John Updike's longtime publisher Random House (via the Knopf imprint), is reporting that the author died of lung cancer this morning at the age of 76. Updike is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and two-time National Book Award winner, who was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1932 and spent much of his youth in rural communities and small towns before attending Harvard, from which he graduated in 1954. Updike moved to Oxford, England after graduation to become a graphic artist, but returned a few years later, and became a regular contributor of short stories and "Talk Of The Town" pieces to The New Yorker. By the end of the decade, Updike and his wife had moved to suburban Massachusetts, where Updike began building a reputation as the era's foremost chronicler of upper middle class ennui, primarily in a series of novels about restless suburbanite Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. While Updike maintained a steady pace as a novelist, covering a variety of subjects—including feminist mysticism in The Witches Of Eastwick and its recent sequel The Widows Of Eastwick, and religious fanaticism in 2006's Terrorist—he also continued to turn out essays, poems, cartoons and book reviews, often directly engaging and challenging his literary peers. In addition to the Rabbit novels, the best places to start reading Updike are his short story collections (such as the expansive The Early Stories: 1953-1975) and ephemera collections (such as 2007's Due Considerations). The links above lead to A.V. Club reviews of those books, and further thoughts on Updike's place in the 20th century literary canon.

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