With the closing of this year, we said goodbye to many wonderful authors. Fortunately, their works will stay with us for years to come.
Wayne Dyer, dubbed “Father of Motivation” by his fans, was an inspirational speaker on self-development and spiritual growth. 21 of the 40 books he authored became New York Times Best Sellers and guidelines for millions around the world seeking personal growth.
Dr. Oliver Sacks, the renowned neurologist and author known for his beautifully rendered narrative tales of neurological issues and those suffering from them. The popular 1997 movie Awakening, starring Robin Williams, was based on one of Sacks’ clinical cases. Writing until the end, Sacks published a memoir, On the Move, and a collection of essays (including one about his own struggle with cancer) called Gratitude in 2015.
Best-selling author, Jackie Collins, whose stories brought the lives of sexy, glamorous Hollywood types into suburban homes across America. Many of her books were made into movies, such as Hollywood Wives. Ms. Collins latest romp through passion and power is The Santangelos.
The Queen of the True Crime genre, Ann Rule. Rule’s breakout book, The Stranger Beside Me, was about her friendship with serial killer Ted Bundy, whom she met through a counseling hotline. Ann Rule’s best-selling books have always been a “go to” for librarians when readers ask for thrilling true crime stories.
The beloved British fantasy author, Terry Pratchett, most known for his satirical Discworld series, 40+ books strong. Pratchett’s devoted fans reveled in a well-crafted world filled with interesting characters and clever writing laced with humor and compassion.
Australian best-selling author, Colleen McCullough. McCullough came to fame early when her second novel, The Thorn Birds, an Outback melodrama about a priest’s struggle between church and love, sold 30 million copies worldwide. The TV mini-series based on the book starring Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Christopher Plummer won four Golden Globe awards. McCullough’s last book, Bittersweet, was a return to the genre of sweeping romantic saga.
Ruth Rendell (also known as “Barbara Vine”), the maven of contemporary British psychological suspense. Rendell was most known for her Inspector Wexford police procedurals as well as her darker titles written under the name of Barbara Vine. Elegant, complex prose characterized her novels. The Girl Next Door, Rendell’s last novel, is a stand-alone mystery encompassing friendship, love and aging.
Henning Mankell’s popularity rose with the US invasion of Scandinavian mysteries in the last decade. A reviewer for the Library Journal thought Mankell’s series lead, the troubled Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander, was reminiscent of Rendell’s Inspector Wexford in his “low-key, thoughtful performance.” Mankell’s well-crafted mysteries where modern Sweden and it’s social consciousness becomes a secondary character has opened borders for readers in the U.S.
E.L. Doctorow has been called one of America’s greatest writers. His writing style has taken many different forms, but all his varied works are all intellectual, eloquent and richly detailed. Doctorow is most known for his historical novels of the “American Experience” such as, The March, Ragtime and Billy Bathgate, all of which seamlessly depict real historical figures with fictional protagonists.
Beloved children’s book author and illustrator, Marcia Brown. Brown won 3 Caldecott Awards, the highest honor in children’s literature, during her long career. Her beautiful renditions of notable tales, Cinderella, Stone Soup, and Once a Mouse, delighted many children over the years.
Ivan Doig, considered by many as one of the best storytellers of the West, is known for his thoughtful and deeply respectful books set in his native state of Montana. Doig’s fiction is lyrical, family-focused, has a strong sense of place (Western Montana) and is a tribute to his forbears in the West. The Whistling Season is one of his better known books. Before he passed away, Doig left us with one last treasure, Last Bus to Wisdom, a poignant coming-of-age novel.
And let us not forget the Pulitzer Prize-winning poets, C.K. Williams, Philip Levine and Franz Wright. Williams, Levine and Wright brought imagery to life and helped us celebrate the power of the word through the unique voice of poetry.
You will be deeply missed by librarians and readers alike.