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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 'Reading' Category

Wed, June 3rd, 2009
Aleksandar Hemon and Jacob Weisberg Not Quite on the Same Page
Posted by: Keir Graff

I am so sick of “death of publishing” articles, so tired of talking about the ridiculously oversimplified “print versus web” argument that I could spit. (But I won’t, because Mama Graff didn’t raise no spitter.) So what did I do last night? Why, I hied myself down to “The Future of the Book: A Conversation on […]


Wed, May 6th, 2009
We Read Everything
Posted by: Keir Graff

I’ve often written about what we do at Booklist and how we do it, about our recommend-only policy, the staggering volume of books we review, and the people we’re reviewing for–but, until now, I never had a visual aid. Fortunately, Books for Youth Associate Editor Daniel Kraus, who in his spare time writes novels and makes documentary […]


Fri, May 1st, 2009
Comic Books
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the Boston Globe (“What’s so funny?“), Alex Beam discusses the challenge of writing the comic novel: In the immortal deathbed phrase variously attributed to actors Edwin Booth, Edmund Kean, Donald Wolfit, and others: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Comedy on the printed page may be the hardest of all. Writer Roy Blount Jr. […]


Mon, April 20th, 2009
J. G. Ballard, R.I.P.
Posted by: Keir Graff

After paying some bills last night, I clicked “headlines” on my browser bar and saw that J. G. Ballard had died. There’s no shortage of news about this now, but as many of the obits seem to focus on his role as an influencer (see “Author J. G. Ballard dies after lengthy illness,” by Ben Hoyle, Times), […]


Mon, April 20th, 2009
Books That Don’t Exist
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Marche has a nice piece on books that don’t exist (“Longing for Great Lost Works“)–not books that have been invented by authors for fictional purposes, but books that have been destroyed or lost forever. A poignant thought: Classical literature, like classical architecture, is a collection of delicious ruins. The […]


Mon, April 20th, 2009
Compass Points
Posted by: Daniel Kraus

Donna Seaman, in her Booklist review of the essay collection A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives, wrote: “In each elegant interpretation, the author traces the ripple effects of a story that thrilled or provoked her, a story that became a catalyst for a lifelong passion, and a story that became a virtual home, […]


Tue, April 14th, 2009
You Can’t Always Have the Cell Tower Blow Up
Posted by: Keir Graff

Disregard, for a moment, what web-enabled mobile devices (aka “cellphones”) are doing to the habit of reading. Matt Richtel (“If Only Literature Could Be a Cell-Phone Free Zone,” New York Times) asks us to consider what these ubiquitous gadgets are doing to reading material. Must we now hit “delete” on tension that simmers for hundreds […]


Thu, April 2nd, 2009
Poetry, Cruelty, War and Peace
Posted by: Keir Graff

As Laura Tillotson reminded us, April is not only the cruellest month, it’s also National Poetry Month. Alas, poetry readership is at a 16-year low (“The End of Verse?” by Marc Bain, Newsweek). There are many things you can do to fight this depressing trend. You could take down that tattered copy of Robert Frost […]


Fri, February 20th, 2009
So Many Unusual Authors, So Little Time
Posted by: Keir Graff

I’ve been wanting to read a book by Harry Stephen Keeler for years, ever since I stumbled across him at Find a Grave. (Yes, I’m morbid, but I was just looking for famous people buried in Chicago–turns out he was buried a few blocks from where I was then living.) Having discovered that the McSweeney’s […]


Wed, February 18th, 2009
A Book List for Readers Who Are Serious about Not Being Depressed
Posted by: Keir Graff

An update from Marianne Goss, who reports that there are now more than 100 novels listed on her site, Positively Good Reads, “An upbeat reading list for people who often find serious novels depressing.” Some readers may remember my original post, “How about a downbeat reading list for people who find comic novels amusing?” in which […]





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