What blogs have you been reading this week? My picks for the week are on topics from romance novels to Harry Potter . . .

New Books, Good Dialogue
Posted by Sarah Wendell on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

I don't read a ton of romance novels (although I do enjoy the genre from time to time)—but I always get a kick out of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, the hilarious blog devoted to reviews of romance novels. Once of my favorite recent posts is about good dialogue—"when characters both talk like real people, and talk like REALLY SMART people, AND (I know, it’s a lot to ask) talk like really smart real people who are trying not to reveal too much." For more on what constitutes smart, snappy dialogue—and some examples of the best kind of dialogue in new romance novels—check out this post.

Five Writing Tips From Reading J.K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER
Posted by Nathan Bransford (author and former literary agent)

Writers and publishing folks flock to Nathan Bransford's blog for tips on query letters, industry news and commentary on the book biz. Those sorts of posts are all well and good . . . but this week I was really excited because it was Harry Potter Week! This post on what writers can learn from reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series gave me a serious trip down memory lane—and also helped me appreciate some aspects of Rowling's writing that I didn't notice when I was devouring her books as a middle schooler. For example: "You can accomplish amazing things with a third person limited perspective . . . This very constrained perspective is a big part of what makes the story great. We really feel close to Harry and his struggle, as the rest of the world of HARRY POTTER is literally on the outside." (On that note, we've officially entered the one-week countdown until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I!)

10 Essential Books from the Last 25 Years
Posted by Ian Tuttle on Flavorwire

As we all prepare for the onslaught of "Best of 2010" lists (don't get me wrong—I love 'em—but they can certainly overwhelm a TBR list), check out this other kind of list . . . of "books that have found a place in Generation X’s (and for that matter, Y’s and W’s, too) common culture; books that people know about, relate to, and converge around, all from the last 25 years." It's always nice to be reminded of titles you meant to read but haven't—like Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (in my case). What other books do you think belong in this "contemporary canon"?

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