Literary lights are dimming
It's been a tough week for literary fans. I was first saddened to hear about the death of Margaret Mahy. Though she may not be as well known as J.K. Rowling, Ms. Mahy was an important figure in the world of children's books. She wrote over 150 books for kids and teens, won awards for that writing, and even worked as a librarian. If you haven't yet discovered Margaret Mahy, now's your chance - I'd suggest The Tricksters and Beaten by a Balloon.
A couple days after hearing about Mahy, we heard that Sally Ride had died. Though she was better known as the first American woman to go into space (and I can remember watching that flight happen), Sally Ride spent a lot of her more recent years working to excite kids (especially girls) about science. I became aware of her efforts when she spoke at an annual library conference (she was a great speaker) and when I searched LINKcat I found a bunch of her books - all written with kids in mind.
Not long after the announcement about Sally Ride came the news that author Maeve Binchy had also died. Though she is probably best known to American audiences for Circle of Friends - made into a movie with Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver - the book that has stuck with me is Scarlet Feather.
Just as I was mulling writing this post I heard the news this morning about Gore Vidal. Where the other authors I've mentioned have reached me emotionally with their writing, I can't say the same about Gore Vidal. What I can say is that he has challenged me on an intellectual level. As a political junky I've been more aware of him as a commentator about the state of our society and government. But he was also an essayist, a playwright, a novelist and a screenwriter. If you're looking for a starting point with his novels, my fellow MADreads reviewer Kathy liked Lincoln.
I'll miss these authors and I thank them for the reading pleasure they've given me.