People, Etc.

Novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, 90, "who is said to have sparked a love of literature in her stepson Martin Amis," has died at home following a short illness. Martin, son of her third husband Kingsley Amis, called her "the most interesting woman writer of her generation."

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, age 70, "accidentally fell at his home in Washington State Wednesday evening and fractured his first vertebrae." His book DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War publishes January 14, and "he will be promoting [it] wearing a neck brace."

Byliner editor at larger Will Blythe "was fired the other day.... I was informed that our “burn rate” was too high, that we needed to show investors that we were serious about reducing it." He writes in the NYT about refusing to sign a nondisparagement agreement in exchange for two weeks severance.

In bookstore news, Other Tiger Bookstore in Westerly, RI will close at the end of January if they do not find a buyer. Also, Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop in La Vergne, CA announced they will close their retail business this January.