Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Literary losses

Two of my favorite (and disparate) authors died this week - Maeve Binchy and Gore Vidal.

Binchy was always very self-deprecating - she sold more than 40 million books, but said she was "lucky to be living in the age of the mass-market paperback" because she knew readers used her books for escapism. Having Irish roots, I devoured her detailed descriptions about life in Dublin and other parts of Ireland, where I would love to go one day.

Is reading for escape a bad thing? Binchy was a private person, but from the glimpses that the outsider could see, she'd had her share of trying times and disappointments, but she remained cheerful and charitable until the end. Her books tended to have happy endings. And what is wrong with that? Writing can be an equal escape, I'd argue.

She said the best advice she had ever heard came from a British TV series: "Get over yourself."

On the other end of the spectrum, Gore Vidal - champion of individual and civil rights, intellectual giant, huge gossip (so we knew he was human.) Critic of the status quo and adamant that a patriot's duty was to participate in and hold their government accountable. But humorous all the same.

I know my own world was enriched by these two people I had never met, and I'd thank them if I could.




12 comments:

Claire said...

I get so attached to authors. They really can, on oftentimes do, make the world a better, more wonderful place.

LL Cool Joe said...

My mother loved some of Maeve Binchy's early books. It was very sad news.

Logical Libby said...

If I didn't have books to escape into I would have lost it a long time ago. And I love my favorite authors like I do family...

G. B. Miller said...

Never read anything by the former, but I've read stuff by the latter. Thought he was a good writer, but I wasn't overly fond of his political viewpoints.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Both are great losses to the world, in their own ways.

Lynn said...

The lol cat does look kind of square...

I loved Maeve Binchy, too - can't believe she is gone.

The Elephant's Child said...

Different books for different times. And both authors have met my needs and will be missed.

Granny Annie said...

You just did "thank them" and you did so very well.

(Okay don't hate me for my sentence structure.)

Green Tea said...

I love Maeve Binchy..I love books that teach me about other countries..Right now I am reading another Lisa See Book, sequel to Shanghai Girls , Dreams of Joy..
She is my latest favorite author,,:)

Workingdan said...

There is that damn spammer again! Boycott the person boycotting American women!

So sad to lose 2 of your favorite authors....in the same week.

Scarlet said...

Maeve Binchy died?? :( I'm sorry to hear that. Loved "Evening Class" and I'm sure there were others...but that book brought my friend, Linda, the landscape artist, and I together in my very first art class here in Miami. We always talk about that book.

Let me know which other MB books you recomment.

A Beer for the Shower said...

Reading is absolutely an escape. For me, writing is even more of an escape.

It's sad to see them go, but they lived rich, full lives, and I'm happy to know that I picked a career in which I can write up to my very last day.