Sad news today: Literary giant John Updike succumbed to lung cancer this morning at the age of 76, according to a statement from his publisher. Updike was best known for his series of Rabbit novels, two of which earned him Pulitzers. We'll have an appreciation from New York book critic Sam Anderson later on this afternoon. For now, here's a favorite passage from his 1974 essay Why I Write:
"my concerns — to survive, to improve, to make my microcosms amusing to me and then to others, to fail, if fail I must, through neither artistic cowardice nor laziness, to catch all the typographical errors in my proofs, to see that my books appear in jackets both striking and fairly representative of the contents, to arrange words and spaces and imagined realities in patterns never exactly achieved before, to be able to defend any sentence I publish."
John Updike, prize-winning writer, dead at age 76 [AP]