I learned that a friend of mine, Faith, died this week. She was abroad, so the last time I saw her she was healthy and full of plans for things she wanted to see, places she wanted to visit, and plans for her family. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the Spring, and despite a valiant battle, passed away almost seven months later. Too soon. Faith was an intellectual, with a keen understanding of the world and an ear for the rhythms of popular culture. She was a brilliant linguist who knew French and Russian and who knows what else. She could take on a discussion of Jane Austen or J.K. Rowlings with the same measure of seriousness and analytic acumen. Faith was the one who introduced our book club to “The Hunger Games” when it first appeared, because she had a sense of these things, and recommended it as a good story with a lot of potential. She wasn’t an elitist or stuffy in her reading–she could take on the heavy lifting as well as the “commercial fiction” with the same measure of enthusiasm. Throughout this blog, Faith made comments about the posts with insight and a sense of humor. I miss her comments. I’ll so miss her at our meetings. This Christmas, like every holiday season, we meet for a holiday high tea, we exchange gifts (books of course!) and review the previous year. We’ll set a cup for Faith, who will be with us there in spirit.