Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 22, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 06-22-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! My child’s last day of school was on Tuesday, so I have now joined the ranks of parent-writers wondering how they are going to squeeze in writing over the summer month. Fear not, we will still find the time to bring you literary links!

Happy Bloomsday! Too bad James Joyce would have hated this.

Tracy K. Smith, the new U.S. Poet Laureate, calls poems her anchor.

Check out this Parthenon made of books, built by artist Marta Minujin at the site of a Nazi book burning.

This crowdfunding project aims to put 200 Holocaust diaries online.

Reading is a very personal activity, and it has profound effects on us. Studies show that learning to read as an adult changes deep regions in the brain, and how boys and girls differ as readers.

Once we achieve some measure of success, many people ask for our help and advice. Jane Friedman looks at how we decide who deserves our help and what we owe to society.

Celebrating diversity and own voices: The Well-Read Black Girl Writers’ Conference and Festival has exceeded its fundraising goal and will take place on September 9th in Brooklyn, Lisa Hix and Mike Madrid unmask comic book superheroines, and Daniel Jose Ruiz discusses the Redwall series, which has “powerful things to say about inclusion and representation.”

Independent bookstores are finding ways to thrive. Check out this post of a bookstore from each of the 50 states. And when you’re in Massachusetts, visit the Dr. Seuss Museum.

Over the summer, have your kids read these 13 children’s books that encourage kindness towards others.

Also, be on the lookout for the graphic novel of To Kill a Mockingbird, coming November 2018.

Neil Gaiman on why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming.


Writers use many different programs to create, but many of us still use Microsoft Word. Debbie Young tells how to get the best out of Word when writing and self-publishing a book.

The beginning stages of a book can be the hardest to navigate. Janice Hardy discusses brainstorming your idea, Emily Rushkovick talks about how to ignore your instincts and find the real story, and Erika Raskin shares the disorganized novelist’s guide to outlines.

Once we start writing the story, we work with the building blocks of scenes and chapters. Janice Hardy lists 3 ways to increase the tension in your scenes, and Greer Macallister deals with the art of the chapter.

Creating characters is a ton of fun for most writers. K.M. Weiland has 5 ways to use Myers-Briggs for character development, Aimie K. Runyan discusses the art and craft of developing characters, and just in case your character (or you) ever gets buried alive, Sue Colleta details how to escape if buried alive.

After we’ve written that first draft, we need to polish our words to a shine. Jennie Nash gives us 4 perspectives on how to boost your self-editing superpowers, L.E. Sterling shows how to strengthen your verbs and your writing, and Deborah Raney shares 10 movie techniques to apply to your novel.

Kathleen Pooler has 7 tips for writing with intention and why it’s important for memoir writers, and Lizzie Shane shows how we can make our writing more authentic.

We’ve all heard the advice to write every day. Janice Hardy tells us why we shouldn’t write every day, and Debbie Young says why sometimes it’s good to be an irregular writer.

James Scott Bell gives us writing lessons from Ireland, and Jami Gold asks us: what’s your personal hero’s journey?


When you become an author, you open yourself to the public, whether you like it or not, and you need to decide how you want to interact with the public. Helen Sedwick discusses how to choose and set up a pen name, Dana Kaye has 3 steps to crafting your public persona for author speaking engagements (or really anytime you appear in public), and Tamela Hancock Murray shows how to decide if you should go to a conference or not.

Indie authors now have access to Bookscan numbers, but does that help or hurt when they want to try to get an agent? Janet Reid discusses the vagueness of Bookscan and how to incorporate those numbers in a query letter. Whether you use Bookscan data or not in your query, Nathan Bransford advises reading your query out loud before sending it.

Marketing is about connecting with your audience. Judith Briles defines and walks through the creation of a tagline for our author brand, Laura Morelli lays out how and why to submit a self-published book for review in Publisher’s Weekly, and Savvy Book Writers gives us an alternative to ACX for publishing our audiobooks.

The internet can be a powerful career tool. Nick Stephenson shows how to use email marketing to find your first 10,000 readers, Orly Konig-Lopez shares 4 Facebook lessons from a debut author, and Anne R. Allen outlines how blogging leads to many career paths.


Text generators are nothing new. See 3 very modern uses for Andrey Markov’s 19th-century text generator.

The Library of Congress preserves online culture in their Webcomics and Web Cultures Archives.

When you’re immersed in reading for study, it can be hard to read for fun. Laura Stoddart has tips on how to start reading for pleasure again after studying.

Author Ian Rankin inaccurately described a pub in his novel—and they remodeled to make it match.

Learn why Anthony Burgess abandoned his Dictionary of Slang project.

View 17th-century England Through the Eyes of Celia Fiennes, one of the first modern travel writers.

Loretta Chase and Susan Holloway Scott explores the treasures of the Kensington Central Library.

Meet the spy who became England’s first successful female writer.

This one had Chronicler Nancy Keim Comley giggling: Regular people recreate 10 corny romance novel covers.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Stay cool, and we’ll see you next week!

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