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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 'Censorship' Category

Tue, October 7th, 2008
From the Department of: You Wish
Posted by: Keir Graff

I received a press release for a book (David Michael Slater’s The Book of Nonsense: Sacred Books, Vol. 1) headlined, “Publisher Expects New Series to Be Banned.” Have we come to the point where publishers and authors want their books to be challenged, in the belief that the resulting attention, positive and negative, will increase sales? (After all, they can’t burn […]


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 […]


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 […]


Wed, September 10th, 2008
Quickly: Booker, Rushdie, Rowling, Palin, Challenged Books
Posted by: Keir Graff

The Booker shortlist has been announced: Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger), Sebastian Barry (The Secret Scripture), Amitav Ghosh (Sea of Poppies), Linda Grant (The Clothes on Their Backs), Philip Hensher (The Northern Clemency), Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)–but no Salman Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence). Why not? The book wasn’t good enough (“Rushdie […]


Mon, September 8th, 2008
Sherry Jones Finds U.S. Publisher for Jewel of Medina
Posted by: Keir Graff

According to Publishers Weekly, Sherry Jones’ Jewel of Medina will be published in the U.S. by Beaufort Books (“Beaufort to Publish ‘Jewel of Medina’,” by Jim Milliot). You may remember Beaufort as the house that picked up O. J. Simpson’s If I Did It. So clearly, it’s a matter of principle with them.


Thu, September 4th, 2008
Quickly: Meanie, Medina, Authoritarianism, Wao!
Posted by: Keir Graff

For authors and would-be authors, a valuable reminder that, when basing your characters on real-life people, you should change more than just the names. Like their gender, for instance. Or your mean-spirited worldview. (“Director: Library Diaries Author Invaded Patrons’ Privacy,” American Libraries) Sherry Jones’ The Jewel of Medina will be published after all, in Britain […]


Thu, September 4th, 2008
Interesting Timing
Posted by: Keir Graff

In Time (“Mayor Palin: A Rough Record“), Nathan Thornburgh’s examination of Sarah Palin’s political past turns up a noteworthy allegation: Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language […]


Wed, August 27th, 2008
Now That I Think of It, He Was Rather Well Groomed
Posted by: Keir Graff

Sir Salman Rushdie has received an apology from Ronald Evans, author of On Her Majesty’s Service (“Rushdie Shoots Down Book’s False Claims,” by Mary Jordan, Washington Post). (It’s not immediately evident whether the nickname “Scruffy” was one of Evan’s 11 falsehoods.) Said Rushdie: “Instead of going for the megabucks, you simply go to court for […]


Tue, August 19th, 2008
Good Question
Posted by: Keir Graff

“Should Mein Kampf Be Un-Banned?” (by Ursula Sautter, Time): It’s long-winded and badly written, a tirade against all things non-German that would have disappeared if its author had never managed to turn many of his vile words into action. Adolf Hitler’s notorious Mein Kampf (My Struggle), a manifesto posing as autobiography, has long been banned […]


Tue, August 19th, 2008
Point Taken, but the Timing Is Unfortunate
Posted by: Keir Graff

Sir Salman “Scruffy” Rushdie (sorry, I just can’t help myself, it’s too cute), whose name is frequently evoked in the Jewel of Medina affair (note to the Ian Fleming estate: great title for a Bond film), has weighed in (“Rushdie condemns cancellation of Muhammad novel,” by Hillel Italie, AP) “I am very disappointed to hear […]





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