In Memory Of John Updike

John Updike passed away, and with his passing one of the great writers of contemporary American life is gone. Updike wrote prolifically, about a novel a year and much more, and his contributions to The New Yorker  alone were astounding. Rumour has it that his death created vacancies for 5 people on the staff there,  who would be needed just to fill the deadspace left by his absence.

Updike was able to make everyday moments seem intense, almost magical and he was best when he was giving voice to the drama in these events as they unfold in small towns accross America. But he also had the ability to write about sexuality in a very effective and frank way and his own graciousness was legendary.  He also was not afraid to take chances, writing about subjects like witches and terrorists. He will be missed but his influence will grow stronger as his legacy will surely grow posthumously. John, your magic was something special.

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Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 2:52 pm  Comments (3)  
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Blogging Now at The Nervous Breakdown

I have agreed to be a contributing writer at TheNervousBreakdown, a website that despite its name, does not have much to do with psychology. I like the quality of article there and so plan to contribute about once/month. You can see my first article, a send-up of Neale Walsch’s plagiarism predicament here:

http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/dberndt/2009/01/conversation-with-god-about-neale-walsch/

Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 10:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Tough Times in the Book Biz

Things have been rough in the book business, and not just the attrocious economic picture. The book sales are down, Borders stock is in danger of being delisted, and major publishing companies are reliving the besieged part of Custer’s last stand (e.g., McGraw Hill just let some 375 people go).

But thats not all. Some other bad news of late, we lost a giant of the mystery book world. As I noted a couple days ago Richard Stark died. Murder One book store announced its demise the next day. And now, according to Galleycat Neale Walsch, the author of Conversations With God, admitted that he “accidentally” plagiarized a tale on his website. He apologized, but now I have to wonder, did God really say those things to him?

Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Richard Stark/Donald E Westlake RIP

It  is with great sadness that we all say goodbye to Donald Westlake, also known by his pen name Richard Stark. It’s no mystery that this man will be missed, as evidenced by the huge list of tributes culled by Sarah Weinman: http://www.sarahweinman.com/confessions/2009/01/donald-westlake-rip.html.

As a mystery and crime writer Donald had no peer, and his loss cannot be measured. While he lived to 75, and died a natural death on his way out to celebrate New Years Eve, it can olny be said that he died with his gumshoes on.

Published in: on January 2, 2009 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment