Bookish News

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.

Harper Lee (1926-2016)

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Harper Lee has died at age 89.

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, died this morning, February 19th. She was born in Alabama in 1926 and lived in New York in her adulthood. She was lifelong friends with author Truman Capote. Her father was a lawyer, and is often said to be the inspiration for the character Atticus Finch. After the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960, Lee returned to Alabama and mostly kept to herself. Her book, Go Set a Watchman, was published with some controversy in 2015. She died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama; she was 89 years old.

Happy Birthday to John Grisham!

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Happy birthday to John Grisham, who is 61 today!

Author John Grisham began his career as an attorney and a politician in Mississippi. He now writes full time and is best known for his legal thrillers, including The Firm and the Theodore Boone children's book series. Several of his novels have been adapted to film.

Happy Birthday to Lewis Carroll!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Happy birthday to Lewis Carroll, who was born on this day in 1832!

Today celebrates the 184th birthday of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Born Charles Dodgson, he is known for his use of word play and logic in his literature. He was also a photographer and had an interest in mathematics. He died of pneumonia in 1898.

Go Set A Watchman - An Opinion Piece

To Fans of "To Kill A Mockingbird"

We at Brilliant Books want to be sure that our customers are aware that “Go Set A Watchman” is not a sequel or prequel to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird'. Neither is it a new book.  It is a first draft that was originally, and rightfully, rejected. The book, and some of the characters therein, are very much a product of this era in the South.

We suggest you view this work as an academic insight rather than as a nice summer novel. This situation is comparable to James Joyce's stunning work 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man', and his original draft 'Stephen Hero'. 'Hero' was initially rejected, and Joyce reworked it into the classic 'Portrait'. 'Hero' was eventually released as an academic piece for scholars and fans—not as a new 'Joyce novel'. We would have been delighted to see “Go Set A Watchman” receive a similar fate.

It is disappointing and frankly shameful to see our noble industry parade and celebrate this as “Harper Lee’s New Novel”.  This is pure exploitation of both literary fans and a beloved American classic (which we hope has not been irrevocably tainted.) We therefore encourage you to view “Go Set A Watchman” with intellectual curiosity and careful consideration; a rough beginning for a classic, but only that.