This week! Books!
First up, there are two great ways you can contribute to some worthy causes this week.
I’m donating a query critique that you can bid on to support We Need Diverse Books! And please consider donating to my 13th annual Heifer International fundraiser!
Now then, I have lots and lots and lots of links saved up for you. Let’s get to them!
Some really distressing news emerged about the rape conviction at the heart of bestselling author Alice Sebold’s memoir Lucky. An innocent man, Anthony Broadwater, spent 16 years in prison after being convicted of the rape due to Sebold’s false identification (she earlier wasn’t able to identify him in a police lineup) and some junk science. He was even denied parole five times because he insisted upon his innocence.
This week, Broadwater’s conviction was overturned, Sebold apologized, Scribner pulled Lucky from shelves, and the film adaptation, which actually led to the exoneration because a producer became suspicious and hired a private investigator, has been scrapped. Writing in Buzzfeed, Scaachi Koul reconsiders Lucky and writes about how the case reflects the broader failings of the justice system.
In happier news, I really enjoyed this conversation between authors Kiese Laymon and Tressie McMillan Cottom, which spanned so many interesting topics it’s difficult to tally: the writing process, revision in both writing and life, divestment of cherished art, the editing process, and the effect the economics of publishing has on writers. Definitely worth a listen.
A few weeks back I wrote about Realms of Ruin, an effort by a group of bestselling YA authors to create a fan fiction community drawing on blockchain technology, which was pulled after a swift (and in my opinion misguided) backlash. TechCrunch has a solid in-depth post on the controversy, which reaches many of the same conclusions I did.
It’s notable and best-of books season, and here is The New York Times Book Review’s list of 100 notable books.
In writing advice news, agent and author Don Maass wrote one of the best writing posts I’ve read in quite some time about how to utilize perspective, voice, and stakes to make readers care. Angela Ackerman talks about how to get readers engaged with a character’s choices, Fonda Lee talks about how to nail the end of a series, and Jane Friedman updated her post on writing a book proposal, which has some great resources.
Who invented science fiction? Lots of people cite H.G. Wells or Mary Shelley, but there are earlier precursors. Lincoln Michel dives in and considers the broader slipperiness of genre.
Editor David Moldower resurfaces an anecdote about Seinfeld I hadn’t known, which is that the inspiration for one of the greatest episode endings in the series came extremely late in the process. He uses it to illustrate that despite how much we often cling to our pre-conceived “darlings,” true greatness often comes from a great setup and more unpredictable sparks.
And during a time of great stress, “comfort creators,” people who pull their viewers out of bad head spaces, are supposedly growing in popularity. it The NY Times is on it.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories. (All links are affiliate links):
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- Go Tell the Bees I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
- The Becoming by Nora Roberts
- Fear No Evil by James Patterson
- The Judge’s List by John Grisham
- The Wish by Nicholas Sparks
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The 1619 Project edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein
- Will by Will Smith
- The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
- The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present by Paul McCartney
- These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Our Violent Ends by Chloe Zhao
- Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
- These Violent Delights by Chloe Zhao
- The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling. Illustrated by Jim Field
- Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- The Official Harry Potter Baking Book by Joanna Farrow
- The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- Build mysteries around whether characters will succeed or fail
- 13th annual Heifer fundraiser!
- Don’t miss chances to establish the stakes (page critique)
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
And finally, there are two “and finally” links this week!
First up, I absolutely loved this article by Joe Zadeh about the conscious universe. The latest science indicates that nearly everything in the universe might have at least nascent consciousness, and it has some fascinating implications for the way we view ourselves and our surrounding environment.
And speaking of the environment, as you may know my family are rice farmers in California, and I really enjoyed this video about a partnership between rice farmers and environmental groups to restore the Butte Creek watershed to help restore the fish population, which had been basically decimated since the devastation wrought by Gold Rush settlers. It could serve as a model for similar partnerships for more sustainable agriculture:
Have a great weekend!
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Awesome set of links this week! Thank you.
Neil Larkins says
So many great stories and articles! “Lucky” and “Butte Creek” especially inspiring in such different ways. (Been following all these years and didn’t know – or maybe I forgot? – your family is California farm stock. Nice!)