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Obituaries

Nate the Great Illustrator Has Died

Caldecott Medal-winning artist Marc Simont has died. He was 97-years-old. Over the course of his career, he illustrated almost one hundred books.

Simont became well-known for his work in children’s literature such as Marjorie Weinman Sharmat’s Nate the Great series and Janice May Udry’s A Tree Is Nice.

He also collaborated with many adult writers including sportswriter Red Smith and humorist James Thurber.

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Richard Matheson Has Died

The great science fiction, fantasy and horror writer Richard Matheson has passed away, ending what one fellow writer called “a supernova lifetime of writing.”

Matheson wrote many books, including: The Shrinking ManWhat Dreams May Come and I Am Legend. Macmillan has a long list of his great books.

Personally, I will never forget reading The Shrinking Man as a teenager, blown away by the cosmic themes explored inside that slender book. Many of his books were turned into classic films, but his novels deserve to be remembered by themselves as well.

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James Gandolfini Reads ‘In the Night Kitchen’ by Maurice Sendak

The great actor James Gandolfini died yesterday. To remember the actor, we’ve linked a 92nd Street Y video of Gandolfini reading In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.

Follow this link to jump straight to the reading. You can watch the reading at the 43:50 mark in the video embedded above–filmed at Sendak’s 80th birthday celebration in 2008.  Haaretz has more about Gandolfini’s connection to the author:

But perhaps his most Jewish role came in Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009), an adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic illustrated children’s story. Gandolfini played Carol, one of the titular characters dreamed up by the Max (Max Records), a disobedient little boy with a vivid imagination who is sent to bed without his supper. Max constructs a fictional world in a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.

(Link via)

Fantagraphics Co-Publisher Kim Thompson Has Died

Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson has passed away.

He was born in Denmark, but moved to the United States in the late 1970s where he edited The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes. During his tenure at Fantagraphics, he worked with a wide range of influential artists and writers. His obituary shared some of his life’s work:

Among Thompson’s signature achievements in comics were Critters, a funny-animal anthology that ran from 50 issues between 1985 to 1990 and is perhaps best known for introducing the world to Stan Sakai‘s Usagi Yojimbo; and Zero Zero, an alternative comics anthology that also ran for 50 issues over five years — between 1995 and 2000 — and featured work by, among others, Kim Deitch, Dave Cooper, Al Columbia, Spain Rodriguez, Joe Sacco, David Mazzuchelli, and Joyce Farmer. His most recent enthusiasm was spearheading a line of European graphic novel translations.

(Link via Sarah Weinman, photo via Lynn Emmert)

Vince Flynn Has Died

Thriller novelist Vince Flynn has passed away. He was 47 years old.

If you want to remember the novelist, you can donate to one of the charities that Vince Flynn supported. His books included American AssassinKill Shot and The Last Man. The AP published his obituary today:

 

Flynn self-published his first book, “Term Limits,” in 1997 before landing a publishing deal. “Term Limits” became a New York Times bestseller … He averaged a book a year.

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Michael Hastings Has Died

Investigative reporter and author Michael Hastings has died following a car accident. He was working as BuzzFeed’s correspondent-at-large and a Rolling Stone contributor.

Hastings was the author of The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan and I Lost My Love in Baghdad. Hastings made headlines in 2010 for his Rolling Stone article “The Runaway General,” a story that ultimately cost General Stanley A. McChrystal his command. At Reddit, Hastings shared this advice for writers:

Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting. Like it’s more important to you than anything else in your life–family, friends, social life, whatever … Learn to embrace rejection as part of the gig. Keep writing/pitching/reading.

Iain Banks Has Died

Novelist Iain M. Banks has passed away.

The Friends of Iain Banks website offered this brief message:

“Iain died in the early hours this morning. His death was calm and without pain.” We will update this site shortly. Please leave messages here, he absolutely loved them. For now, a fond farewell to our friend.

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Bernard Waber Has Died

Bernard Waber, the author of The House on East 88th Street, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and other classic kid’s books, has passed away.

After World War II, the young artist changed his plans to study finance and took on art instead. he The House on East 88th Street captured his memories of moving to New York City as a young artist and newlywed. He shared his memories in a moving essay:

My involvement with children’s books originated with some illustrations of children I carried in my art portfolio. Several art directors suggested that my drawings seemed suited for children’s books. At the same time, I was also having read-aloud sessions with my own three children. I am afraid enthusiasm for “their” books began, in fact, to cause them occasional discomfort. “Daddy, why don’t you look at the grownups’ books?” they once chided as I trailed after them into the children’s room of our local library. Before long I was mailing out stories and ideas to publishers. Rejections followed, but after a time a cheery encouragement arrived from Houghton Mifflin Company, and to my delight, a contract was offered for Lorenzo. In one way or another, I seem to find myself thinking of children’s books most of the time.

Ray Manzarek Has Died

The Doors co-founder and author Ray Manzarek has passed away. He was 74 years old.

We’ve created a Spotify playlist below, linking to his music, interviews and work with poets. The rock keyboardist wrote a few books, including The Poet in Exile: A Novel and his Light My Fire memoir. You can read Entertainment Weekly had this obituary for the rock star:

As a member of the legendary rock band that formed in 1965 in Los Angeles and effectively ended with the death of frontman Jim Morrison in 1971 … [he] wrote a best-selling memoir about his experiences, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, in 1998. The Doors sold more than 100 million albums worldwide on the strength of hits like ”Hello, I Love You,” “Riders on the Storm,” “Light My Fire,” and “Break On Through to the Other Side.”

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Publisher Louis Strick Has Died

The literary publisher and calligraphy expert Louis Strick has passed away. He was 87 years old, leaving behind a lifetime of books, art and writing scholarship.

Westport Now published an obituary about his long and varied career. Here is an excerpt:

In the late 1960s Strick began importing calligraphic art supplies, distributed through his Pentalic Company. By making special nibs, pens and instruction books widely available, Strick spearheaded a revival of the calligraphic movement in America;. He also established the Calligraphy Workshop, a school on lower Fifth Avenue. In the late 1970s, Strick purchased the Taplinger Publishing Company, bringing out works of literary fiction as well as volumes on modern art, reflecting two of his passions.

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