing buying up publishing houses,” says André Schiffrin, founder of the New Press and author of “The Business of Books: How the International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing […]


Mon, December 22nd, 2008
Perls of Wisdom
Posted by: Keir Graff

On Slate, Erica S. Perl offers a spirited defense of the premier award in children’s literature (“Captain Underpants Doesn’t Need a Newbery Medal“): But literary awards should do more than simply affirm books that are easy to love and would likely find fans regardless of a medal. They also serve as inspiration for authors to […]


Mon, December 22nd, 2008
Doing It Yourself
Posted by: Keir Graff

I’ve long defended the traditional route of publishing (as opposed to self-publishing) as a flawed but extremely useful vetting process. I feel that way as both a book reviewer and a reader–there are just so many books out there that the often-ruthless decisions made by publishing houses improve the odds that the book you pluck off the shelf will be […]


Mon, December 22nd, 2008
Maybe He’s Isolating Himself
Posted by: Keir Graff

Horace Engdahl, who earned the admiration of the literary world with his embrace of good writing, regardless of the country it comes from, has resigned as permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy (“Swedish Academy Secretary to Step Down in June,” by Steven McElroy, New York Times). Or maybe I should say that he has become the impermanent secretary of […]


Thu, December 18th, 2008
But I’m Sure He Was Perfectly Objective
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the book-review world’s equivalent of stunt casting, Tina Brown assigned Conrad Black to write a review of Michael Wolff’s The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch. Although Black is not primarily known as a book reviewer, he is the author of two books, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom […]


Thu, December 18th, 2008
The Gospel According to James Frey
Posted by: Keir Graff

It’s the holiday season, and James Frey (Bright Shiny Morning, 2008) is the gift that keeps on giving. From The Guardian, and the headline says it all: “James Frey to write ‘third book of the Bible’.” James Frey is moving on from his drugs and booze-soaked memoirs to write the third book of the Bible, in […]


Wed, December 17th, 2008
Eggheads Have Egg on Face
Posted by: Keir Graff

The poetry beat is getting more and more seedy. From The Independent (“Chinese ‘classical poem’ was brothel ad,” by Clifford Coonan): There were red faces on the editorial board of one of Germany’s top scientific institutions, the Max Planck Institute, after it ran the text of a handbill for a Macau strip club on the front page of […]


Tue, December 16th, 2008
A Surprising New Threat to Children’s Literacy
Posted by: Keir Graff

Usually, if I want to read criticism of the ALA and its works, I need look no farther than the Library Journal website. But, this fall, as the Washington Post reports (“Plot Twist,” by Valerie Strauss), attacks have been coming from unlikely quarters: John Beach, associate professor of literacy education at St. John’s University in […]





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