Bookish News

Happy Birthday, Zane Grey!

Tuesday, Janiuary 31st, 2017

The writer Pearl Zane Grey was born on this day in 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio. 

Grey is the author of dozens of books set in the rugged and wild west, and today is considered one of the fathers of the American Western.  As a young man, however, he didn't consider himself a writer and very nearly ended up practicing dentistry instead! 


What Happened?


Richard Adams (1920-2016)

Watership Down at Brilliant BooksWednesday, December 28th, 2016

Richard Adams, author of Watership Down and other novels, has died.

Watership Down, Adams' first and most famous novel, began as a story to his daughters: "Once there were two rabbits called Hazel and Fiver."  From there, the story went on to become an international sensation, winning several awards and securing a place on the bookshelves of young readers for generations to come.

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Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016The Princess Diarist at Brilliant Books

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, has passed away at the age of 60. 

Though her onscreen work made her famous, Fisher was also an award-winning author whose works included novels and memoirs as well as screenplays and a one-woman stage comedy.

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Amical Serves Up 20th Cookbook Dinner Series

Monday, November 7th, 2016Nopi: The Cookbook

Dining at Amical is always a delight, but if you’ve never stopped in during their Cookbook Dinner Series, you might want to clear your schedule for an evening or two this week.  

Tonight kicks off the first installment of Amical’s 20th Cookbook Dinner Series, a seven-part, international exploration of flavor.  For each week of the series, the chefs of Amical create a dinner menu based on the recipes of a different cookbook.  This year, the series leads with a taste of NOPI, the London restaurant of Yotam Ottolenghi and based on his cookbook of the same name.

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Thanks, Emily!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016Emily Mandel; Photo Credit- Dese'Rae L. Stage

Emily St. John Mandel has a special relationship with Brilliant Books.  We're huge fans of her award-winning novel Station Eleven, of course, but we actually met Emily much earlier in her career and have been delighted to share her work with readers as she continues to gain recognition. 

Now she's done the same for us in a very big way by introducing the readers of FiveThirtyEight to Brilliant Books Her latest article directs readers to our website, giving people across the country the chance to find the books she mentions at their Long Distance Local Bookstore.


Natalie Babbitt (1932-2016)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Natalie Babbitt, author of Tuck Everlasting, has died at the age of 84.

Nominated for the 1982 Hans Christian Anderson Award and earning the E. B. White Award in 2012, Natalie Babbitt was a beloved children's book author best known for Tuck Everlasting. The novel was published in 1975 and has since been loved by millions of children of all ages.

Babbitt died of lung cancer on October 31st and will be remembered and admired for her dedication to excellence in children's literature.


Anna Dewdney (1965-2016)

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Anna Dewdney, author of the Llama Llama series, has died at age 50.

Author and illustrator Anna Dewdney died on September 3rd after a battle with cancer. Her bestselling children's book series featuring Llama Llama has sold nearly 10 million copies.

"The entire Penguin Young Readers family is heartbroken," said Jen Loja, president. "And as we grieve, we also celebrate Anna's life, in dedicating ourselves to carrying forward her mission of putting books into as many little hands as possible. We will miss her so, but consider ourselves so lucky to be her publishing family and her partner in her legacy."

In lieu of a funeral, Anna Dewdney asked that people read to a child.


Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

Tuesday, July 5th

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has passed away at age 87.

Born in Romania in 1928, Elie Wiesel's family were highly respected in the Jewish community. He was 15 when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz, though he was later transferred to Buchenwald. Luckily, he survived the war, and was reunited with his two remaining sisters at an orphanage in France.

Wiesel wrote over 40 books, served on the US Holocaust Memorial Council, and spearheaded the construction of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

Elie Wiesel made activism the focus of his life, writing and speaking about the prevention of violence, which earned him countless awards and honorary degrees. He died on July 2nd in his home at the age of 87.


Jim Harrison (1937-2016)

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Author Jim Harrison has died at age 78.

Jim Harrison was born in Grayling, Michigan, in 1937. He received a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in English from Michigan State University and soon began writing full time. Over the course of his career, he wrote dozens of books of poetry, novellas, novels, essays, and short stories. He is best known for his work about nature and rural life. Many of his stories take place in the outdoors of Michigan, Arizona, and Montana, all of which he lived in for several years. His wife of more than 50 years died in 2015, and he died on March 26, 2016, at the age of 78.


Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Author Umberto Eco has died at age 84.

Italian novelist and literary critic Umberto Eco died yesterday, February 19th; he was 84. Eco was born in northern Italy in 1932 and received a Roman Catholic education, both as a child and in college, though he later left the church. His studies in literature and philosophy led him to become a university professor and an esteemed critic. From 2008-2016, he lectured at the University of Bologna, which is the oldest university still open in the world. Eco received several honorary doctorates for his work in linguistics and semiotics. He is best known for his books on the philosophy of language and his novels, including The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. His book Numero Zero was published in 2015.