Book Blog – Likely Stories, from Booklist Online
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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

Friday, April 11, 2014 11:05 am
Total Boox Launches Free Reading Week
Posted by: Rebecca

There’s a new e-book platform in town, Total Boox. In honor of National Library Week, Total Boox is making its entire collection of ebooks available for free reading between April 13 and April 20, 2014. Anyone with an Android, IOS, or Kindle Fire tablet in the United States and around the world can download and read over 20,000 quality titles for free at

Total Boox’ list of ebooks includes an array of fiction and nonfiction titles bearing imprints of the world’s premier publishers, including O’Reilly, FW Media, Sourcebooks, Other Press, Elsevier, Red Wheel Weiser, Berrett-Koehler, Open-Road, and many more. Various categories are represented, including those in high demand: genre and literary fiction, crafts and self-help, religion and spirituality, health and medicine, business and careers, and more.

For information on how to implement Total Boox in libraries, visit

Thursday, April 10, 2014 3:51 pm
Book Trailer Thursday: The Undertaking of Lily Chen
Posted by: Sarah Hunter

Danica Novgorodoff’s gorgeous The Undertaking of Lily Chen features lovely watercolor backgrounds, stylishly exaggerated figures, and a life-or-death story in contemporary China as Deshi searches the countryside to find a corpse bride for his recently deceased brother. If that wasn’t enough to convince you of the drama at hand, this book trailer ups the ante with a gravelly voiced narrator and blood dripping in slow motion! But don’t let the earnest tone deceive you: there’s subtle humor in the absurdity of Deshi’s journey, in the I-think-I-love-you-but-I’m-supposed-to-murder-you kind of way.

Thursday, April 3, 2014 10:13 am
Book Trailer Thursday: The Lowland
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

With just a few days to go until the announcement of the 2014 Carnegie Medals for Fiction and Nonfiction Shortlist, we’re turning the BTT spotlight on another of the longlist titles. Of Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s fourth book The Lowland (Knopf), Donna Seaman writes, “Lahiri attains new heights of artistry—flawless transparency, immersive intimacy with characters and place.”

Tune in bright and early Monday (April 7) morning to see if The Lowland and your other favorites made the cut!(B.Y.O.Coffee.)

Friday, March 28, 2014 11:38 am
Booklist Editor Donna Seaman Moonlights for a Better Earth
Posted by: Keir Graff

Creative Nonfiction: The Human Face of SustainabilityHow Donna Seaman does it, I’ll never know. In addition to her prodigious reviewing load for Booklist, our adult books senior editor finds time for many fascinating outside projects. In what is merely her most recent, she guest-edited the spring issue of Creative Nonfiction magazine, reading nearly 450 essays submitted for the theme “The Human Face of Sustainability.” She forwarded her recommendations to a team of reviewers at Arizona State University’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, who selected a winner for a $10,000 prize—and, in an unprecedented move, offered up another $1,000 for each of the finalists, so taken were they with the entries’ quality. Read Donna’s introductory essay, “Facing Facts.”

Donna made another important contribution to the issue, interviewing Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014). You can read that in its entirety as well, and you’re bound to agree that “Turning Out the Lights Just Isn’t Going to Do It.”

Sustainability is not recycling, nor bringing cloth bags to the supermarket. It is fundamentally rethinking everything that we do, and it is living very, very differently. —Elizabeth Kolbert

Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:05 am
Book Trailer Thursday: I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

Do you know where you’ve seen (or in some cases, heard) Judy Greer before? Well, she doesnt, and she wrote a book about it. In the Booklist review of I Don’t Know What You Know Me From (Doubleday), Kristine Huntley writes, “Greer’s bubbly best-friend personality and self-deprecating anecdotes will have readers rooting for her, and will likely win her new fans.” Huntley predicts interest from theater-hopeful teens, too. Watch the trailer and bonus clip, and never not know what you know her from again!

Here’s Greer, who’s not sure she’s a celebrity but IS sure she’d like her own celebrity fragrance, reading from IDKWYKMF. This one’s for you, text-and-walk-ers!

Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:49 am
Book Trailer Thursday: Hugo Marston series
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

Here’s something a little different: one trailer for a whole series. Watch Mark Pryor very very seriously discuss, in finely accented English, his very very serious methods for trailering his Hugo Marston series (The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, and this year’s The Blood Promise, from Prometheus/Seventh Street).

“I even went to the trouble of sacrificing my youngest daughter…and bringing her back as a zombie!”

Friday, March 14, 2014 5:17 pm
2013 National Book Critics Circle Awards
Posted by: Biz Hyzy

Yesterday, the National Book Critics Circle announced the winners for their 2013 book awards. Booklist reviews of the winning titles are included below where available. If you want to learn more about the awards (including the finalists in each category) or see some photos of the winning authors at the awards ceremony, visit NBCC’s blog.



Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Sheri Fink


Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World, by Leo Damrosch


Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti, by Amy Wilentz


Metaphysical Dog, Frank Bidart


Distant Reading, by Franco Moretti

Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:05 am
Book Trailer Thursday: The Signature of All Things
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things (Viking) is the third Carnegie-longlist title to be featured on BTT. Joanne Wilkinson writes, “Gilbert, in supreme command of her material, effortlessly invokes the questing spirit of the nineteenth century, when amateur explorers, naturalists, and enthusiasts were making major contributions to progress. Beautifully written and imbued with a reverence for science and for learning, this is a must-read.”


Time is running down to the announcement of the Carnegie shortlist–what have you read, and what are your favorites so far?

Thursday, March 6, 2014 9:47 am
Book Trailer Thursday: Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

The Booklist review of Robin Herrera’s Hope Is a Ferris Wheel (Abrams/Amulet) touts the debut novel’s delightful narrator and “unique supporting cast.” Here they are adorably animated in the book’s trailer, which features BTT’s first trailer (home) within a trailer (book). Girl with blue hair starts a school book club and finds solace and solidary in Emily Dickinson’s poetry? I literally just left my desk to see if there was a copy hiding around these corridors. Success! Added to my to-read tower. I hope you’re equally enticed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 9:37 am
Don’t miss Booklist at PLA 2014!
Posted by: Keir Graff

PLA 2014 IndianapolisExhibits for this year’s Public Library Association (PLA) conference open at 4 p.m. next Wednesday in Indianapolis. Will you be there? Booklist editors Bill Ott, Gillian Engberg, Brad Hooper, Donna Seaman, Rebecca Vnuk, Ilene Cooper, Joyce Saricks, and Keir Graff (that’s me) will be. Demands on your time will be many, but we hope you’ll make room on your schedule for few of the following fine events:

Mystery Author Meet & Greet. Join Booklist editors and mystery authors Walter Mosley, Peter Swanson, Ben H. Winters (and more!) for wine, cheese, and a little mystery! Thursday, March 13, 3:30–5 p.m., Booklist booth #1717.

Under the Radar: Good Reading You May Have Missed. Adult Books editor Brad Hooper joins a panel to discuss not-to-be-missed historical fiction. Thursday, March 13, 10:45 a.m.–12 p.m., Indiana Convention Center, Wabash Ballroom 1.

Association of American Publishers’ Young Adult Crossover Panel. Books for Youth editorial director Gillian Engberg moderates a panel with authors Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, Eliot Schrefer, and Gene Luen Yang. Signings to follow. Thursday, March 13, 10:45a.m.–12p.m., JW Marriott Indianapolis, White River Ballroom.

Top 5 of the Nonfiction 5. Reference and Collection Management editor Rebecca Vnuk joins a panel to discuss popular nonfiction for leisure readers. Friday, March 14, 10:45 a.m.–12 p.m., Indiana Convention Center, Wabash Ballroom 1.

Doing Time with Sisters In Crime. Audio editor Joyce Saricks joins a panel to discuss trends in crime fiction. Friday, March 14, 2–3:15 p.m., Indiana Convention Center, Wabash Ballroom 1.

Let’s Discuss Book Discussions. Rebecca Vnuk joins a panel to discuss book groups. Friday, March 14, 4:15–5:15 p.m., Indiana Convention Center, Room 244-245.

And, naturally, having read Joyce’s latest column, “RA at PLA,” I’m sure you’re planning to drop by our booth (an easy to remember #1717), business card in hand, to tell us which titles have been getting the most buzz. We’ll publish the results on this very blog. While you’re there, get your complimentary copies of Booklist and Book Links—and, if you need a new subscription, we’ll be happy to help out.

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Quoted material should be attributed to:
Keir Graff, Likely Stories (Booklist Online).

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