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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 'Lies' Category

Mon, August 4th, 2008
Forging the Truth
Posted by: Keir Graff

Lee Israel, a biographer fallen on hard times, turned to theft and forgery to make ends meet. She was good–two of her phony Noel Coward letters were included in last year’s The Letters of Noel Coward (Knopf). Somewhat contrite, she’s now published a book about her crimes, called Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Simon & […]


Mon, July 21st, 2008
Fact-Checking His Own Memoir
Posted by: Keir Graff

You don’t see this every day: a memoirist questioning his own veracity (“Times Columnist Uncovers His Darkest Story,” by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post). The author is David Carr and the book is The Night of the Gun. But recounting exactly what happened is another story, which is why he uses the approach of interviewing people from […]


Wed, May 21st, 2008
Frey’s Reading Is a Riot!
Posted by: Keir Graff

Well, it wasn’t the Hell’s Angels that were the problem, apparently, but still, a recent James Frey book event gave some attendees more than they bargained for (“Crowds Collide,” Page Six): May 17, 2008 — JAMES Frey – who told Page Six, “I’m trying to break the mold of what readings can be” – had […]


Thu, May 15th, 2008
Better Frey Up Some Time
Posted by: Keir Graff

So James Frey apparently told Evgenia Peretz that he had no plans to speak to the press after speaking to her (“James Frey’s Morning After,” Vanity Fair). Artful wording, that–plans, after all, do change (“James Frey takes a novel approach with ‘Bright Shiny Morning’,” by Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today). And change again: And again (“The […]


Fri, May 9th, 2008
Make That Fifty-One Percent
Posted by: Keir Graff

Yet another article about the problem of memoirs helps prove Jessa Crispin’s contention that “Fifty percent of all books coverage these days is, ‘Who is telling the truth?’ ” (“Memoirs: Whose Truth — and Does It Matter,” by Matthew Shaer and Teresa Mendez, Christian Science Monitor).  But it’s worth reading anyway: She points to Augusten Burroughs, […]


Mon, May 5th, 2008
Frey Blog!
Posted by: Keir Graff

For someone who seems a little media-shy, I’m not sure that blogging is the next best move for James Frey. The feedback tends to be, shall we say, forthright and immediate. Then again, there’s nothing quite so sincere as blogging on Amazon when you’ve got a book coming out.


Fri, May 2nd, 2008
Seems Like It Would Be Easier to Lie On the Page Than on Camera
Posted by: Keir Graff

All right, this will be my last fraud-related post of the week. Probably. On Media Assassin, Harry Allen has video of Margaret Seltzer, aka Margaret B. Jones (Love and Consequences, 2008), explaining what her upbringing was like: “We used to say, growing up, ‘I’m not from America, I’m from South Central L.A.’” Ouch! (Via.)


Fri, May 2nd, 2008
James Frey, Public Servant
Posted by: Keir Graff

As previously noted, James Frey is coming back. In his first interview since his second Oprah appearance, he rehashes the whole affair with Vanity Fair‘s Evgenia Peretz (“James Frey’s Morning After“). As much as I’ve always believed that it doesn’t matter whether writers are personally likeable–great art has often been created by jerks, and vice versa–well, […]


Thu, May 1st, 2008
Hey, man, I hate to bother you, but I’m like a really important writer, and my car broke down….
Posted by: Keir Graff

The literary news is just so entertaining lately. For instance, confidence men have been targeting bookstores, posing as published authors. Yes, you read that right. In the L.A. Times (“Hoaxes hit bookstores“), Scott Timberg reports that bookstore workers have received calls from people pretending to be Mark Sarvas (Harry Revised, 2008), Eric Gower (The Breakaway […]


Tue, April 29th, 2008
Bad Sourcing, Bad Citing, and Bright Shiny Book Events
Posted by: Keir Graff

Ashes to ashes, pulp to pulp. A forthcoming biography of Madame de Maintenon, Louis XIV’s mistress, written by Veronica Buckley (Christina, Queen of Sweden, 2004) is being recalled due to its reliance on a faulty source (“Hoax diary snares Bloomsbury,” by Claire Armitstead, the Guardian‘s theblogbooks): The problem, it turns out, is with the attribution of a little-known document […]





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