Share In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

Sarah Jane Abbott is an assistant editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  She grew up having NANCY DREW books read to her by her father, and is now an avid reader of mystery, thriller, and horror, along with everything from literary fiction to poetry to personal essays.  She graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing.  Sarah Jane is an advocate of quasi-destructive book love—her best-loved volumes are highlighted, scribbled in, dog-eared, and wavy from being dropped in the bath tub.  

As the year draws to a close, we remember the literary luminaries we lost in 2017.  They created enduring characters, wrote perennial bestsellers, won the most prestigious awards in their genres, and inspired their peers.  We’re going to honor them in the best way we can: by reading and recommending their enduring works.


Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s moving essay "You May Want to Marry My Husband" struck a chord with countless readers when it was published 10 days before her death. She is the beloved author of many adult and children’s books. In this encyclopedia-format memoir, Rosenthal captures in wonderful and episodic detail the moments, observations, and emotions that comprise a contemporary life.

Read the full review of ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AN ORDINARY LIFE.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
Amy Krouse Rosenthal

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

In Praise of an Ordinary Life

By Katy Hershberger | September 13, 2017

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Hothouse
by Brian W. Aldiss
According to Neil Gaiman, this British science fiction writer’s work “has recapitulated British [science fiction], always with a ferocious intelligence, always with poetry and oddness, always with passion.” In this, one of Brian Aldiss's most famous and long-enduring novels, radiation from the dying sun has turned the Earth into a hothouse where humans struggle against sentient plants and carnivorous insects to survive.
Hothouse
Brian W. Aldiss

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
by John Ashbery
During the course of his career, John Ashbery wrote more than 20 poetry collections and received the National Humanities Medal. In 1976, he became the only writer to win the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award with this volume of poetry.
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
John Ashbery

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert Pirsig
Philosopher and writer Robert Persig’s counterculture classic novel was rejected by 121 publishers before one finally took a chance. It went on to sell 50,000 copies in the first three months and more than five million copies since. The tale of a father and son’s summer motorcycle trip across America’s northwest is a powerful and moving meditation on life’s essential questions.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert Pirsig

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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The Bridges of Madison County
by Robert James Waller
Robert James Waller famously wrote his bestselling novel, later adapted into a movie and a Broadway musical, in just 11 days. It tells the story of Robert Kincaid, a photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, a farmwife waiting for fulfillment of a girlhood dream.
The Bridges of Madison County
Robert James Waller

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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The Exorcist
by William Peter Blatty
Inspired by a true story and described by Stephen King as “the great horror novel of our time,” THE EXORCIST tells of 11-year-old Regan, who is possessed by a demon, and the efforts of two priests to save her. The novel spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and the film adaption became a phenomenon.
The Exorcist
William Peter Blatty

A desperate mother and two priests fight to free the soul of a little girl from a powerful supernatural entity of sheerest malevolence and evil. An extraordinary classic work of faith and of dark paranormal suspense that is widely considered the most terrifying novel ever written, Blatty's masterpiece of unrelenting chills was the basis for the acclaimed Academy Award-nominated motion picture directed by William Friedkin and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller and Max Von Sydow.

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

10 Frightening Recommendations from a Best-selling Horror Author

By Ania Ahlborn | January 22, 2016

13 Most Terrifying Books of All Time

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 31, 2014

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The Bright Hour
by Nina Riggs
A poet, wife, mother, and descendent of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs chronicled her battle with breast cancer in this brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving memoir about how to live—and love—every day when time is running out.
The Bright Hour
Nina Riggs

MENTIONED IN:

13 of the Most Powerful Memoirs I’ve Ever Read

By Taylor Noel | June 7, 2018

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in February

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 23, 2018

An Emotional Memoir That Will Make You Less Afraid of Dying

By Taylor Noel | February 6, 2018

Enter for a Chance to Win a Year’s Worth of Book Club Books

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 16, 2018

The 10 Best Books We Read in 2017

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 5, 2018

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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Buried Child
by Sam Shepard
The Oscar-nominated actor, known for his roles in The Right Stuff and Steel Magnolias, also won the Pulitzer Prize in drama for this play about Vince, a man who returns home to his hard-drinking grandparents’ farmhouse, to find that they seem to have no idea who he is.
Buried Child
Sam Shepard

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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A Bear Called Paddington
by Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum
Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear has been beloved by children for six decades, ever since the Brown family found him at the lost propery office at Paddington Station with a sign around his neck that said “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” and decided to adopt him. The novel has inspired many sequels as well as merchandise and film adaptations.
A Bear Called Paddington
Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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A Round-Heeled Woman
by Jane Juska
In this poignant, funny, and brave memoir, Juska recounts her experiences when, as a smart, enegertic 66-year-old divorcee, she placed an ad in The New York Review of Books seeking “a lot of sex with a man I like.” Her ad prompted 63 replies, and she spent the next year following up on them, having flings with men of all ages that would change her life.
A Round-Heeled Woman
Jane Juska

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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Little Blue Truck
by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Acclaimed children’s book author and artist Jill McElmurry illustrated more than 20 books, of which she wrote four. She’s best known for the beloved LITTLE BLUE TRUCK series, following the adventures of the titular vehicle and his farm animal friends.
Little Blue Truck
Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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My Infamous Life
by Albert "Prodigy" Johnson
Albert Johnson, better known as Prodigy of the rap duo Mobb Deep, penned this introspective memoir, an intimate look at his family background, his battles with drugs, and his struggle with sickle-cell anemia. Taking the reader behind the smoke-and-mirrors glamour of the hip-hop world, Prodigy explores the intoxicating power of money, the meaning of true friendship and loyalty, and the ultimately redemptive power of self.
My Infamous Life
Albert "Prodigy" Johnson

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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Rosie's Walk
by Pat Hutchins
Pat Hutchins created more than 40 books for young readers, many of which are beloved classics. Her debut picture book, ROSIE'S WALK, garnered international acclaim. It follows Rosie, a chicken out for a walk who is unaware that a fox is following her and unwittingly leads the fox into one disaster after another, each funnier than the last.
Rosie's Walk
Pat Hutchins

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

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