Children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, best known for his Caldecott Medal winner Where the Wild Things Are, died May 8 at age 83. The often darker themes in Sendak's books appealed to generations of children coming to terms with their fears, but also reflected Sendak's troubled heart. "I want to be alone and work until the day my head hits the drawing table and I'm dead. Kaput," he said last year. "Everything is over. Everything that I called living is over. I'm very, very much alone. I don't believe in heaven or hell or any of those things."
Actor George Lindsey, who played gas station attendant Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, died May 6 at age 83. Lindsey, a devoted fundraiser for the Alabama Special Olympics, also appeared as the beanie-wearing Goober on Mayberry R.F.D. and Hee Haw.
Television producer Bob Stewart, creator of popular game shows including The Price Is Right and To Tell the Truth, died May 4 at age 91.
The Chronicle of Higher Education fired talented journalist Naomi Schaefer Riley for pointing out in a blog post that many black studies dissertations are "left-wing victimization claptrap." Schaefer Riley, author of God on the Quad ("Mission to Blue America," March 12, 2005), was a token conservative among a predominantly non-conservative group of bloggers writing for The Chronicle's "Brainstorm: Ideas and Culture" blog. Her April 30 post critiqued black studies dissertations, concluding that "there are legitimate debates about the problems that plague the black community. ... But it's clear that they're not happening in black studies departments." Although editor Liz McMillen initially defended the post, reader criticism spurred her to fire Schaefer Riley and apologize to readers for distressing and betraying them.
An unnamed buyer purchased Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for a record $119.9 million at a Sotheby's auction on May 2. It is the highest sum ever paid for art at auction, topping the $106.5 million spent for a Picasso two years ago.
As part of her Diamond Jubilee celebration, Queen Elizabeth II is giving away 450,000 copies of the New Testament. Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society) developed the special edition, which churches and schools will help distribute through early June. Although church attendance in the U.K. is at an all-time low, Bible distributors say they hope recipients of the Bibles will be more inclined to open and read the queen's commemorative edition.