We were saddened to learn over the weekend that Jeffrey Zaslow—author of The Girls from Ames, The Magic Room (our January 2012 Top Pick in Nonfiction) and many other books—died in a Friday car accident in Michigan. He was 53.

Zaslow was best known for his book The Last Lecture, which he co-wrote with Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. The book is based on Pausch's inspiring "Last Lecture," titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." (Watch it here on YouTube. ) The book has sold more than 5 million copies in the United States, and Pausch's YouTube speech has more than 14 million views.

The Magic Room told the story of Becker's Bridal, a bridal shop that's been open in Fowler, Michigan, since 1934. The book is about both the customers at the store and the women who built it. The author also wrote for the Wall Street Journal, which described him as a "best-selling author with a rare gift for writing about love, loss, and other life passages with humor and empathy." To that description, we'll add that Zaslow's latest book captures the joy, hope, love and magic in the hearts of his subjects.

You can watch a tribute to Zaslow's life on Detroit's Fox 2, where Zaslow's wife is an anchor, or read a touching anecdote from a New York Times reporter who worked with Zaslow at the WSJ.

If you haven't yet discovered this author's inspiring books, we encourage you to check them out now. You can find a full listing of his publications on his website.

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