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What We’re Reading

Remembering Those We Lost in 2023

Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readDec 19, 2023

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Amadou Hampâté Bâ, a famous historian and ethnographer from Mali, is often quoted as saying: “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.”

It’s profound. But what if you’re able to save a few books out of that library by snagging some history and memorizing a line or two of their poetry before it burns? If you can manage that, you keep some small portion of that person alive. This is why, in many cultures, we routinely say the names of the deceased.

As we close out 2023, now is a good time to acknowledge those who have passed on this year. Tina Turner. Matthew Perry. Harry Belafonte. Cormac McCarthy. Raquel Welch. Norman Lear. Sinead O’Connor. Sandra Day O’Connor. Rosalynn Carter. Dick Butkus. Jimmy Buffett. And many more. Perhaps you have your own people to add to this list.

We say their names. We celebrate their life and their art.

And at Medium, you rebuild their libraries by telling their stories.

There are many more memories linked below. Take your time with them. And, if you have a story of a recently-deceased loved one, I encourage you to share it in the comments and to create your own Medium list of 2023 folks to remember.

May all their memories be a blessing.

Adrienne Gibbs, Director of Content at Medium

What We’re Reading

Tina Turner: Power, Rebellion, Defiance, Sexuality, and Resilience All Rolled Into One
Published by Elwood Watson, Ph.D. in Our Human Family

She was simply the best

Celebrating the Life of Clarence Avant
Written by 'Tosin Adeoti

He mentored icons such as Quincy Jones, Jay-Z, Jim Brown, Pharrell Willians, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah and Jamie Foxx — plus he advised several U.S. presidents

Suzanne Somers’ Fight for Equal Pay
Published in Heroes of History by Edward Anderson

She asked for pay parity, then she got a pink slip

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Burt Bacharach: His Best Songs Live On
Published in Leadership Culture by Joseph Serwach

His songs are immortal — but the mere mention of his name is the best Austin Powers line ever

Jimmy Buffet’s Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself*
Published by David J. Elrod

When the People You Grew Up With Start Disappearing, It’s a Little Unsettling

Today’s Final Word goes to Gavin Paul, an English professor who writes of the American novelist Cormac McCarthy.

“[Cormac] McCarthy has taught me that the value you carry in your heart is authentic and it truly matters, even if you and everything you love will eventually fade to dust, then memory, then absolute oblivion. Nothing lasts, but feeling connected to the world, belonging to it, lies at the very heart of what it means to be fully human.”

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Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning Writer. Editor. Mother. Featured on Beyoncé's year in review film.