Of course, anytime an author dies it makes the baby Jesus cry. But when I was typing up yesterday's list of authors who passed on last year, I must admit there were more than a few that really hit me hard. Which ones?
Several of the names surprised me; Jacques Barzun because I really didn't know he was still alive. David Oliver Relin (co-author of Three Cups of Tea, but we can't hold that against him, I think Greg Mortenson is the real problem there) was sad because he committed suicide, and Jeffrey Zaslow (although I think his book, The Last Lecture, co-authored by Randy Pausch, was a crime against the book-buying public) was kind of sad because he died on a snowy road driving around in Michigan promoting his latest book. It's a tough life, being an author.
And then, there were Earl Shorris ("who fought poverty with knowledge," what a beautiful epigraph) and Paul Fussell.* Two of my very favorites. This year please do consider reading a book by either of those authors in tribute; they wrote thoughtful, solid, intelligent nonfiction. They will be missed.
*In fact, I'm thinking I'm making this the Year of Fussell here at CR. Maybe we'll do a Menage with him, or perhaps I'll issue a reading challenge?