The Vanishing Word

Vanishing Word bookshelf

One of my favorite authors Alice Munro, was 92 years old, and died on May 13, 2024 in Port Hope, Ontario.

I’ve collected her works of short stories and novels bounded together under such titles as The Progress of Love, Runaway Stories, Open Secret Stories, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You, Away from Her. Alice Munro wrote unexpected plots with unapologetic people, whose flawless dialog was realistic and shocking. She pitted a character’s frame of mind into unwavering life challenges; Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her style, compared to Earnest Hemming’s, wrote a character’s thoughts with precise, sparse, and un-frilled clarity. Alice’s storytelling was like ice water poured over a naked body. Another comparison was to author John Updike, both wrote about social complexities and sexual relationships as backdrops. Also, as with author Flannery O’Connor, Alice’s vivid creation of eccentric, independent individuals filled the imagination. Alice was either loved for her graphic portrayals, or disliked for the quickness in moving her characters from one place to another, without allowing the reader to settle too comfortably in each scene. One of her books should be on a must-read list!

Vanishing Word library

Another recent news feature that caught my attention was about Lauren Groff, a bestselling novelist and three-time National Book Award finalist. She opened a 2,300 square foot bookstore in Gainesville, Florida. More than 3,000 people showed up throughout the first day for a series of author readings, folk music, live poetry composition and, of course, book buying. The numbers haven’t swayed, as the store’s title WATCH US BITE BACK, required no explanation. More than 5,100 books were banned in Florida schools from July 2021 through December 2023 — the highest number in the country, according to PEN America.  Lauren’s pride, as walk into the bookstore, displayed frequently challenged books across the United States, among them The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Tricks by Ellen Hopkins and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Flamer by Mike Curato. With its focus, WATCH US BITE BACK hopes to help Gainesville more of a literary destination — a hub for author readings, book club gatherings and workshops.

Words won’t vanish when there’s a willingness to read, listen, and learn.

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