This week! Books!
As you can see above I recently returned from an exciting voyage to Batuu but I have still been keeping an eye out for good writing and book links back on Earth.
I missed the National Book Awards longlist for fiction, and it’s quite a list! Congrats to the nominees:
- Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
- Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
- Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
- Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
- The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
- Black Light: Stories by Kimberly King Parsons
- The Need by Helen Phillips
- Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
The New York Times is again tweaking their bestseller lists, bringing back mass market and graphic novel bestseller lists but reporting them monthly instead of weekly.
The Atlantic delved into the science of why some people end up reading books their whole lives. Aside from more predictable measures like affluence and educational levels, according to a new book it also has much to do with parents treating the reading experience as something that’s fun instead of work.
Loved this post by author and agent Betsy Lerner on when it’s time to give up on a book project.
One of my favorite roles as a literary agent was helping authors revise their books to get them ready for the submission process, whether that was Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann or Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (Daniel talks about our work together here). Agent Jessica Faust wrote a post on what makes her decide to work with an author on revision. (Also, here’s some advice on how to work with an agent on edits)
Austin Kleon has a great post reflecting on how Kris Kristofferson decided to give everything up to pursue a country music career. His conclusion: you’ll be miserable if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.
Dan Blank has a much-beloved newsletter and teaches classes to help authors achieve their goals. His new Creative Shift Mastermind class is launching on October 1
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories:
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- The Institute by Stephen King
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
- Educated by Tara Westover
- Call Sign Chaos by James Mattis and Bing West
- She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
Young adult hardcover:
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademaymi
- American Royals by Katharine McGee
- Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Middle grade hardcover:
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Max Einstein: Rebels With a Cause by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
- Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
This week on the blog
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- How to create a great villain
- Let the reader diagnose your characters
- Who is the hottest villain in literature?
- Slow down and set the scene (Page critique)
Comment! of! the! week! goes to LadyJ, who reflects further on why you shouldn’t diagnose your characters:
…Most people have no idea why they sabotage themselves. Even if a friend told them (without clinical terms), they probably wouldn’t accept it. If they did and asked that friend for help, they probably would have excuses for why the friend’s advice wouldn’t work (and may even end up in an argument)…
While a main character might be able to summarize a friend so neatly, someone shouldn’t be able to summarize themselves so neatly because even if they did know, as far as they are concerned, it is more complicated than the simplest terms. If it is important, that aha! moment should be part of the story. If it isn’t so important, then it should be shown, instead of told so that a sharp reader can still have that aha! moment for themselves.
And finally, I’ve written previously about how I feel about phone notifications. An artist has created an awesome new project that removes phones from intimate photographs. The result is incredible.
Have a great weekend!
• Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
• For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
• And if you like this post: subscribe to my newsletter!