November 2016

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In a category that can only be termed “random news,” John Updike and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke are both featured on the cover of an Iranian sex manual titled Marital and Sexual Problems in Men. Though the story is recent, based on a Tehran tweeter, the book itself was spotted three years ago by journalist Sobhan Hassanvand. Updike would no doubt be amused, not only by the cover but by what passes for “news” on the Internet. Updike’s pose seems to be from a promo shot from his collection of short stories, Trust Me. Here’s the story link.


houlonAt the third John Updike Society conference in Reading, Pa., Jon Houlon entertained registrants with a song he wrote, “Talkin’ Rabbit (Harry Angstrom’s Blues),” and at the recent conference in Columbia, S.C., he debuted an expanded video version. Now it’s online, and those who missed it can hear his take on the Rabbit novels.

A word of caution:  like the Rabbit novels themselves, this video contains rough language and graphic sexual references.

Here’s the video.

randenIt is with great sadness that we report the death of member Larry C. Randen, 75, of Rosemount, Minn. Larry, who died Nov. 4, 2016 from heart disease, was well known in Updike studies, not only for the papers he’s published, but for the years he spent as an assistant editor for The Centaurian, helping editor Jim Yerkes identify publication-worthy items. When The Centaurian ceased publication, he offered his services to The John Updike Society, and with David Lull had been finding newsworthy items for the society webpage since the very beginning.

Larry further demonstrated his dedication to Updike studies by donating his papers to The John Updike Collections of the Alvernia University Archives and Special Collections, assembled by The John Updike Society to further Updike scholarship in the city that meant so much to the author. The Larry C. Randen Collection contains items collected by Larry, including clippings of news reviews, interviews, and other items related to John Updike. While the rest of us were naively thinking that once something was posted online it would always be there, Larry had the foresight to make hard copies of the things that were published in The Centaurian and on the society website, so that even if the server crashes or data is lost (as it was in the case of The Centaurian) those articles are preserved.

Larry was a tremendous asset to the society and a tireless contributor to Updike scholarship. He will be sorely missed, and the society offers condolences to his wife, Lollie; children Christopher and Heidi; Lollie’s children Brian, Amber, and Amanda; sisters Jill and Susan; brother William; AFS Brother Hans; and his grandchildren. We want you all to know how important Larry was to this society and that the work he did lives on, for which we are grateful. Here is the full obituary: larry-c-randen

A Celebration of his Life will be held Tuesday, Nov. 29, between 2-4 p.m. at the Cremation Society of Minnesota, 7110 France Ave. S., Edina, Minn. For more information, call (952) 924-4100.

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