Come Visit Us!
Phone: (250) 595-4232
Fax: (250) 595-1458
#111-1644 Hillside Ave.
Victoria, B.C. V8T 2C5
The news broke early this morning: Bryce Courtenay, author of the beloved novel The Power of One and other books, has passed away at age 79, at home in Canberra.
Suffering from stomach cancer, Courtenay recorded a heartbreaking final video message for his fans two weeks ago. “My ‘use by’ date has finally come up and I’ve probably got just a few months to live. I don’t mind that, because I’ve had a wonderful life,” he says.
Courtenay was one of the great storytellers. His event with us a decade ago, at one of our author breakfasts, was dazzling, and one of the highlights of my life as the event coordinator. He will be missed.
More sad news to report.
Maeve Binchy, one of the most beloved authors in the world, died yesterday after what is described as a “short illness”. She was 72 years old.
Binchy was one of the world’s great storytellers, with a dedication to finding the bright side, and the best in people, in her work and life.
When we look back on 2012, we probably won’t remember the weather, or what we had for dinner on any particular day: we’ll likely remember what is starting to seem like a year of incredible loss.
And, sadly, we have two more sad passings to report today.
Stephen Covey, who quite literally changed lives — and, possibly, the world — with his seminal self-help-business books, most famously The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, died near his home in Idaho yesterday, of the lingering complications of a bicycle accident he suffered in April. He was 79 years old.
Through his books, and the institute which he created, Covery transformed thinking for businesses and individuals, and became an advisor to political figures on both sides of the aisle, including President Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.
And news was released yesterday morning that Donald Sobol, creator of the bestselling Encyclopedia Brown series, died last week in Miami of natural causes. He was 87 years old.
As Wired Magazine writes in its obituary, “Encyclopedia Brown was a proto-hacker, a bad-ass in the style of Buckaroo Banzai and MacGyver, who could sleuth a complicated crime, break it down, and solve it in the span of three pages. … Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown series was also notable for the inclusion of a strong female lead character. Sally Kimball, Brown’s pint-size best friend and sidekick, was also his bodyguard”, an unprecedented rendering in the early 1960s when the series began.
This is a sad summer for book lovers; we’ll be remembering all of our departed friends through their words, which will live forever.
There was some sad news in the literary world this weekend:
Jaime García Márquez released the news that his brother, Nobel Prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is suffering from senile dementia and can no longer write.
This is truly tragic news for fans of the Colombian writer, now 85. It brings to a close the work of one of the great writers of the twentieth century, perhaps one of the finest writers the world has ever known. To read Marquez was to truly enter another world. His work did more than cross borders; it broke down boundaries. Stylistically daring and boldly imaginative, Marquez’ work practically created the form known as “magical realism”, but it was his firm rooting in humanity and its foibles that set him apart.
He is perhaps best known for the epochal 1967 novel 100 Years of Solitude, but my favourite of his works has always been 1988′s Love in the Time of Cholera, with its irresistible opening line, “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” I think I’ll spend the next while re-reading it, and other of Marquez’ novels: it seems the best tribute to a man whose work changed my life.
Thank you, Gabbo, for everything.
Sad news broke this morning: Maurice Sendak, beloved writer and illustrator of books for children, has died at age 83.
Sendak, known for such books as In the Night Kitchen and his beloved classic Where the Wild Things Are, transformed how children’s books were imagined and received. His work took the traditional, polite, teaching-based stories of most of classic children’s book and ventured into altogether darker places, summoning up the forces of dreams and the hidden depths of the psyche.
Sendak was known, especially of late, for his unblinking cantankerousness, a forthrightness that never failed to surprise.
His influence will linger as long as there are children in the world; he will be missed.
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye…
Six or seven years ago, Bolen Books was fortunate enough to host William Sampson to talk about his memoir, Confessions of an Innocent Man. Sampson, you’ll recall, was arrested, imprisoned and tortured without cause in Saudi Arabia, held for three years, and only released as a result of a controversial prisoner exchange.
The event was harrowing, and heartbreaking. Sampson was a brilliant speaker, but clearly deeply affected, physically, mentally and emotionally by his experiences.
It was with great sadness we learned this afternoon that William Sampson has passed away in London, reportedly of a heart attack, at age 52.
We wish him peace.
Sad news started making the rounds this afternoon: prize-winning American poet Adrienne Rich has passed away at the age of 82. A well-known feminist, and winner of the National Book Award for 1974′s collection Diving into the Wreck (among numerous other prizes), Rich died of complications from long-term rheumatoid arthritis.
I think I’ll be spending some time with my copies of The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984 and On Lies, Secrets and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966–1978 tonight.