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Archives - Weekly Update

What a great week of reading. I kicked it back a notch and lined up some books for the long weekend, and I was happy to do so. I finished the last of nine books for interviews at the Tucson Festival of Books, meaning the equivalent of “book homework” was done. I also finished THE END OF LONELINESS written by Benedict Wells and translated by Charlotte Collins, which is one of those slim novels that you might overlook, but it has such strong storytelling and characters that it will stay with you. It’s a sibling story, a love story, and a story that bobs and weaves so very well. I am going to make it a Bets On selection, though my copy for this will have to be forthcoming in about two weeks given my schedule.

We had a big birthday in our office this week. Our brilliant Editorial Director, Tom Donadio, turned 40! He has been with us since he was 23, and to me he is ageless. If you, like all of us at TBRN, would like to wish him a great milestone birthday, drop him a note. We celebrated with pizza and Entenmann’s cake, two of Tom's favorites. He pays attention to EVERY detail of EVERY site --- and he does it with total grace and calm. He is a real treasure.

Last week, I shared a piece about Murray Bruce, one of my original partners in The Book Report, who was gravely ill. Thank you to all of you who read it; it was one of the most-read pieces in that week’s newsletter. Sadly Murray passed away on Sunday, just as the sun was setting over Tortola where he had opted to spend his final days. Murray made some of the biggest commercials in the ‘70s and ‘80s, including that famous one of OJ running through the airport for Hertz. I saw it as fitting that he exited this world before the Super Bowl, the event that has some of the most noteworthy commercials of the year. He will be missed so much.

Back in 1996, when we started The Book Report Network --- well, actually it was not a network then, it was just one website --- I had two business partners. In recent years, you may be familiar with Jesse Kornbluth, as he has contributed a number of reviews to the site. The other was Murray Bruce, who actually was the one who introduced me to Jesse, in my former life when I was at Conde Nast. We made a couple of documentaries together, all made a lot smarter due to Murray’s talent for seeing a big picture, literally.

This week, we got the very sad news that Murray is dying from cancer, which was just diagnosed in November. He’s made a choice about where to spend his last days --- their home in Tortola --- which his family is brilliantly honoring. Jesse wrote a lovely piece about it called "The Art of Dying," which you can read here. Murray is the kind of person who embraces life head on; this piece sums up why I love him and his wife, Gail, so much. They focus on living to make every moment count. I am sending them lots of light and love these days.