In order to nurture my love of John Updike, I used to visit The Centurian — an eclectic resource for John Updike research and study — until it suffered a server crash sometime around 2009 and lost almost all its pages. James Yerkes maintained the site and also edited a book about Updike entitled John Updike and Religion: The Sense of the Sacred and the Motions of Grace. Nowadays, the go-to Updike page is no doubt The John Updike Society.
I recently purchased a used book called John Updike’s Rabbit at Rest: Appropriating History by Dilvo Ristoff, a book which at one time was apparently owned by Mr. Yerkes. The book is autographed thus: “To James Yerkes, with Best Wishes.” I don’t know why Mr. Yerkes let such a prized possession slip from his grasp, but I am happy to be the new owner of this remarkable book, one which explains John Updike’s use of topical references and how he framed his narrative around them.