Archive for the ‘Deaths’ Category

Author James Salter Dies

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.02.19 PM“Life passes into pages if it passes into anything” said author James Salter in his 1997 memoir Burning the Days (RH/Vintage; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample). He died on Friday at age 90.

Many readers might not know of him. His books may not have achieved big sales, but the many observances of his passing, which uniformly offer high praise for his consummate skills, are, somewhat ironically, sending his books rising on the Amazon charts.

Salter is called an underappreciated master craftsman in many tributes:

Richard Ford summarizes Salter’s influence in a 2013 New Yorker profile, “It is an article of faith among readers of fiction that James Salter writes American sentences better than anyone writing today.”

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Salter’s most recent book is the 2013 novel All That Is (RH/Knopf; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). He broke onto the literary scene in the late 1950s and is perhaps best known for the 1967 novel Sport and a Pastime (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample) and Light Years (RH/Vintage; OverDrive Sample) published in 1975. He also wrote for Hollywood (or, as Dealine puts it, “indulged an ultimately unsatisfactory flirtation with Hollywood”), for projects starring Robert Mitchum (The Hunters) and Robert Redford (Downhill Racer).

 

Vincent Bugliosi Dies at 80

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Author Vincent Bugliosi, has died at age 80, after being treated for cancer.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.43.31 AMPerhaps best known as the prosecutor of the Charles Manson case, Bugliosi is also a multiple Edgar winning author. His account of the Manson crimes and trial, Helter Skelter (Norton; 1974; Brilliance Audio), is a true crime classic. Its menacing tone, quick pace, and clear description of events helped set expectations for the genre.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.44.20 AMBugliosi followed Helter Skelter with accounts of other murders such as And The Sea Will Tell (Norton; 1991) and Till Death Do Us Part (Norton; 1978).

He tackled the assassination of President Kennedy in Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Norton; 2007; Simon & Schuster Audio).

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.46.23 AMHis most recent title is the 2011 Divinity of Doubt: God and Atheism on Trial (Vanguard Press; Dreamscape Media; OverDrive Sample).

Readers new to Bugliosi may want to begin with his classic, Helter Skelter.

Tanith Lee Dies at 67

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

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The first woman to win the British Fantasy Award, Tanith Lee has died at age 67 after a long illness. She won the World Fantasy Award twice and was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from both the World Fantasy Convention and the Horror Writers Association. Although she never won the Nebula, she was nominated twice.

In an appreciation, the SF web site i09 says Lee “was one of the most prolific and influential authors of fantasy and horror. Everyone seems to know her for something different. Some people are obsessed with The Silver Metal Lover, [RH/Spectra; originally published in 1977] while others devoured her fantasy series.”

But the Guardian notes she “seemed to have fallen out of favour as a writer in recent years, as did many writers who came to prominence in the SF fields in the Seventies.” the author herself said in a 1998 interview, with Locus Magazine “If anyone ever wonders why there’s nothing coming from me, it’s not my fault. I’m doing the work. No, I haven’t deteriorated or gone insane. Suddenly, I just can’t get anything into print.”

As tastes in genre fiction shifted, that problem only continued and now just a handful of her books are in print.

Her debut, The Birthgrave (Penguin/DAW; OverDrive Sample) is being reprinted for its 40th anniversary next week. The other books in that trilogy are planned for release over the next several months.

 

Ruth Rendell Dies at 85

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.04.40 AMAuthor Ruth Rendell, who also wrote under the pen name Barbara Vine, has died at age 85, after suffering a stroke in January.

Known for her skill in crafting dark, pointed, and intellectual psychological thrillers, Rendell is one of the pioneers of crime fiction.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.45.54 AMShe is the author of the Inspector Reginald Wexford mysteries, beginning in 1964 with From Doon with Death (RH/Ballantine, 2007; OverDrive Sample). She went on to write 23 more over a career that spanned fifty years (the most recent is No Man’s Nightingale, S&S/Scribner, 2013; OverDrive Sample).

Rendell also wrote successful standalones. The newest is The Girl Next Door (S&S/Scribner, 2014; OverDrive Sample).

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.05.54 AMHer next book, also a standalone, is scheduled for December, Dark Corners (S&S/Scribner, 12/1/15; 9781501119422, 1501119427).

As Barbara Vine, Rendell wrote hits such as A Dark-Adapted Eye (currently out of stock in print; available digitally from Open Road Media; OverDrive Sample) and The Birthday Present (RH/Broadway; OverDrive Sample).

The Guardian suggests five key works for new readers to try and for established fans to revisit.

Western Passage: Ivan Doig
Dies at 75

Monday, April 13th, 2015

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Ivan Doig died on Thursday, in his home in Seattle. Both a novelist and a nonfiction writer, Doig published over a dozen books including This House of Sky (which was a finalist for the National Book Award), The Whistling Season, The Bartender’s Tale, and Sweet Thunder.

His final work, slated for publication on August 18th, is Last Bus to Wisdom.

The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the LA Times offer remembrances.

On his website Doig begins a note to his readers with this:

No one is likely to confuse my writing style with that of Charlotte Bronte, but when that impassioned parson’s daughter lifted her pen from Jane Eyre and bequeathed us the most intriguing of plot summaries—’Reader, I married him’—she also was subliminally saying what any novelist, even one from the Montana highlands rather than the Yorkshire moors, must croon to those of you with your eyes on our pages: ‘Reader, my story is flirting with you; please love it back.’ Our books come to you with bright-cheeked hope…

Readers who want to explore Doig’s writing with that same “bright-cheeked hope” might wish to begin with his memoir This House of Sky.

RA Help for New Terry Pratchett Readers

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.46.57 AMThe widely reported news of Terry Pratchett’s death is likely to send readers to the library. For those new to Pratchett, who wrote over 70 novels, many of which as part of the sprawling Discworld series, it can be hard to know where to start.

Readers’ advisors seeking guidance might turn to the A.V. Club’s well-considered path through Pratchett’s novels and consult BoingBoing’s posting of Krzysztof Kietzma’s handy infographic to the interrelated books in Discworld (unfortunately, it’s difficult to read. A larger version is available here). BuzzFeed offers a ranked listing of his 30 best works while USA Today and Mashable suggest five starting titles.

Author Terry Pratchett Dies

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

The author of over 70 books for children and adults, including the popular Discworld series and many other novels has died at 66.

Terry Pratchett, who had early onset Alzheimer’s disease, died at his home according to the announcement,  “with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family.”

The Guardian offers a tribute to the author in the form of reviews by young fans, as well as a selection of his most inspiring quotes.

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A collection of 14 stories for children, many of which were written when Pratchett was in his teens,  Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales (HMH/Clarion; Listening Library) was published in February. The fourth in the Long Earth series, written for adults, The Long Utopia (Harper; HarperLuxe) is scheduled for publication this June.

Holds Alert: NIGHT OF THE GUN

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

nightoftheHolds are rising in libraries for David Carr’s memoir, The Night of the Gun (S&S, 2008), causing several to order more copies in trade paperback.

Sadly, people are being brought to the book by the author’s recent death at 58, with news stories and obits noting his searing memoir of the days when he was, as he himself describes it, a “violent drug-snorting thug.”

Beloved among fellow journalists, his “fond and tearful” wake on Tuesday was covered in many publications, from the New York Times, where he was the media reporter,  to The Economist and the New York Post.

An excerpt from the book was the cover story of the NYT Magazine when it was published in 2008. In the book, he took a journalists’ approach to his own life, reporting on it by interviewing the people who witnessed it.

Thanks to Barrie Olmstead, Adult Materials Selector, Sacramento Public Library, for the tip.

“A Serious Blow for
American Poetry”

Monday, February 16th, 2015

9780679765844Former Poet Laureate Philip Levine died at 87 on Saturday. In today’s NYT, critic Dwight Garner describes him as the author of “spare, ironic poems of the industrial heartland” and calls his loss, “a serious blow for American poetry.”

Levine won a Pulitzer Prize for his collection The Simple Truth (RH/Knopf, 1994) and two National Book Awards, for Ashes: Poems New & Old (Atheneum, 1979) and for What Work Is (RH/Knopf, 1991). His most recent collection was News of the World, (RH/Knopf, 2009).

The New Yorker, which published many of his poems, beginning in 1958, notes that Levine credits a high school teacher for opening his eyes to poetry,

When I was in the eleventh grade and the war was still going, a teacher read us some poems by Wilfred Owen. And after class, for some reason, she called me up to her desk and said, “Would you like to borrow this book?” How she knew that I was responding so powerfully to these poems, I’m not sure, but I was. She said, “Now, I want you to take it home, and read it with white gloves on.” In other words, don’t spill soup on it. It was probably the most significant poetic experience I had in my whole life, and I was only seventeen. Just to discover that there was a young man some years before whose feelings about war were so similar to my own, yet he had experienced it all, whereas I was only living in dread of having to go to war.

Author Colleen McCullough Dies

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The author of the 1977  mega best seller, The Thorn Birds, and most recently, the novel Bittersweet, (S&S) has died Australia. She was 77.

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Colleen McCullough wrote over 20 books since the Thorn Birds became a best seller, propelled to even greater success by a blockbuster TV series based on it. A generational saga set in Australia, the author drew on her own family background for the story.

The books that followed included a series of historical novels set in classical Rome and another of detective stories. As she told an interviewer in 2013, she felt uncomfortable returning to the genre that brought her the greatest success, but for last year’s Bittersweet, she said she had managed to construct an epic romance that could not be considered the “Son of Thorn Birds.”

In that interview, looking ahead, she said she had an idea for another of her detective novels featuring Carmine Delmonico (the most recent, Sins of the Flesh, was released here a few months after Bittersweet), but she didn’t want to start it because “it would be terribly frustrating to get halfway through a book and fall off the perch.”

Novelist Robert Stone Dies

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

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National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, Robert Stone died on Saturday at his home in Key West. He was 77.

The New York Times, in addition to an obituary, publishes an appreciation of his work by Michiko Kakutani, who says he was “one of the few writers to capture the apocalyptic madness of America in the 1960s and ‘70s.”

The books she finds particularly noteworthy are:

A Hall of Mirrors, (HMH, 1966)

Dog Soldiers, (HMH, 1974) — National Book Award winner

A Flag for Sunrise, (RH/Knopf, 1981) — finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize

Damascus Gate, (HMH, 1998)

Children of Light, (RH/Knopf, 1986)

Bay of Souls (HMH, 2003)

Prime Green, memoir, (HarperPerennial, 2007)

Death of the Black-Haired Girl, (HMH, 2013)

Norman Bridwell Dies

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog, Norman Bridwell, died on Friday. He was 86 years old.

Scholastic published the first  Clifford book in 1963. The series became so important to the company that Scholastic adopted the dog as its official mascot.

In a statement released yesterday, Dick Robinson,  CEO, of Scholastic, paid tribute to the author, saying, “Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor.”

In 2012, Scholastic celebrated Clifford’s 50th anniversary and released a video interview with Bridwell:

A live-action, animated 3D movie, Clifford the Big Red Dog is scheduled for release on April 8th, 2016.

The next book in the series will be published in April.

9780545823357_474aeClifford Goes to Kindergarten
Norman Bridwell
Scholastic: April 28, 2015
Ages 3 to 5, Grades P to K
Paperback
$3.99 USD

Nadine Gordimer Tributes

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Remembrances and appreciations are pouring in for Nadine Gordimer, whose books help expose the effects of South Africa’s Apartheid policies and won her a Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. She died on Sunday at 90.

Below is a selection:

NPR — Writer Nadine Gordimer Captured Apartheid’s Contradictions

New York Times — Nadine Gordimer, Novelist Who Took On Apartheid, Is Dead

The Guardian — Nadine Gordimer: five must-read books — American editions listed below:

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The Conservationist, Penguin Books

Burger’s Daughter, Penguin Books

July’s People, Penguin Books

Life Times: Stories, Penguin Books

No Time Like the Present, Macmillan/Picador

Walter Dean Myers Dies

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

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A pioneer in children’s literature, Walter Dean Myers, died at 76 on Tuesday. He wrote over 100 books, winning nearly every award possible and was the 2012/13 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and influencing new generations of writers.

Richard Robinson, Chairman of Scholastic, publisher of Myers’ books, released a statement late yesterday:

“Walter Dean Myers changed the face of children’s literature by representing the diversity of the children of our nation in his award-winning books. He was a deeply authentic person and writer who urged other authors, editors and publishers not only to make sure every child could find him or herself in a book, but also to tell compelling and challenging stories that would inspire children to reach their full potential. My favorite quote from Walter is a clarion call to embrace the power of books to inform and transform our lives – he said, ‘Once I began to read, I began to exist.’ He will be missed by us all.”

He also notes,

I will never forget when Walter appeared at a convention to speak about his book, Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, which was published by Scholastic. As we waited for the booksellers to arrive, more than 100 hotel staff crowded into the dining room, drawn to this tall, dignified author they deeply admired.

EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek, responds to the news:

I’ve been trying to write something but…

I am a reader not a writer.

I have read Walter Dean Myers.

I have experienced the responses of children and young adult readers as they hear, read and ponder his words and stories.

I have been privileged to share meals, as well as short and long chats with Christopher [Myers’s son who illustrated many of his father’s books] and Pops  and hear them talk to audiences about their art and relationship.

You know I loved that man like a rabbit loves to run.

Goodbye, Mr. Walter Dean Myers. Goodbye.

Lisa recommends listening to Christopher and Walter Dean Myers’s StoryCorps reminiscence.

More information on Myers’ many books and accomplishments below:

Scholastic site

Children’s Book Council press release

Associated Press obituary

Washington Post obituary

Louis Zamperini Dies

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The hero of Laura Hillenbrand’s long-running best seller, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, has died at 97 of pneumonia. A movie based on that book will be released in December.

Attempts to bring Zamperini’s remarkable life to the movies began over 55 years ago.  Finally, Angelina Jolie took on the project, basing it on the 2010 book. In the process, she and Zamperini became friends. They appeared together earlier this year on  NBC’s Today Show.

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