Archive for May, 2008

Likely Stories Lunch

Likely Stories Lunch

Well, I’m not likely to give Publishers Lunch any meaningful competition, but I am pleased to be able to announce an up-and-coming author’s new book deal. From Likely Stories (“Likely Stories Lunch,” by Keir Graff): In a bold deal brokered by the Endeavor Agency, Random House has acquired Daniel Kraus’s coming-of-age novel, The Monster Variations, with plans to publish […]

Let the Games Begin

Let the Games Begin

Simple games are a great way to get your group meeting off to a strong start. They break the ice, get everyone thinking about the book in new ways, and encourage everyone to get involved. If you make them part of your regular practice, they’re also a pleasant way to encourage recalcitrant readers to finish […]

Posted in: Book Groups
Frey's Reading Is a Riot!

Frey's Reading Is a Riot!

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 […]

This Is Only Partially True at Booklist

This Is Only Partially True at Booklist

In the Guardian’s theblogbooks, Molly Flatt has some interesting thoughts on how hard it is to “praise interestingly”–and why reviewers seem more likely to go for the funny put-down than balanced praise (“Criticism’s vocabulary of cruelty“): Despite our native savagery, surely there is nothing quite so pleasing as a balanced, sensitive and generous review that manages to capture the […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Twenty Thousand Pounds of Prizes

Twenty Thousand Pounds of Prizes

Paul Verhaeghen (Omega Minor, Dalkey Archive) takes the 2008 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize–and gives the 10,000-pound check to the ACLU. Here’s why. Lawrence Hill (The Book of Negroes, HarperCollins Canada) wins the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, wonders why everyone is looking expectantly at his 10,000-pound check. (Or, if you prefer, cheque.)

Posted in: Book Awards, Book News
I Heard the Stereotypes and Clichés Weren't Even True

I Heard the Stereotypes and Clichés Weren't Even True

Leonard Kniffel, Editor-in-Chief of American Libraries and author of A Polish Son in the Motherland, has reviewed James Frey’s Bright Shiny Morning for us (which just went live moments ago as our Review of the Day). Although he does offer some praise for the outed fiction writer, he doesn’t shy away from pointing out shortcomings in the […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Try the Veal

Try the Veal

We’ve been busy lately, formatting old feature articles and adding some missing ones to the Booklist Online archive. It’s always fun to see the stuff from before my tenure at Booklist. I chuckled several times at the quotes in Bill Ott’s Back Page column, “Finding the Good Parts” (first published March 1, 1997). Take this one liner–please: I […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Sprinkle some cheese on top

Sprinkle some cheese on top

Just saw a blog post over at Publisher’s Weekly Shelftalker that made me hoot. Members of a book group read different books and then swap the most promising titles amongst themselves after discussing. Books that fall into the “five-hours-of-my-life-I’ll-never-get-back” category are dismissed from the group in a ceremony reminiscent of first grade. The offending/boring/pedantic tome […]

Posted in: Book Groups
And who can't use a laugh on Monday morning?

And who can't use a laugh on Monday morning?

This really should have been a Friday post, but I hadn’t seen it yet. In a tender, candid reminiscence, an aging Atticus Finch writes, “Honestly, if this book had been written at almost any other time, it would have been pretty damn boring.” From The Onion (“I Would Say ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Captured The Most Interesting […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
The Redemption of Humor
By May 17, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

The Redemption of Humor

  Laughter. Reading groups need it. Like in that last novel about Bosnia. How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic is a brand new novel about the young author’s childhood in Bosnia circa 1991, just as life turned into a nightmare and neighbor turned against neighbor. It includes some harrowing stuff. But it’s […]

Posted in: Book Groups