Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 22, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 12-22-2016


Alleghany County Public Library Children’s section

Welcome to Top Picks Thursday! We want to wish everyone a joyous and peaceful celebration this season.

For readers, it can be hard to find reading time during the holidays. Sharon Pelletier has tips on how to sneak in reading time during hectic holidays. Sneaking in reading time is not a problem if you live in Iceland because their Christmas tradition is to give books!

A few more “Best Of” lists: The Best Books About Food of 2016, Smithsonian-Curated Books, NPR’s Book Concierge’s Best Books of 2016, BookRiot’s (Some of the) Best 2016 books from outside the USA, and a librarian’s list of 19 books to help children find hope and strength in stressful times.

After all those lists, Lee Wind has this to say about 7 things “Best Of” lists can teach us.

One classic book celebrating 50 years is The Snowy Day—a book that quietly broke color barriers.

You can find The Snowy Day and likely all the Best Of books listed at your local bookstore. If you are local to New Hope, PA, that would be the recently-interviewed bookstore Farley’s Bookshop.

The New York Public Library and MacMillan are teaming up to launch an imprint to publish books based on the library’s collections.

And how’s this for a library fine? A woman returns a book that is 57 years overdue.

We are coming close to the end of the year, which is often a time to set new goals for the coming year. Roni Loren discusses choosing a One-Word Theme for your 2017.


We write because we love it. Writing is our passion. But once we choose to share our writing, what we write takes on a wider meaning, whether we want it to or not. Andrea Phillips examines the high responsibility of fiction.

If you are a poet looking to break out, check out Amanda Lovelace talking about her path from self-published poet to first book deal.

Character is something many writers struggle with mastering. Jeff Gerke shows how to make readers connect deeply to your characters, D.D. Falvo creates character images that work, and Janice Hardy suggests that to get better characters, you get rid of the dialogue.

There are a whole raft of writing elements writers need to master. Christina Delay shows how to make setting come to life with sensory details, Jami Gold talks about the revision circle, Kristina Riggle tells how to make “write what you know” work for you, and Alex Limberg has tips to help you finish that novel.

Anne Carley explains how to avoid sabotaging your creative process, while Isabella Bradford takes us into the writing vortex.

It is wonderful that we writers can look to mentors to gain inspiration. Still drawing at 85, children’s book pioneer Ed Emberley inspires future artists, Brandon Sanderson opines that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld might be the highest form of literature on the planet, John Green explains why he still has a day job, and debut authors share their advice.


In case you are new to the business, Kristen Lamb has an overview of publishing basics that writers and readers need to know.

Are you a children’s author looking to self-publish? Carla King shares tech tools to help produce and sell children’s books.

Agent Janet Reid hits a triple this week: the quickest way to NOT impress an agent, how much of a full she reads before she decides, and why pulling a full manuscript from an agent because they are “taking too long” to read it is a bad idea.

So much of marketing is online these days, so writers need to pay close attention to a myriad of items. Anne R. Allen explains how not to query a blogger (and 10 tips to do it right), Debbie Young lists 10 data sources we should update by year’s end, Nate Hoffelder has 5 WordPress themes for authors, and Stephanie Chandler gives us 8 ideas for adding additional content to your blog.


Martina Boone shares her 10 favorite inspirational writing quotes.

The most expensive science book ever just sold for $3.7 million.

Take a look at Emily Dickinson’s singular scrap poetry.

Never give up! The beloved, baffling A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by 26 publishers.

Maps were in the news this week. A rare 17th-century map found shoved up a chimney is restored, The Library of Congress is putting its map collection on the map, and a look at how maps shaped Shakespeare.

From the “Classic Writers News” column: Examining the marriage bond for William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, an innovative new presentation of Moby-Dick, exploring where Jane Austen’s characterizations of the clergy come from, and the only footage of Mark Twain in existence.

Explore a century of children’s games and rhymes.

Ever wonder why encyclopedia is sometimes spelled encyclopædia?

Examine these tiny (very tiny) 19th century books and playing cards.

A 200-year-old Indian library gets a new lease on life.

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 a not-so-local library with a Chronicler connection, Alleghany County Public Library in Sparta, NC. They are currently moving to new digs, and this is their old children’s section.

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That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll have our annual Most Popular Links of 2016 next week.



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