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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, August 19th, 2008
Also, The Story of Civilization Has a Terrible Plot
Posted by: Keir Graff

Defending her role in the unpublishing of Sherry Jones’ The Jewel of Medina, Denise Spellberg writes “I do not espouse censorship” in The Wall Street Journal (“I Didn’t Kill ‘The Jewel of Medina’“). Nevertheless: . . . I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel’s potential to provoke anger among some […]


Thu, August 7th, 2008
Bad Blurb Dooms Book
Posted by: Keir Graff

Citing fear for the safety of its author and its employees, Random House has canceled publication of Sherry Jones’s The Jewel of Medina, a historical novel about Aisha, a young wife of the prophet Muhammad. A glance at this news undoubtedly causes many of us to ask: have the terrorists won? But this is a more nuanced […]


Thu, January 17th, 2008
Historically Incorrect
Posted by: Keir Graff

Publishers, heed Edward Champion’s demand that we “Stop bowdlerising books for kids“! (British spelling because it’s in the Guardian‘s theblogbooks.) Perhaps this new emphasis on books-as-manuals is why today’s children’s book publishers have been more gutless when reissuing their backlist titles. Presumably motivated by the fear of “corrupting” young minds and offending readers, publishers have […]


Mon, December 10th, 2007
Philip Pullman Answers Somewhat Softly
Posted by: Keir Graff

Given a recent Major Motion Picture Event, Philip Pullman’s popular His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, 1996; The Subtle Knife, 1997; The Amber Spyglass, 2000) has enjoyed a resurgence of attention. Well, perhaps “enjoyed” doesn’t tell the full story. But rather than link to the many examples of fear for thought, I’ll just link to this interesting […]


Thu, December 6th, 2007
There’s a Rapper On My Bus Who Needs a Suspended Sentence, Too
Posted by: Keir Graff

The Lyrical Terrorist has been sentenced. From the Guardian (“‘Lyrical terrorist’ sentenced over extremist poetry,” by Samina Malik): A 23-year-old former Heathrow shop assistant who called herself the “lyrical terrorist” and scrawled her extremist thoughts on till receipts has been handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence. Free samples.


Fri, November 16th, 2007
Iran’s Readers Melancholy
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the Guardian (“Iranian publisher’s ruse fails to protect raunchy García Márquez title from censors,” by Robert Tait): Iran’s straight-laced censors are not known for their tolerance of sexually risque literature, so a book called A Memory of My Melancholy Whores was never likely to meet with their approval. But in their determination to get Gabriel […]


Tue, November 13th, 2007
Is writing bad poetry a terrorist act?
Posted by: Keir Graff

Shirley Dent says it isn’t. And Harry Potter gets worked into the discussion. From the Guardian books blog, again (“Terrible poet, laughable terrorist“): In his recent book, An Invitation to Terror, Professor Frank Furedi likened official responses to terrorism to that of the school kids in Harry Potter: the terrorist threat is a “Voldermort-like figure that cannot or […]


Wed, October 24th, 2007
It’s Not The Road, That’s For Sure
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the AP (“Complaint puts Texas teacher on leave,” by Angela K. Brown): TUSCOLA, Texas – A popular English teacher has been placed on paid leave – and faces possible criminal charges – after a student’s parents complained to police that a ninth-grade class reading list contained a book about a murderer who has sex […]


Wed, October 3rd, 2007
Must…Stop…Blogging….
Posted by: Keir Graff

I can’t seem to leave the New York Times site today. For instance, have you heard of “libel tourism”? Me neither. Rachel Donadio explains (“Libel Without Borders“). And David Brooks ponders how Jack Kerouac’s On the Road went from being “a burst of rollicking, joyous American energy” to “the book you want to read if you find Sylvia […]


Mon, October 1st, 2007
Tintin Reported Lost in Congo
Posted by: Keir Graff

So now Little, Brown won’t be publishing Tintin in the Congo at all (“Little, Brown Cancels Tintin in the Congo,” by Lynn Andriani, Publishers Weekly): Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, which had been planning to publish Tintin in the Congo, a book criticized for its racist, Colonial-era depictions of Africans, has quietly pulled the […]





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