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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Passings of 2015

            At the close of 2015, we remember some of those individuals from the world of books. Prolific, popular, either of a mainstream or literary bent; let’s review their accomplishments.
            Jackie Collins was a romance novelist who focused on the loves, marriages, and divorces of Hollywood’s finest. And she knew her subject; she had relatives and friends in the industry. Born in London in 1937, she relocated to Los Angeles in the 1960s. Her thirty-two novels all appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Her books include: Lady Boss; Hollywood Wives; and The Santangelos.
            E.L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow, born in New York in 1931, was a critically acclaimed author who wrote historical fiction, often featuring actual historic individuals. He wrote twelve novels, among them Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, World’s Fair, and The March; he also wrote short stories and drama. Before beginning his writing career, Doctorow was an editor. He also taught writing courses at several colleges.
            Although Leonard Nimoy was a television and film actor by trade (Star Trek, Mission Impossible, In Search Of . . .), he also was a writer. His two autobiographies are I am Not Spock and I am Spock. Nimoy was born in 1931 in Boston. He also directed films and had a lifetime interest in photography.
            Terry Pratchett was a writer of fantasy novels, with a humorous bent; he was born in 1948 and lived in England for his entire life. He is most famous for his Discworld series, which began in 1983 and also influenced television programs, video games, and board games. Pratchett also wrote children’s books.  
            Ruth Rendell was a writer of thrillers and psychological murder mysteries. She was born in England in 1930 and began a writing career first as a news writer and then as a novelist. Her most famous series features the character Inspector Wexford; she also wrote several standalone novels under her name and that of her pen name Barbara Vine. Rendell won many awards and was appointed a life peer of the Order of the British Empire.
            Ann Rule was a prolific writer of true crime non-fiction. Born in Michigan in 1931, she received an associate’s degree and then worked in law enforcement for awhile. She wrote articles for True Detective magazine under a nom de plume; then she wrote her first book The Stranger Beside Me, based on her real-life encounter with murderer Ted Bundy. Other true crime books followed; many based in her home region of the Pacific Northwest.
            Oliver Sacks was a neurologist, naturalist and writer; he was born in London in 1933. Completing school in England, Sacks continued his professional career in the United States. His lifelong interest in case studies of people with neurological disorders also led to a successful career as a writer, beginning with The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and other Clinical Tales and other bestselling non-fiction. Recent biographical works include On the Move: a Life and Gratitude.

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