Authors: In Memoriam, 2012
Best nonfiction 2012: my very first podcast!

Authors: In Memoriam, 2012 (the personal version).

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?

Well, Ray Bradbury, of course. And Nora Ephron hit pretty hard too. But David Rakoff? Oh, losing David Rakoff broke my heart.

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?