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Likely Stories

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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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Friday, March 19, 2010 5:35 pm
Last Weeklings: Late Edition
Posted by: Keir Graff

Whoops. So I forgot to hit “publish” on this edition of Weeklings last Friday. Lucky thing, though, because this week I’ve been far too busy to compile a new one. Portland, Oregon, here I come!

A government poisoning its own people — sounds like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, right? How about the U.S. in the 1920s? On Slate (“The Chemist’s War“), Deborah Blum (The Poisoner’s Handbook, 2010) tells the harrowing tale.

Laments for the old way of reading are many, whether focusing on the tactile pleasure of turning pages or the things we learn from commuters’ book covers. Russell Smith (“A Lament for the Bookshelf,” The Globe and Mail) feels that bookshelves do more than furnish a room.

So I always wonder, on every move, why I add to the cost and cut down the space in my inevitably tiny new living quarters by keeping these. People come to see my minuscule new living room and say, hmm, you could have another foot and a half without that wall of bookshelves. True, but then you would never be able to distract yourself, while waiting for me to dress, by pulling down, at random, Weapons of World War II and 100 Erotic Drawings.

David Shields’ manifesto, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (2010), has people agog, agape, and abuzz. On Salon (“R.I.P.: The Novel“), Laura Miller calls it “an old-fashioned tale.” Pretty funny.

And get ready for Night of the Living Trekkies. Though I may turn in early when it comes.

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