Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 20, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 10-20-2016


Moorestown Library Game Table

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’re having a bit of a heat wave in our neck of the woods, so I hope we return to fall temperatures soon.

Powerhouse author John Green talks about his struggles with mental illness and creativity, and the dangers of romanticizing mental illness as a conduit to art.

Musician Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, and a lot of people had opinions on that. David C. Ward asked if Bob Dylan was a poet, Erin Blakemore listed 5 things we need to know about Bob Dylan, and Hanson O’Haver insists that Bob Dylan does not need a Nobel Prize. Meanwhile, Christian Lorentzen examines how Nobel Prizes are nominated, narrowed down, and selected.

Joyce Carol Oates ruminates on Shirley Jackson’s life and work.

Elena Ferrante’s translator Ann Goldstein calls her outing “totally unnecessary.” Ivan Kreilkamp reminds us that a “clever man” outing a female writer is not a new story.

Check out the SCBWI 2016 Work-In-Progress Grant winners and the Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award winner.

Censorship is not acceptable, but when librarians are silenced the reverberations can be felt far and wide.


Kristen Lamb expounds on what it takes to be a real writer.

Roz Morris discusses the pros and cons of whether a writer should fictionalize a personal story or not.


Moorestown Library Reading Area

There are so many elements to keep in mind when we write. Becca Puglisi explores the macro elements by examining the 3 kinds of story arc, Mary Kole tackles structure looking at the mushy middle caused by a character information seeking, and Michael McDonagh tells us the truth about adverbs.

Characters are the heart of most stories. Terri Reed tells us 9 ways to develop story characters, while Emily Asher-Perrin, Leah Schnelbach, Molly Templeton, and Natalie Zutter examine 6 different ways sci-fi/fantasy characters avoid traditional school.

When we’re done writing, it’s time to revise. Mary Kole shows us how we can know whether what we have is worth revising, or if we should just give up.

Creativity and stress-management are important to writers. Roni Loren shares her perspective on meditation for the skeptical and her new relationship with deadlines, and Kristin Wong has the best productivity habits of famous writers.



Moorestown Library Children’s Area

Writers need to be able to pitch our stories at all stages of creation. Judith Briles asks if you have your perfect pitch, Janet Reid reminds us to have a synopsis ready BEFORE we query, and Kristen Lamb tells us why we need a synopsis before we start writing (and how to write a good one).

Marketing has many different avenues. Martha Conway warns us of pitfalls with Facebook ads, Anne R. Allen examines the new Amazon review policy for author red flags, and Jane Friedman shares 5 questions to ask ourselves before we decide to write something for free.

We hear a great deal about branding ourselves these days. Drew Chial examines how branding can help and hinder your writing.



Moorestown Library Stacks

Oxford University Press and The Reader are teaming up to bring classics to those who need them most, and discuss what the classics do for you.

Before you reach for the stars, you have to believe you can get there. Ryan P. Smith examines how artists, mad scientists, and speculative fiction writers made spaceflight possible.

If you love bookstores, thank James Lackington, the man who invented book selling as we know it.

David Snowdon explores the odd relationship of poet Lord Byron with boxing.

At the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC, there’s a headstone like a card catalogue entry. That’s one dedicated librarian.

Most of us laugh and enjoy the names Charles Dickens gave his characters. Bryan Kozlowski goes deeper to reveal what Victorian readers would  have understood about those names that we are missing as he deciphers 10 Dickensian character names.

Ever wonder how long it took to write the world’s most famous books? Printerinks has the answer in one handy infographic.

Although we five chroniclers don’t live close to each other, we do live in the same region — southern and central New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania — and we’re going to show our support for libraries by concluding with a photo of a local library for the next several weeks (until we run out of them!) This week, we’ll give a shout out to the Moorestown Library, in Moorestown, NJ.


That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!




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