I heard earlier this afternoon that the great writer John Updike has died. Updike is probably best well-known for his Rabbit series of books, which is a wonderful series of four books that follows former high school basketball star Harry Angstrom from his days as a young man trying to make it as a door to door salesman, all the way through to his death, some 30 years later.
The series offers a fascinating look into American history over the four decades. The first book, Rabbit Run was published in 1960, and the final one, Rabbit at Rest, in 1990. Updike does a great job capturing the values and culture of each decade. The first book is marked by a wild idealism, which characterized the 60s', the second book captures that giant hangover that was the 70s. The third book gets the extravegance the was the '80s, and the fourth book gets the bitter conservatism that was much of the '90s. The thing is, he wrote each book at the beginning of the decade. He had a true sense of what was going on.
Of course, I can't say anything else I ever read of his was all too memorable, but, the Rabbit series rocks. If you have some serious time to waste, I recommend checking it out.