Terry Pratchett

I'm saddened by the news that author Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with an early stage of Alzheimer's disease.  If you've never read his Discworld series, they're quite funny, a very British skewering of modern society set in the typical fantasy setting of wizards and trolls.  He also uses excessive and hilarious footnotes.  Hopefully he'll have time for many more books before his symptoms worsen, as he's obviously still got his sense of humor:

"I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think.

"I know it's a very human thing to say 'Is there anything I can do?' but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry."

If you're looking for a great gift for an avid reader in your family, pick them up a copy of The Color of Magic, the first in the Discworld series.  If you're intimidated by getting into reading a whole series (which isn't necessary in this case, the books are all related, and feature many of the same characters, but it's not a continuous story line, by any means) then read Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman.  It's probably my favorite book of the last few years.