Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Tribute to Noah

Today the world is a smaller and darker place than it was yesterday. A dear friend has been taken from us much too soon. Noah Stewart was a knowledgeable, kind, funny, and generous member of our Golden Age mystery family.  I first "met" him when he stumbled across my third iteration of the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge--a bingo card version. As Noah said at the time

"Just on the morning when I was thinking, 'Oh, I really don’t post enough, I need to have some way of focusing my attention on books and getting down to reading them and writing about them,' what crossed my path? A Bingo card."

He wasn't quite sure about this whole reading challenge thing, though. After all he "had encountered these challenges before but never really considered participating; it all seemed a bit forced...." But his fondness for Golden Age detective fiction lured him in and we had some fine conversations (and sometimes friendly disagreements) about the books we each read to fulfill the challenge requirements. My challenge enthusiasm even rubbed off on him enough that he created his own version--the October 8 Reading Challenge (in honor of the birthday he shared with Jeffrey Marks). Of course, he gave it his own twist--fashioning a challenge that would stretch bloggers like me to do more involved posts...or as he put it:

"Well, I do tend to run towards the L-O-N-G form essay, and you pack quite a bit into pieces that are easier to read and enjoy. Perhaps I’m just trying to steer people towards my own verbosity. But I hope you have fun with it!"

Noah's steering was actually good for me. It encouraged me to look at the mysteries I was reading in a different light, seeing how various books connected with one another in ways I hadn't thought of before. So, thank you Noah for pushing me to explore out of my comfort zone.

Noah was incredibly knowledgeable about the field--both about the mysteries and their authors as well as about the various editions. I always learned something new and interesting when I visited his blog or received a visit from him at mine. And, as Brad at Ah Sweet Mystery Blog and others in our Facebook GAD group have mentioned, his posts about book covers were legendary. I particularly appreciated those which featured the Dell Mapbacks and other pocket-size editions. Noah, being the thoughtful and generous man that he was, remembered my love of those editions and when he drew my name in one of our GAD Secret Santa exchanges he made sure my gift included two near-perfect editions of Mapback mysteries. He also had paid attention to my interests outside of the mystery field and tucked a set of Star Trek postcards into the package as a bonus. 

And, as I mentioned, he was incredibly kind. I was none too sure of myself when it came to blogging. (I'm still not--after many years.) So, when I was invited to contribute a guest post for a piece called "Mind Meld" in the science fiction realm I was, to say the least, a little intimidated. But when Noah read the piece, he gave it great praise--telling me that it was a great introduction to Ray Bradbury and that if I kept writing like that I'd be sure to get more requests. Even when I wrote about books on which we disagreed about the merits, he was always encouraging and found something in what I'd written to applaud. I will miss those conversations and I will miss the kindness and encouragement throughout even more. 

Like many others who only knew Noah through the internet medium, I am saddened to know that I will not have the chance to meet him in person. My heart goes out to his friends and family I hope they will find peace and comfort in the days ahead. 

Good-bye, my friend. Rest in Peace.


Brad (ahsweetmystery) said...

Amen, Bev! Well done.

Cath said...

He sounds wonderful and I feel sad that I didn't know him. I'm so sorry you have lost a friend, Bev.

TracyK said...

I am very sorry to hear that, Bev. Noah was so knowledgeable, as you say, and he and I (and you) shared a love of old paperback editions.

LB said...

Well said, Bev. Noah truly will be missed.

LuAnn @ BackPorchervations said...

Oh Bev, my heartfelt condolences. The love of a good book seems to steer us to other, like-minded people, and friendships are formed with people both near and far. *HUGS*

neer said...

so sad to hear this. His posts were so enjoyable. May he rest in peace.

Christophe said...

Thanks for sharing these memories. The GAD community will miss Noah's kindness, knowledge, and wit.