Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 21, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 07-21-2016

20160416_092033Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday, where we Chroniclers scour the internet for the best posts about writing and reading each week. How’s everyone enjoying their summer? I find that the library is a great, cool place to take my daughter to beat the summer heat.

Speaking of libraries… The world’s oldest working library will soon open its doors to the public, discover the Mertz—New York’s nearly secret botanical library, and check out this 1813 Gothic library.

Many libraries are struggling to keep up with the technological demands of the times, and America’s library is no different. Kyle Chayka details the Library of Congress’s struggles with digitization.

The availability of books turns out to be a key factor in a child’s vocabulary level and early education. A new study of poverty-level neighborhoods exposes vast “book deserts” where kids simply have no books, and examines what this means for them.

Adding to the growing diversity in literature is great, but it is not always easy. Devika Fernando explores the pros and cons of writing multicultural stories.

In rather shocking news, children’s author Helen Bailey was murdered, and her partner charged.


What genre do you write? You’ll need to know when pitching your book. Richard Kadrey takes a look at what makes a story urban fantasy.

When we’re getting started on a new story (or even in revisions), getting the overall picture right is our goal. Tracey Warr shares questions to guide us through plot and structure, while Martina Boone suggests mapping your book so it makes sense.

Our readers connect to our characters. Elizabeth Sims describes how internal dialogue builds reader confidence, and Melanie Conklin explains how to find a character’s voice through letter writing.

Adding depth to our writing is always a good thing. Sacha Black examines how juxtaposition can create depth, and Roz Morris shows how to make your theme clear to the reader.

Writers look at many aspects of our craft during editing. One thing we need to be wary of is the “burden of knowledge,” where we subconsciously assume the reader knows what we know, and so vital information does not make it onto the page. Jennie Nash tells us how to shake off the burden of knowledge. Meanwhile, Daphne Gray-Grant explores the value of an editing vacation.

Victoria Mixon shares 7 aspects of writing from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, Janine Savage discusses how lucid dreaming can improve your creativity, and Writer’s Relief lists 5 steps to take when the writing gets tough and you want to quit.


We’ve all seen the headlines that ebook sales are falling, but a closer look shows that the drop is in sales from major publishers. Aaron Pressman explain why ebook sales from major publishers are plummeting.

Think long-form work is the only way to make good money? Stephen R. Campbell interviews T.S. Paul, who tells us how to make real money selling short fiction.

Writers are aware of the importance of a query letter. Agent Sharon Pelletier shares a guide to sample pages, so we can make the best first impression.

Many writers have blogs as part of our platforms. Anne R. Allen gives us 6 tips for getting more traffic to your author blog, and Nina Amir collated 15 expert tips to get more blog comments.


If you can find this typewriter, you can contribute to this giant poem.

Michael Waters lists 6 must-read YA books for Mr. Robot fans.

A poignant look at the World War I diaries of Captain Charles May on the eve of the Somme offensive.

Shakespeare has a special place in American culture, from Bunker Hill to Gilligan’s Island.

Paul Tremblay reminisces about his 1970s Satanic horror childhood—and how it has prepared him for the realities of today’s world.

Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book evokes stifling heat and steam…and was written in snow-laden Vermont.

A look at how picture books from Soviet Russia (1920s-30s) impacted children’s books.

A man who didn’t speak English wrote a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook that became a comedy sensation in the 1880s.

Check out this portrait of Emily Brontë by her brother Branwell.

Every writer has a playlist. Jane Austen’s music collection is now online.

Incredible photos of a 100-year-old theater converted into a stunning bookstore.

That’s it for Top Picks Thursday this week! Stay cool!



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