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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 the 'Book Lists' Category

Wed, May 28th, 2008
How about a Downbeat Reading List for People Who Find Comic Novels Amusing?
Posted by: Keir Graff

I received an e-mail yesterday from Marianne Goss, who wants to promote her site,, “an upbeat reading list for people who often find serious novels depressing”. In the event that there are a lot of like-minded readers out there, I’m happy to share the link. But as someone who thrives on darkness and despair, I don’t think […]

Wed, May 7th, 2008
Famous and Possessive: A Core List
Posted by: Keir Graff

Inspired by the excruciating ruminations of Lisa Chellman, I finally started a list I’ve been meaning to make for a long time. I think you’ll quickly discern the theme: Audubon’s Elephant, by Duff Hart-Davis (2004) Caesar’s Column, by Ignatius Donnelly and Walter Rideout (1960) Cleopatra’s Nose, by Daniel J. Boorstin (1994) Cleopatra’s Nose, by Judith Thurman (2007) […]

Tue, April 15th, 2008
Apocalypse Now and Then
Posted by: Keir Graff

I didn’t post yesterday because I was busy working on something for Booklist‘s May 15 Spotlight on SF/Fantasy–a core collection of apocalyptic fiction that preceded The Road. Whew! I may as well have chosen SF that involves space travel, or fantasy that features scaly beasts. I’m exaggerating, of course, but (and I’m quoting myself in advance […]

Wed, April 9th, 2008
The Case of Cain v. Abel
Posted by: Keir Graff

According to recent polls by Harris Interactive, Americans’ favorite genre is crime fiction and their favorite book is the Bible. I’m sure Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great, 2007) could make a one-liner out of that, but I’ll just posit my suspicion that not everyone who picked the Bible has read it cover to cover. Here’s the […]

Wed, February 20th, 2008
In the Shadow of the Gonzo Fist
Posted by: Keir Graff

I’m reading Thomas Kohnstamm’s Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics & Professional Hedonism (Three Rivers). Kohnstamm, bitten early by the travel bug, has an early-life crisis (at the time the book takes place, he’s still in his twenties), walks away from his job, and flies to Brazil to […]

Mon, February 11th, 2008
How to Read Books
Posted by: Keir Graff

Or should that be “how-to-read books”? In the Independent, D. J. Taylor’s review of James Wood’s How Fiction Works mentions the “very considerable critical sub-genre: the literary user’s manual.” Which includes: How to Read a Novel, by John Sutherland (2006) How Novels Work, by John Mullan (2006) Fifty-Two Ways to Read a Poem, by Ruth Padel […]

Mon, February 11th, 2008
These Good Reads come Best Recommended
Posted by: Keir Graff

Trying to catch up on a few older items today. The National Book Critics Circle’s “Best Recommended” list is now “Good Reads“–but the new list is still susceptible to some of the same old criticisms, capably voiced by Ron Hogan on Galleycat: If you were ever truly fascinated by what a cluster of people “from […]

Mon, January 7th, 2008
Editors’ Choice & Top of the List!
Posted by: Keir Graff

Busy, busy day here. But the new issue of Booklist is live, and so are Editors’ Choice and Top of the List. Check ‘em out–they’re free! (Love or loathe our picks? Let me know!)

Tue, December 4th, 2007
Listing to One Side
Posted by: Keir Graff

The Washington Post‘s Top Ten Books of 2007. The New York Times Sunday Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2007. (In common: The Savage Detectives, Tree of Smoke.) The National Book Critics Circle launches a new kind of list: the Best Recommended List. (Publishers Weekly called it the Most Recommended List.) (In common: Tree of Smoke.) […]

Mon, October 29th, 2007
They Don’t Write Novels Like They Used To, Apparently
Posted by: Keir Graff

Apparently the last half century has been a time of drought in Chicago letters. In its November issue, Chicago Magazine (“Tough Love: Great Chicago Novels“) offers its list of the “ten essential Chicago novels.” But while inclusion doesn’t necessarily hinge on a novel’s status as classic, the results skew that way, with only one post-1953 book–Sandra Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street […]

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