Wyatt’s World: Reading To Remember Havel, Hitchens, Hoban, Simon & Wilson

The only comfort readers have when a beloved author dies is the body of work they have left behind. To honor the memory of five writers lost to the world this past week, consider spending some time reading to remember.

  • Václav Havel. The former President of the Czech Republic was an admired playwright and essayist. Open Letters: Selected Writings 1965‚ 1990 (Vintage: Random) gives a good sense of his political writings, while his play Temptation (Grove/Atlantic) illustrates the way politics infused his dramatic writings.
  • Christopher Hitchens. Arguably: Essays (Twelve: Hachette) is his newest collection, but he is perhaps best known for his writing in Vanity Fair and for his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Twelve: Hachette).
  • Russell Hoban. Riddley Walker (Indiana Univ.) is a postapocalyptic classic, but read Bedtime for Frances for a gentler goodbye (HarperFestival).
  • Joe Simon. See Joe Simon: My Life in Comics (Titan). For those who don’t know his name, Simon cocreated Captain America with Jack Kirby, and while classic Captain America collections are out of print, The Best of Simon and Kirby is a wonderful compilation (Titan) of Simon’s work.
  • Erica Wilson. Look no further than Needlepoint: Adapted from Objects in the Collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Abrams). Note, however, that most of Wilson’s books are out of print. If you still have this classic in your collection, hold on to it.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at Readers_Shelf@comcast.net


  1. Lorna Flynn says:

    The glory of our living. Hitchens and Cyprus. Havel and Temptation. Bedtime for Frances, makes me cry.