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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

Thu, April 24th, 2008
Kicking Off with a Disclaimer
Posted by: Keir Graff

I just finished reading Alan Black’s Kick the Balls last night–it’s very funny. And while many people have suggested that memoirs, especially humorous memoirs, should be assumed to have disclaimers, Black provides one anyway. I admire its economy: Some names and identities have been changed to protect the guilty. A little timing manipulation helped the flow […]

Mon, April 7th, 2008
These Days, Much Autobiography Is, Too
Posted by: Keir Graff

I started reading Paul Theroux’s new book, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, this morning. On page four, he quotes Pedro Almodovar: Anything that is not autobiography is plagiarism. I had to laugh.

Mon, March 17th, 2008
The Novel: A History
Posted by: Keir Graff

It takes the New Yorker a little longer to catch up with a story, of course, but when they do, the results are usually worth reading. Referencing Margaret Seltzer, Jill Lepore (“Just the Facts, Ma’am“) examines the lies of history, the truth of fiction, and men’s and women’s preferences for each. She asks “What makes a book […]

Tue, March 11th, 2008
Lies, Damn Lies, and Memoirs
Posted by: Keir Graff

I wasn’t not blogging yesterday because I was too busy reading the endless takes and updates on false memories, but that could easily have been the case. Whew. Motoko Rich places Peggy Seltzer aka Margaret B. Jones as merely the latest in a long line of literary liars (“A Family Tree of Literary Fakers,” New […]

Thu, March 6th, 2008
Checking in with Laura Albert (aka JT Leroy)
Posted by: Keir Graff

The Margaret Seltzer story (ably updated at Galleycat) got me to thinking about Laura Albert (aka JT Leroy). Where is she now? To explain how she’s wound up where she has, Laura first whips out the platitudes, about taking problems of the soul and turning them into art; about following in a distinguished line of […]

Wed, March 5th, 2008
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the New York Sun, Kate Taylor explores “Why Publishers Don’t Fact-Check Memoirs“: As one person in publishing who asked not to be named said: “You couldn’t get these books out the door, at least not below a $100-a-copy price point, and then nobody would buy them.” In the context of product liability suits, courts […]

Tue, March 4th, 2008
More on Misha
Posted by: Keir Graff

More on the case of Misha Defonseca’s Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years. On Slate, Blake Eskin asks Why did it take so long for a far-fetched Holocaust memoir to be debunked? Good question. Why did people take her seriously for so long? Raising questions about the authenticity of someone’s Holocaust testimony, however implausible […]

Tue, March 4th, 2008
Love and Consequences Author Faces Consequences for Faked Memoir
Posted by: Keir Graff

After a few problematic or outright fake memoirs whose nuances left me somewhat sympathetic to the authors, it’s kind of a relief to come across one that’s simply wrong, any way I look at it. From the New York Times (“Gang Memoir, Turning Page, Is Pure Fiction,” by Motoko Rich): In "Love and Consequences," a critically acclaimed memoir published last […]

Mon, March 3rd, 2008
More False Memory
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the New York Times, a brief note telling us that Misha Defonseca’s Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years (1997) is not a memoir but a novel. Her story still sounds sad enough. In a statement to The Associated Press, Ms. Defonseca said: "The story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my […]

Thu, February 7th, 2008
Made-Up Facts, Erotic and Otherwise
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the Times Literary Supplement (“Erotic qualifications“), Robert Irwin offers a somewhat cheeky (ahem) review of Gaetan Brulotte and John Phillips’ Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature (Routledge): I also finished my reading of these two volumes with the feeling that sex was a lot less fun than I had hitherto supposed. That’s funny, I had much the same […]

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