The first verdict: the majority of my readers are scaredy-cats. A couple people emerged from their anonymity, but many many did not. But that's ok, you're still welcome. :)
The second verdict: I can't decide which writing books to request. All of your suggestions were wonderful and I was only able to eliminate three or four (for various reasons).
Here's my list, in order of preference:
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.) by Francine Prose
Plot & Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish) (Write Great Fiction) by James Scott Bell
Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (Write Great Fiction) by Nancy Kress
Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School by Gotham Writers' Workshop
The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman
The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner
How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling (How to Write a Damn Good Novel) by James N. Frey
Did you notice I slipped one in that no one recommended? Stupid Amazon and it's endless supply of books... I really, really want the first five on the list. Well, who am I kidding? I really, really want all of them, but I think the first five will be a good start. I think it's funny the book with "the first five" in the title is number six on my list, but I think that's just my lack of sleep talking.
Thank you all for your suggestions!
ETA: This just in. My benefactor has offered to purchase all of the above books. :)
I have a wonderful mother.