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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 'Editing' Category

Thu, June 4th, 2009
Give That Girl a (Book) Jacket
Posted by: Daniel Kraus

We all know Stephen King wrote The Body, but this is probably the first time he’s written on a body. The July issue of Esquire features a new story by King, “Morality,” the first few lines of which have been lovingly painted across the bod of Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli. The story is about a […]


Thu, April 16th, 2009
His Party Hat Has Horns On It
Posted by: Keir Graff

Like a lot of people, I’ve been guided on my writing journey by Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. According to Geoffrey K. Pullum’s eye-opening expose in The Chronicle of Higher Education, however (“50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice“), I’ve been had. Describing “the overopinionated and underinformed” book’s authors as “a pair of idiosyncratic bumblers who […]


Thu, March 5th, 2009
Copyediting Is His Business
Posted by: Keir Graff

Mary Frances Wilkens sent me a link to John E. McIntyre’s “Grammarnoir,” from his blog You Don’t Say, writing, “Reminds me of something I once read about a book reviewer and his curmudgeonly boss . . . ” She’s referring, of course, to “Reading Is My Business,” from last year’s Mystery Showcase. “Grammarnoir” is very funny, […]


Mon, November 17th, 2008
A Fraction of A Fraction of the Whole
Posted by: Keir Graff

To avoid unintended merriment at my expense, I’ll keep this short: Cynthia Crossen thinks A Fraction of the Whole, by Steve Toltz, is too long (“A Book in Need of a Good Editor,” The Wall Street Journal): But the blurbers and reviewers were so enthusiastic — Mr. Toltz was compared to Mark Twain, John Irving, Martin Amis, […]


Thu, August 21st, 2008
Perhaps I Could Have Used Advice from an Editor
Posted by: Keir Graff

I linked to the obituary of L. Rust Hills even though I didn’t have anything interesting to say about it. But I’ve always been interested in the relationship between author and editor, and now that so few authors get meaningful editing, I guess I was moved by the departure of one of the greats. Editors are all […]


Wed, August 20th, 2008
L. Rust Hills, R.I.P.
Posted by: Keir Graff

Still catching up. Oh, for the days when there was a “red-hot center” of American literary life. Former Esquire fiction editor L. Rust Hills remembered (“L. Rust Hills, Fiction Editor at Esquire, Dies at 83,” by Bruce Weber, New York Times): A shrewd reader with a keen ear for an original voice and a sure […]


Tue, April 1st, 2008
Guess What? My Name Isn’t Really “Keir Graff”
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the wake of the most recent fake-memoir scandals, many people have asked why editors don’t do a better job of fact-checking potential frauds. Well, maybe it’s because (invoking Shatner here) those editors. Don’t. In fact. Exist! Galleycat has done an excellent job of exposing this unethical practice. But, one reader assures me, sending out […]


Mon, March 3rd, 2008
It’s Hard to Fold a Wiki
Posted by: Keir Graff

Nicholson Baker, a print guy if there ever was one (Double Fold, 2001), falls in love with something that only lives on servers (“The Charms of Wikipedia,” TNYRB). Not only does Wikipedia need its vandals – up to a point – the vandals need an orderly Wikipedia, too. Without order, their culture-jamming lacks a context. If Wikipedia were […]


Wed, February 13th, 2008
“counting the humps”
Posted by: Keir Graff

…and other ways that documentary editors use to determine authors’ intent. On Slate, more on the Robert Frost problem (“The Impossible Art of Deciphering Manuscripts,” by Megan Marshall): One such reference seems to have tripped up Robert Faggen. A passage in which Frost alluded to fifth-century Mediterranean voyager Hanno the Carthaginian came out as “Hannof […]


Thu, January 31st, 2008
A Poet with a Doctor’s Handwriting
Posted by: Keir Graff

I’m a little slow getting around to this story (“Editing of Frost Notebooks in Dispute,” by Motoko Rich, New York Times), but I can’t resist it: last January, Harvard University Press published The Notebooks of Robert Frost, by Robert Faggen (not to be confused with Mr. Dickens’ Mr. Fagin). The hefty tome, which provided transcriptions of 47 notebooks […]





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