October 18, 2012

Blog: Vicki Batman-Why Can't We Go on Forever?

Discovering An Author, then... 

Many years ago, I'd browsed my local Half Price Books and picked up a book to read: Maeve Binchy's Light a Penny Candle.

I'd seen the movie, Circle of Friends, with Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver, and loved it. But HPB didn't have a copy of that one for sale. Instead, I picked up Light a Penny Candle, read the back cover blurb, and said, yeah, I could read this. The book was pretty hefty, too, but not intimidated. Since I'd devoured Gone With the Wind several times, I knew I could whiz through this one.

I went to a conference with Handsome and hadn't had much opportunity to read. When time to leave, we were standing outside of the resort's entryway, waiting for the airport shuttle. I had the tome cradled in my arm. A woman--obviously, a book lover--leaned over and said, "You'll love this book. It's a three hankie one."

Three hankie? Oh, dear. Was it too girly and weepy?

On the plane, I began the book and quickly, became engrossed. I found it to be thoroughly engaging. I totally immersed myself in the characters' lives, and when over, did need a tissue. That's rare.


Maeve Binchy
Ms. Binchy passed away recently at age 72. Most of her books are mainly based on small towns in Ireland and London. She wrote sixteen novels and short stories. Light a Penny Candle was published in 1982 and became a bestseller. A Week in Winter will be published this year. From Mail Online, I found she sold 40 million books and loved champagne. (Me, too!)

Goodbye, Ms. Binchy. And thanks for a lot of great reads.


Have you read an author who passed and really miss reading their work? Who would it be?



Vicki Batman is cradling a newly popped diet Coke and studying her latest work in progress, a holiday story, with no title. Find her at: http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com or at: http://vickibatman.blogspot.com . Coming on December 5 from MuseItUp Publishing is "Twinkle Lights," http://museituppublishing.com

37 comments:

Phyllis said...

I think I am fortunate to not have that experience yet.

Although, I've thought about my own legacy and how I would leave it. Who would take on one my partial manuscripts or story ideas and run with them, intertwining their spin to the story. I actually have a granddaughter who is interested in writing.

Sobering thought indeed.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Phyllis. I was hit really hard when Dick Francis passed. He was my fav and I always wished I could write like he did.

Ms. Binchy was a terrific writer and I shall miss her work, although I understand she has one coming soon.

chris k said...

For me the only challenge has been when a loved author stops producing at the same speed as their early years and only pops out the occasional book - sigh.

but I lived through the loss of a favorite author with my husband - he was an acid louis lamour reader - it made gift giving so easy! And then it happened to him again with the bourne series. When Ludlum passed on and the family allowed someone else to carry on the writing - my husband was livid because the 'new' author didn't get it - there was no replacing ludlum for my hubby.

I know some day my time too will come- sigh -

chris k said...

I'm sorry - can anyone say - AVID - LOL

this is why I should refrain from participating in life before lunchtime!! LOL

Pamela Stone said...

Oh Chris. Acid could work too. We forgive you. It's early.

Kathleen Woodiwiss was the very first author that I followed. Actually went to the store to find her books.

Liese said...

When an author we love passes, it's like losing a friend because we feel we know them through their writing. The good news is that now their backlists may be available and we can discover books we never found before.

Barb Han said...

I was incredibly sad when I learned Stephen J. Cannell passed away. He was my inspiration for so many things in life, including writing. His dedication to his work was unmatched. I miss his presence in this life terribly.

Harlie Reader said...

I loved Ms. Binchy. Watching A Circle of Friends, I knew I had to read the book. I was hooked and devoured everything she wrote.

She is missed.

Great post Vicki...

Marika

Patricia said...

Thank you for this lovely post about Maeve Binchy. I used to read her books and then stopped and don't know why. Your post is a wonderful reminder for me to start again. RIP, Maeve.
Patti

Sasha Summers said...

I'm like Phyllis - not yet. But I can appreciate the loss of someone who gave so much to so many. Treasure those books and share them, it keeps them alive.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Chris: We know what we get from specific authors and their stories. And like an addiction, we keep coming back for that satisfaction. And then become ultimate fans.

I read a Louis L'Amour long ago, but not a western and it was incredibly thrilling.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Pam! I, too, devoured Kathleen. That's a good one. Thanks for sharing.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Liese! Absolutely, backlists become a more important source for any author nowadays.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Barb: You picked a very prolific author in him. All the tv shows, movies, and books--exhausting even to number. Good choice.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Thanks, Harlie! We like having you visit us at the PP.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Patti: Yep, ready to revisit some good ones, too. She has a new one coming and I bet it will be very popular.

Hi, Sasha: I guess my favs go all the way back to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I devoured those books.

Barb Han said...

I love Nancy Drew, too!! One of my great pleasures in life has been turning my 7 y.o. daughter onto those books. So happy that she treasures them as much as I do.

Kathy Bennett said...

I miss Stephen J. Cannell as well, Barb. I enjoyed his books very much.

I don't think I've 'lost an author,' other than SJC.

Thought provoking post, Vicki.

RobinHaseltine said...

Really nice column - haven't ready any of Maeve, but I will now! Most of the SF/F authors I've read are gone and it's sad to know there won't be more of their books, but it's nice to pick the old books up and reread them.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Sylvia said...

I loved Nancy Drew and I also loved Kathleen Woodweiss. She was my all time favorite author. I know these ladies are up in heaven keeping everyone entertained, writing the books they love. Yeah, I have a warped sense of heaven.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Thank you, Kathy and thanks for visiting the PP. I suspect we've lost authors and didn't realize it.

Hi, Robin! If you like more women's fiction, you'll like MB's stories. I'm so glad you came by.

caseyclifford said...

Vicki,

My friends and I still mourn Ms. Binchy's loss. Fortunately, her work is worth reading more than once.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Casey: Thank you so much for commenting today and I mourn with you. You are absolutely right--we can read her work again and again. Now, *sets finger to jaw*, which one?

Marian Lanouette said...

It's wonderful when you find an author that engages you. There's nothing better then getting lost in a book in my opinion. I'm looking up the story now to read. Thanks for recommending it.

Cara Marsi said...

I'm sorry about Maeve Binchy. I've never read her books but I've heard they're wonderful. My favorite author who passed is Tony Hillerman, who wrote the most evocative mysteries set on the Navajo reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. I loved his two main characters, Lt. Joe Leaphore and Officer Jim Chee, of the Navajo Tribal police. I so miss new stories by Mr. Hillerman.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Marian! I think her most famous is Tara Road, an Oprah pick-- ? can't remember. I do remember being shocked Oprah picked it because she traditionally picked more tortured and wacky characters. I hope you can read one of hers and do let me know what you think.

Sheila Seabrook said...

I'm sorry about Maeve Binchy. I've never read any of her books but I've heard her name so many times over the years. It is sad when a favorite author passes on. Who will replace them? Can anyone replace them? At least their books will live forever in our hearts, Vicki?

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Sheila! Sending big hugs your way. Who will replace MB is a good question? I'm not quite like her. Too funny, too American, not Irish! Maybe you can???

Mary Metcalfe said...

I currently have two guest authors for my blog who have broken cover that they are battling cancers with low/no survival rates. As a cancer survivor myself (6 years) it really brings home the notion of living every day as if it's your last. I don't sweat the small stuff, let me tell you.

My writing was once compared to Maeve Binchy. I felt so honored and still do. Her books were magical.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Dorothy Gilman comes to mind. I loved her Mrs. Pollifax series. I read a book in my book club recently and wanted to read more in the series. Looked up reviews on Amazon and discovered the author died and left things in a lurch with the last book. Do I want to read or not? Haven't decided. The death though that really freaked me out, for a variety of reasons, was Steig Larsson. I really want more of that series!!!

Liz Lipperman said...

Larson's death was also a sad day for me. There are several authors who I loved that just quit writing for whatever reason. I need to Google them to see if I can find out why. One is Elizabeth Gage who wrote A Glimpse of Stocking. Oh my! If you haven't read this one, you should. Another is Shirley Conran who wrote Lace, one of my all-time favs. Anyone know what happened to them?

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Mary. I am sending mega hugs to your friends. Cancer hit Handsome seven years ago. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

And woohoo for being compared to MB! That's fantastic. Thank you so much for visiting the PP.

Hi, Karilyn: Oh, girl you mentioned two very good ones. I've read some Mrs. Pollifax, but not Dragon Girl, although I did see the movie and was mesmerized. Good choices!

Hi, Liz: I do know of Lace, but don't know what happened. I don't know about Elizabeth Gage. We can Google!

Karen Cote said...

Oh honey, I feel your sadness. :( That hurts. Yes, I can relate. Charlotte Lamb was a Harlequin author and I shared her books with my mama who has also passed. The news of Charlotte's death brought to mind the memory of time she gave to my mama and me and I felt a longing for those days and my mama. Thanks for sharing this with us. Big cyber-hug. Love ya.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Karen: I don't know Charlotte Lamb. I think it is wonderful you shared her with your mom. My all time fav is Dick Francis. I've reread his mysteries many a time. Hug back to you.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Cara: I checked back to see if I'd missed anyone and I can't believe I missed you! Hugs. I know of Tony Hillerman and how hugely popular he was. Another good one!

Elizabeth Essex said...

I'm late to the party, as usual. but I'm going to take a trip in the way-back machine, and go with Jane Austen. It kills me that there are only a handful of finished works, even though she was fairly prolific for her time, and that she dies so young, when she could have written many more wonderful stories.

Sigh.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Ms. Essex: You are so right about Ms. Austen. We would have greatly benefited from more of her stories. And unfortunately, death came early in her century.

I just finished for book club and interesting one--The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett who wrote The Secret Garden. Some of her works were for children, but others for adults like this one. Maybe it will intrigue you??