Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 24, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 10-24-2013

Welcome to this week’s edition of Top Picks Thursday! We’re getting close to Halloween, so to help you out, here are some 10-minute literary Halloween costumes for you.

Unfortunately, health woes will keep Alice Munro from the Nobel ceremonies.

In an amazing story of generosity, two shuttered Philadelphia school libraries will reopen after an anonymous donation. Meanwhile, college campus bookstores need to find new ways to stay afloat.

This week saw an extraordinary upheaval as retailers suddenly pulled swathes of books even vaguely erotica from their shelves. Kimberly Kinrade noted, however, that most of the censored books were self-published and wondered what was really going on. Meanwhile, Victoria Strauss pointed out that the Great Erotica Panic of 2013 proves that self-publishers are really only as independent as their platforms allow them to be.

Reading is so important to the intellectual and emotional growth of children. Neil Gaiman eloquently explains why libraries are important today; Trudy Ludwig talks about using literature to address bullying and foster empathy in young readers; Ashely Strickland gives us a brief history of YA literature; graphic novels are hailed as a great way to encourage reading; and Sarah Andersen discusses how she gets her high school students to read and be proud of reading.

Ever hear of DEVICE 6? This game looks tailor-made for writers and readers. According to their website, the game “plays with the conventions of games and literature” where “the written word is your map, as well as your narrator.”

Two weeks to NaNoWriMo. The Write Practice has some tips on readying yourself for the mad dash.


Whether you’re doing NaNo or just want to write faster, Ava Jae explains how to fast draft. Jami Gold looks back on her fast-drafting experience and see if fast drafting really saved time or simply created more editing at the back end.

Once you’ve written the book, Chuck Wendig tells us to take another look at that first chapter and note these 25 things to know about writing the first chapter of your novel. Sara Grant has tips for revising your novel. When you’re ready for an outside look at your book, Robert Doran tells us what copy-editors really do, and why they’re worth the investment.

Creativity often means pushing ourselves farther than we think we can go. Alastair Humphreys talks about expanding your comfort zone; K. M. Weiland shows how to write bravely and honestly; Joshua Foer discusses how to overcome the OK plateau of performance and personal growth; and Leo Babauta shares 8 creativity lessons from Pixar animator Bernhard Haux.

If you want to learn how to do something, listen to the people who have done it. John Freeman’s HOW TO READ A NOVELIST explores what makes a great interview; Dianne K. Salerni talks about juggling writing a series while working full time; and Margaret Atwood discusses fear and social media.


Remember the Department of Justice suing Apple and 5 publishers for ebook price collusion? The judge in that case recently selected the two people who will serve as Apple’s anti-trust monitors for the next two years.

Speaking of Apple, they are exploring ways to actually autograph ebooks.

As to the Big 5 publishers, Reuters says that the key to the survival of the Big 5 is them embracing their readers and getting to know who actually reads what books.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions from authors: Can you re-query after a rejection? And 10 things to do while agents dawdle with your manuscript.

Marketing is both the big and little things. Author Greg Pincus has figured out a way for his book launch to be everywhere simultaneously; Derek Murphy walks us through making your own free book cover in MS Word; and Joel Friedlander discusses if something as simple as fonts can make or break your brand.


Classic literature speaks across generations. Read 11 lessons “Jane Eyre” can teach every 21st century woman about how to live well.

Have limited apartment space? Check out designer Thomas Hopmans’ combined bed and writing desk.

While you’re decorating, here are 22 things that belong in every bookworm’s dream home.

When you’re done decorating your house, decorate yourself, with these 37 ways to proudly wear your love of books.

Here are 6 letters that will change the way you think about Ernest Hemingway, and the 15 wittiest things Oscar Wilde ever said.

More really cool old stuff goes digital! The Utrecht Psalter is now online, as is the Folger Shakespeare Library’s collection.

That’s all for this week!

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