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

Thursday, May 1, 2014 1:59 pm
Book Trailer Thursday: The Abomination
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

Mystery Month Mystery Month at Booklist has officially begun, and BTT is never one to sit out a dance. Jonathan Holt’s The Abomination, one of the Best Debut titles from Booklist Editor and Publisher Bill Ott’s list of the Year’s Best Crime Novels, is but the first BTT of a five-Thursday Mystery Month. Prepare to be creeped out.

And with 30.5 days to go, don’t miss a minute of Mystery Month! On Twitter, follow @Booklist_Keir, @ALA_Booklist, and the hashtag #mysterymonth.

The Abomination Trailer from Holst Digital on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 9:00 am
Mystery Month: Don’t Miss It
Posted by: Keir Graff

Mystery MonthLet’s just pretend three ne’er-do-well buddies from high school—you, the brains of the outfit; Deke, the brawn; and Moe, the mouth-breather—somehow managed to pull off, if not the crime of the century, then, at least, the crime of the last six years, robbing the cardboard-box factory at gunpoint, in broad daylight, on payroll-and-annual-bonus day. For the sake of argument, you’ve been hiding out ever since, in the swamp, in a house on stilts, playing card game after card game until all three of you know the creases and smudges on your single deck of cards better than you know each other’s ugly, unshaven faces. Your plan to hide out until the heat cooled down has hit a little snag, however, because Moe can’t remember where he buried the money.

Now, a situation like that is a perfectly good excuse for not knowing about Booklist‘s Mystery Month—but that’s the only excuse I’ll accept. As everyone in the law-abiding world knows, May is the time when we celebrate the publication of Booklist‘s annual Mystery Showcase issue with a happening we like to call Mystery Month. We kicked things off on Tuesday with a webinar, “Mysteries and Thrillers: Pulse-Pounding Picks for Your Patrons,” and, as of yesterday morning, our May 1 print issue is now live on Booklist Online.

May 1, 2014 Booklist coverCrime-fiction fans, get ready to dive into the loot. Today’s issue of REaD ALERT offers generous highlights from the May 1 issue, and magazine subscribers who have set up an online profile will enjoy free and unfettered access to over 200 reviews and a dozen awesome features, including “The Year’s Best Crime Novels,” “A Hard-Boiled Gazetteer to Border Noir,” “Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth,” and much, much more. Register now for our second webinar, “The Future of Mystery Fiction,” on May 20.

There’s even more loot to be found on Booklist Online, where we’ll be sharing a dozen irreverent and entertaining lists, such as “They Wrote the Crime, They Did the Time: Five Mystery Authors Who’ve Seen the Inside of a Cell,” throughout the month. We’ve also been publishing extra mystery reviews online, which we’ll round up in an issue of Booklist Online Exclusives mailing May 9 . And we’ll share the best of everything on May 30 in a special “Best of Mystery Month” issue of REaD ALERT.

#mysterymonthOur blogs will be chock-full of crime-fiction posts, too, and we’ll be sharing gems from our mystery vault on Twitter and Facebook. Speaking of Twitter, we’ll be tweeting each and every one of our 41 starred mystery reviews before the end of the month. If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, follow me at @Booklist_Keir, and Booklist at @ALA_Booklist, and keep an eye on the hashtag #mysterymonth. I hope you’ll spread the word—and join the conversation.

Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:55 pm
Book Trailer Thursday: Going Over
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

Starred, as well as a Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth title, Beth Kephart’s Going Over (Chronicle) tells the story of starcrossed teen lovers in early 1980s, divided Berlin. Teens are sure to devour rebel Ada’s intricate tale, set in a not too distant, but complex and seldom written about, time in the world’s history.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 1:00 pm
PLA Book Buzz
Posted by: Joyce Saricks

PLA 2014 IndianapolisThanks to the brave souls who, as I requested in my column,  stopped by the Booklist booth at PLA in Indianapolis and shared what they were reading, listening to, and viewing. As you can see, there’s an eclectic mix of adult fiction to choose from, as well as a taste of nonfiction for adults, and some fiction and nonfiction for youth as well. (To those of you who were hoping to see this sooner, thanks for your patience!)

Adult Fiction

The Absolutist, by John Boyne

The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord

Death Comes to the Village, by Catherine Lloyd

Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt (audio read by David Pittu)

 A Hundred Summers, by Beatriz Williams

Ilium, by Dan Simmons

Lexicon, by Max Barry

Love Minus Eighty, by Will McIntosh

Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedwick

Old Filth, by Jane Gardam

A Star for Mrs. Blake, by April Smith

The Theory of Opposites, by Allison Winn Scotch

While Beauty Slept, by Elizabeth Blackwell

Adult Nonfiction

Life Itself, by Rogert Ebert

Fiction for Youth

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt (audio read by Lyle Lovett)

Nonfiction for Youth

Gravity, by Jason Chin

And on TV . . . 

NCIS, Intelligence, Nikita, Perception, Justified, NCIS-LA

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:00 am
2014 Ezra Jack Keats Award Ceremony
Posted by: Biz Hyzy

Earlier this year, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation announced the New Writer and New Illustrator Award Winners for books published in 2013. The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation partnered with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection to recognize new voices and artists in children’s literature. On April 10, they celebrated the winners and honorees during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at The University of Southern Mississippi. Below are pictures from the event.

Ame Dyckman, winner of the New Writer Award for Tea Party Rules, with Christian Robinson, winner of the New Illustrator Award for Rain! (Photo: Kelly Dunn, Southern Miss Photo Services)

Ame Dyckman, winner of the New Writer Award for Tea Party Rules, with Christian Robinson, winner of the New Illustrator Award for Rain! (Photo: Kelly Dunn, Southern Miss Photo Services)


Winners and Honorees: Linda Davick, Pat Zietlow Miller, Ame Dyckman, Christian Robinson, and K. G. Campbell (Photo: Kelly Dunn, Southern Miss Photo Services)

Winners and Honorees: Linda Davick, Pat Zietlow Miller, Ame Dyckman, Christian Robinson, and K. G. Campbell (Photo: Kelly Dunn, Southern Miss Photo Services)


Monday, April 21, 2014 2:37 pm
2014 Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards
Posted by: Biz Hyzy

On April 13, the L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards were presented in Los Angeles. Since 1983, the Writers of the Future contest has provided aspiring short story writers with the opportunity to see their work published. The artistic side of this contest was introduced in 1988. The judges, established sf writers and illustrators, led a week-long workshop for the winners, all of whom will see their stories and artwork featured in Volume 30 of the Writers of the Future annual anthology.

Golden Pen Award, Story of the Year

Randy Henderson for “Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask”


Golden Brush Award, Illustrator of the Year

Trevor Smith


Awarded Authors

Liz Colter (CO)

Jessica Eanes (pen name: Anaea Lay) (WI)

Darren Eggett (pen name: Paul Eckheart) (UT)

Amanda Forrest (CO)

Cregg Hardwick (pen name: C. Stuart Hardwick) (TX)

Oleg Kazantsev (IL)

Leena Likitalo of Helsinki (Finland)

Terry Maulhardt (pen name: Terry Madden) (CA)

Kathleen Miller (pen name: K. C. Norton) (PA)

Megan E. O’Keefe (CA)

Shauna O’Meara (Australian Capital Territory)

Randy Henderson (WA)


Awarded Illustrators

Cassandre Bolan (PA)

Adam Brewster (UK)

Vincent-Michael Coviello (MA)

Kirbi Fagan (MI)

Vanessa Golitz (Germany)

Kristie Kim of Raleigh (NC)

Seonhee Lim (NY)

Sarah Webb (AK)

Bernardo Mota (Portugal)

Trevor Smith (AZ)

Andrew Sonea (Canada)

Michael Talbot (MA)

Friday, April 18, 2014 11:33 am
Remembering Gabriel García Márquez
Posted by: Donna Seaman

Gabriel Garcia MarquezThe world responded instantly to the news of the death of Gabriel García Márquez, a Nobel laureate and a writer read and cherished by millions of readers everywhere. High praise for the artistry and humanity of his 15 novels and short story collections, from his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, reviewed for the Washington Post  in 1970 by novelist Paul West, to Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2005), reviewed in Booklist by Brad Hooper, can be found in newspapers, on the radio, and all over the Web. But Márquez  was never comfortable with public adoration and celebrity. Indeed, he poked fun of himself and the whole notion of the writer as hero or saint in Living to Tell the Tale (2002), which was to have been the first in a three-volume memoir.

His chronicle begins when he is 22, and happy to have abandoned law school to write. “For reasons of poverty rather than taste,” he writes, he looked like a hippie, with “a pilgrim’s sandals,” two decades before the counterculture.  When his mother asks him to accompany her to their hometown, Aracataca, and help her sell their old house, their journey traverses both space and time as memories surface. The sight of his crib brings back an indelible moment in which he stood, clutching the bars and screaming to have his diaper changed. He was wearing new overalls and couldn’t bear the thought of their being soiled. “That is, it was not a question of hygienic prejudice but esthetic concern, and because of the manner in which it persists in my memory, I believe it was my first experience as a writer.”

Márquez  also remembers “Lorenzo el Magnifico, the hundred-year-old parrot inherited from my great-grandparents,” who warned the family of an escaped bull charging toward the house; a duel that forever marked the family, and his parents. “The history of their forbidden love was another of the wonders of my youth.” Márquez continues,

“They were both excellent storytellers and had a joyful recollection of their love, but they became so impassioned in their accounts that when I was past fifty and had decided to at last use their story in Love in the Time of Cholera, I could not distinguish between life and poetry.”

As we mourn the loss of the man and reaffirm our appreciation for his spellbinding, soulful, and enduring works, we will forever be grateful to Márquez for his exceptional ability to discern the beauty in life, even in its tragedies, and to infuse literature with life’s infinitude of wonders.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 3:23 pm
Book Trailer Thursday: Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

As I assume it does in all of your lives, taxidermy comes up every now and again during Booklist’s coffee breaks. Like the huggable or frightening stuffed animals themselves, the topic seems to contain no end of intriguing, curious unknowns, (the most unanswerable often being, of course, why?).

See kittens get married and bunnies go to school, and hear author Pat Morris discuss Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy (Penguin) and his inspiration to collect the taxidermist’s “interesting and different” collection in a single volume.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:59 am
ILA names new “Soon to be Famous” Author
Posted by: Rebecca

Librarians have not always been willing to embrace self-published authors. It’s hard to spend limited dollars on an unproven book, and when it’s an e-only title, it’s even harder to add the book to the collection. But we can’t ignore self-publishing for long—last year, self-published books made up 32% of the Amazon best-seller list.  How do libraries help their readers discover the gems? The Illinois Library Association has a solution: Allow librarians to select and narrow down titles of merit. So they created the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project, which recognizes and gives a boost to self-published authors. As finalist Mary Hutchings Reed said at the event, “There is no higher compliment to a writer than to have a librarian recommend your book.”

The award is the brainchild of library marketing professionals who were inspired after listening to a presentation by brand expert and NYU professor David Vinjamuri, who writes and speaks about the importance of libraries in the era of e-books and self-publishing. Vinjamuri wants libraries to wield their collective influence to lift a self-published author to success to create a measurable indicator of the power of libraries and librarians to affect books and reading.  “David made the point again and again about how libraries are instrumental in promoting reading and literature. He issued a challenge to libraries to find an unknown talented Illinois author that will become a success based on librarians’ recommendations. So we are taking up the challenge! The purpose of this exciting project is twofold—give a talented author exposure and spotlight the importance of libraries to literature efforts,” said ILA Executive Director Robert Doyle.

“Libraries and librarians are experts at recognizing exceptional literature and promoting the works of authors. We are just taking this role a step further and transforming it into an exciting project for writers and libraries,” said Dee Brennan, Executive Director of RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System).

Librarians across the state nominated 103 self-published adult fiction titles, and more than 20 librarians served as judges. After a series of eliminations, three finalists were selected: Rick Polad, Carol Stream, was nominated by the Phillips Library at Aurora University for his book Change of Address; Mary Hutchings Reed, Chicago, was nominated for her work Warming Up by the Mount Prospect Public Library; and Joanne Zienty, Wheaton, was nominated by the Forest School Library in Des Plaines for her book The Things We Save. Zienty was awarded the top honor.

Photos from the event can be found in the Soon to Be Famous album on the RAILS Facebook page at:; and a recording of the presentation will soon be available from the Gail Borden Public Library’s YouTube channel at:

Visit the Soon to Be Famous Author page for more information on the finalists and their books at:



Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:00 am
2014 Pulitzer Winners
Posted by: Biz Hyzy

On April 14, the Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists were revealed at Columbia University. Reviews of the winning book titles are included.



The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt



Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation, Dan Fagin



Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, Megan Marshall



The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, Alan Taylor



3 Sections, Vijay Seshadri

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

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