Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Prize-winning author, passed away at 89 on August 3rd in Moscow. Growing up he was one of the authors my mother pressed upon me to read. For a while, it was either Jacques Ellul or Solzhenitsyn.
"Dear, you have to read his 'Gulag Archipelago'... promise me you'll read it this week."
"Yes, mom. I will... next week."
Eventually months later I read it. This was one of the many bitter pills of childhood I was better for taking in hindsight.
TIME has a great piece on his life, "Remembering Aleksander Solzhenitsyn"