Book Gifts

What bookish items do you love to give as gifts?

This would have been easier when I was younger. Atleast till my early 30s. I was the bookworm. I read a lot, mostly fiction with the off biography and I also read a lot about some history and things.

When I was younger, while my cousins and uncle watched cricket matches, I could be found lying in a corner or sitting in a sofa with a book in my hands. As a youngster I loved comics and could spends hours with a bunch of them. As I turned 14-15 I turned to novels and read a lot each months. I liked to read as much as I could. People found it easy to give me gifts; they just needed to get me some books.

If I would gift someone now, I’d try to find their interests and get books based on them. Biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. If they like a particular field of interest or sports then I would find books on that. Someone likes horror – Stephen King’s novels. Etc etc. Get a few books and have them gift wrapped and give them as a gift for a housewarming, anniversary, promotion or birthday. Even some coffee table books are good gifts.

Prompt from 52 DISCUSSION POST PROMPTS FOR YOUR BOOK BLOG IN 2018

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is a 2014 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and with a screenplay by Gillian Flynn based on her 2012 novel of the same title. The film stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry. Set in Missouri, the story begins as a mystery that follows the events surrounding Nick Dunne (Affleck), who becomes the prime suspect in the sudden disappearance of his wife Amy (Pike).

On their fifth wedding anniversary, writing teacher Nick Dunne returns home to find his wife Amy missing. Her disappearance receives press coverage, as Amy was the inspiration for her parents’ popular Amazing Amy children’s books. Detective Rhonda Boney finds poorly concealed evidence of a struggle in the house. Suspicion mounts around Nick, whose apathy is interpreted by the media as characteristic of a sociopath and even sows doubt in his twin sister Margo. Flashbacks reveal how Amy and Nick first met. Amy later revealed to Nick that Amazing Amy was a perfected version made up of the real Amy’s failures. Their marriage disintegrated over time; both lost their jobs in the recession and moved from New York City to Nick’s hometown of North Carthage, Missouri. Nick became lazy and distant, and began cheating on Amy with Andie, one of his students, while Amy became increasingly resentful towards Nick for making her move with him to Missouri, having loved her life in New York City.

Forensic analysis of the house uncovers cleaned bloodstains, indicating a probable murder. Boney unearths evidence of financial troubles, domestic disputes, and Amy’s recent willingness to purchase a gun. Medical reports indicate that Amy is pregnant, which Nick denies knowing. Amy and Nick had played treasure hunt games on every wedding anniversary; this year’s clues include profligate items purchased with Nick’s card, as well as a diary highlighting Amy’s growing isolation and ending with the fear that Nick will kill her. Amy is revealed to be alive and well, having gone into hiding in a campground in the Ozarks. Upon discovering Nick’s affair, she concocted an elaborate plan to punish him by framing him for her murder and making his motive appear to be monetary in nature. She fabricated a long-standing diary that was accurate in its early entries but later evolved into false accounts of spousal violence and her increasing fear of Nick. She befriended a pregnant neighbor, told her fake stories about Nick’s temper, and stole her urine to fake pregnancy results, all while hiding the friendship from Nick.

She planted corroborating evidence of Nick’s guilt in the clue spots for the “treasure hunt” for the police to find. She also splattered her own blood across the kitchen, and cleaned it haphazardly. She anticipated that Nick would be convicted and executed for her murder and contemplated committing suicide after his conviction. Nick deduces Amy’s plan and convinces Margo of his innocence. He flies to New York and meets Tanner Bolt, a lawyer known for representing men accused of killing their wives. Nick also meets Amy’s ex-boyfriend Tommy O’Hara, who says that Amy had falsely accused him of rape, planting evidence around his house and forcing him to register as a sex offender to avoid jail. Nick approaches another ex-boyfriend, the wealthy Desi Collings, against whom Amy previously filed a restraining order, but Desi turns him away, refusing to share any details.

When Amy’s campground neighbors rob her of her money, she calls Desi for help, convincing him that she fled from Nick’s abuse. Desi agrees to hide her in his lake house. After Andie reveals their affair at a press conference, Nick appears on a talk show professing his innocence and apologizing for his failures as a husband, in the hope of luring Amy. The show airs shortly before the treasure hunt clues land Nick arrested for murder. However, his performance rekindles Amy’s feelings for him and modifies her plans. She uses Desi’s surveillance cameras to help make it appear that Desi kidnapped and raped her. She seduces Desi, murders him with a box cutter, and returns home covered in his blood, clearing Nick of suspicion.

When Boney probes into the holes in her story, Amy chastises her as incompetent. The FBI sides with Amy, forcing Boney to back down. Amy tells Nick the truth and admits to Desi’s murder, saying that the man she watched pleading for her return on TV is the man she wants him to become again. Nick shares this with Boney, Bolt, and Margo, but they have no evidence of her guilt. Nick intends to leave Amy, but she reveals she is pregnant, having inseminated herself with Nick’s sperm stored at a fertility clinic. Nick reacts violently to Amy’s insistence that they remain married, but feels responsible for the child. Despite Margo’s objections, he reluctantly decides to stay with Amy. The “happy” couple announces on television that they are expecting.

Fantastic acting skills and the movie is so amazing. I loved the cast, the acting and the storyline. I found myself absolutely hooked after a few minutes and this is probably one of my favourite darker themed movie. 9.5 outta 10!

What Were Your 3 Favorite Children’s Books?

I think it may have been my older sister who got these books first but as a kid I read a lot of Nancy Drew books. Nancy Drew is a fictional amateur sleuth. In the original versions of the series, she is a 16-year-old high school graduate, and in later versions, is rewritten and aged to be an 18-year-old high school graduate and detective. In the series, she lives in the fictional town of River Heights with her father, attorney Carson Drew, and their housekeeper, Hannah Gruen. As a child, she loses her mother. She is very independant & reliable enough to even run aspects of taking care of the house with the help of Hannah.

As a teenager, she spends her time solving mysteries, some of which she stumbles upon and some of which begin as cases of her father’s. Nancy is often assisted in solving mysteries by her two closest friends: cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne. Bess is delicate and feminine, while George is a tomboy. Nancy is also occasionally joined by her boyfriend Ned Nickerson, a student at Emerson College. At times I have thought that it was unfair that the series of books were called only Nancy Drew when there were her two best friends and the guys but it would have been odd. Nancy, Bess & George? Maybe. Still I think some of the stories only had her and her father at times.

The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe Hardy, are fictional characters who appear in several mystery series for children and teens. The series revolves around the teenagers who are amateur sleuths, solving cases that stumped their adult counterparts. The characters were created by American writer Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of book-packaging firm Stratemeyer Syndicate. The books themselves were written by several ghostwriters under the collective pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon.

Frank is eighteen (sixteen in earlier versions), and Joe is seventeen (fifteen in earlier versions). They live in the city of Bayport on Barmet Bay with their father, detective Fenton Hardy; their mother, Laura Hardy; and their Aunt Gertrude. The brothers attend high school in Bayport, where they are in the same grade but school is rarely mentioned in the books and never hinders their solving of mysteries.[11] In the older stories, the Boys’ mysteries are often linked to their father’s confidential cases. He sometimes requests their assistance, while at other times they stumble upon relevant villains and incidents. The Hardy Boys are sometimes assisted in solving mysteries by their friends Chet Morton, Phil Cohen, Biff Hooper, Jerry Gilroy, and Tony Prito; and, less frequently, by their platonic girlfriends Callie Shaw and Iola Morton (Chet’s sister).

The Famous Five is a series of children’s adventure novels written by English author Enid Blyton. The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children – Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) – and their dog Timmy. In some books the children go camping in the countryside, on a hike or holiday together elsewhere. However, the settings are almost always rural and enable the children to discover the simple joys of cottages, islands, the English and Welsh countryside and sea shores, as well as an outdoor life of picnics, lemonade, bicycle trips and swimming

The stories take place in the children’s school holidays after they have returned from their respective boarding schools. Each time they meet they get caught up in an adventure, often involving criminals or lost treasure. Sometimes the scene is set close to George’s family home at Kirrin Cottage in Dorset, such as the picturesque Kirrin Island, owned by George and her family in Kirrin Bay. George’s own home and various other houses the children visit or stay in are hundreds of years old and often contain secret passages or smugglers’ tunnels.

House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog is a 2003 American drama film directed by Vadim Perelman. The screenplay by Perelman and Shawn Lawrence Otto is based on the novel of the same name by Andre Dubus III. The story concerns the battle between a young woman and an immigrant Iranian family over the ownership of a house in Northern California, which ultimately leads to the destruction of four lives. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actor (Ben Kingsley), Best Supporting Actress (Shohreh Aghdashloo), and Best Original Score (James Horner).

Abandoned by her husband, recovering drug addict Kathy Nicolo, living alone in a small house near the San Francisco Bay Area, ignores eviction notices erroneously sent to her for nonpayment of business taxes. Assuming the misunderstanding was cleared up, she is surprised when Sheriff’s Deputy Lester Burdon arrives to forcibly evict her. Telling Kathy that her home is to be auctioned off, Lester feels sympathy for her, helps her move out, and advises her to seek legal assistance to regain her house. Former Imperial Iranian Army colonel Massoud Amir Behrani, who fled his homeland with his family, now lives in the Bay Area working multiple menial jobs. Living beyond his means, he maintains the façade of a respectable businessman so as not to shame his wife Nadereh, son Esmail, and daughter Soraya. He buys Kathy’s house for a quarter of its actual value, intending to improve and sell it. Kathy is evicted from the motel she is staying in. With nowhere else to go, she spends the night in her car. Seeing the renovations and how the Behranis have settled in makes her determined to get her house back and she finds an attorney who assures her that because of the county’s mistake, they will return Massoud’s money and restore the house to her.

Massoud, having already spent money on improving the house, is unwilling to accept anything less than the higher value of the property, which the county refuses to pay. Kathy tries to convince Massoud to sell back the house but he angrily refuses. Desperate for help, Kathy stalks and seduces Lester into abandoning his wife and children and becoming her protector. Lester threatens to have Massoud deported if he refuses to sell the house back to the county. Massoud reports this to police and warns Kathy to leave his family alone. Kathy calls her brother Frank for help, but cannot bring herself to admit that she is homeless. Despondent, she becomes drunk and attempts suicide in the driveway with Lester’s sidearm. Massoud finds her drunkenly unable to discharge the gun, and brings her inside. Kathy tries to kill herself again with pills, but Nadereh saves her. As she and her husband carry Kathy to the bedroom, Lester breaks in, sees Kathy unconscious, and locks the Behranis in their own bathroom, refusing to let them out until Massoud agrees to relinquish the house. Massoud offers to sell the house and will give Kathy the money in exchange for her putting the house in his name. Lester takes Massoud to the county office to finalize the transaction.

Outside the office, Lester begins to manhandle Massoud and Esmail seizes Lester’s gun and aims it at him. Massoud draws the attention of police officers who misinterpret the situation and shoot Esmail instead of Lester. Massoud is arrested but is released after Lester confesses and is incarcerated. Massoud begs God to save his son but Esmail does not survive. Believing they have nothing left to live for, Massoud kills Nadereh by lacing her tea with pills. He then dons his old military uniform, tapes a plastic dust cover over his head, and asphyxiates himself while clutching his wife’s hand. Kathy discovers the couple and frantically attempts to resuscitate Massoud but she is too late. As the bodies of Massoud and Nadereh are taken away by paramedics, a policeman asks Kathy if the house is hers. After a long pause, she concedes that it is not.

Tragic story, beautifully portrayed by the talent heavy cast. What a display of the very best acting chops. 8.5 outta 10!

What’s On Your Reading List For 2020?

I have mentioned this before, I do not read books the way I used to. From being a voracious reader during my childhood and teenage years and being a frequent reader (3-4 novels in a month) in my 20s and once I started working to even a few books a year in my early 30s. But by the time I hit 34-35 I stopped reading as much.

I prefer to get entertained via Youtube these days and I do not plan on reading much. The last time I read a bunch was in 2010 when my old desktop computer died and I had to wait 3 weeks for my salary, for which I was getting a substantial raise as well, hit and I could pay for a new laptop. During that time I read a lot of books and Reader’s Digest had these large books with shorter versions of novels or something and I read through all of them. Ofcourse I also slept a lot, went out to coffeeshops a lot and watched a lot of tv.

This upcoming 9 day vacation that I have I plan to read just one book. I will be spending a few days in a hotel room and I plan to re-read my favourite novel of all time, Stephen King’s It. I don’t think I will have time for more. But I do hope to read a few more books this year. I will try to make it 1 per month or is that too ambitious?

In the Tall Grass

In the Tall Grass is a 2019 Canadian supernatural horror drama film written and directed by Vincenzo Natali and starring Patrick Wilson, Laysla De Oliveira, Harrison Gilbertson, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr. & Rachel Wilson. It is based on Stephen King and Joe Hill’s 2012 novella of the same name. The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 20, 2019. It was later released on October 4, 2019, by Netflix.

Siblings Becky and Cal DeMuth travel to San Diego so that 6-months-pregnant Becky can give up her baby for adoption. While stopping outside an old church, the pair hears a young boy named Tobin call for help from a nearby field of tall grass. the pair enters but quickly gets separated and finds that their distance from one another changes strangely. Increasingly panicked, the pair decides to leave but are unable to locate the road. Night falls and Cal stumbles across a bruised and dirty Tobin holding a dead crow, who claims the grass won’t move dead things and buries the bird in the path. Becky encounters Tobin’s father, Ross, but they get separated in the grass. Tobin leads Cal to an ancient rock in the field and encourages him to touch it, but they are interrupted by Becky’s scream as she is attacked by an unseen figure.

Meanwhile, the father of Becky’s child, Travis, arrives looking for her and Cal. He finds their car parked outside the church and decides to investigate the field of grass, eventually stumbling across Tobin who leads him to Becky’s rotting corpse. As Travis grieves, he loses sight of Tobin. At the same time, a seemingly earlier version of Tobin arrives at the church with Natalie and Ross. Hearing Travis, who is now calling out to Tobin, their dog Freddy runs into the grass and the family runs in after him where Travis hears Tobin and looks for him. The family panics and scatters, with Ross stumbling across the rock and touching it as night falls. Morning comes and shows Becky and Cal re-entering the grass as they investigate Tobin’s cries. Tobin states that Freddy was killed. Knowing that the grass does not move dead things, Travis instructs Becky and Cal to move toward Tobin and all four find each other. Travis tells Becky and Cal that they had been missing for two months.

The group walks to a building that they see while Beck receives a call from someone who is very distressed.  As they walk, the grass seemingly enters Becky’s uterus and she passes out, only to be revived by Ross, who then reunites with Tobin as the sun goes down. Ross leads them to the rock where they are confronted by a startled Natalie who claims she saw Becky’s corpse earlier. She then warns them not to touch the rock. Ross gets more and more agitated until the others decide to leave. He wounds Travis and kills Natalie before pursuing the others, claiming the rock showed him the truth and the way out, but that he doesn’t want to leave. Becky, Cal, Travis and Tobin reach the abandoned building and while scouting, Travis and Cal discover that Freddy has managed to escape the field via a “hole” that leads to the road. A jealous Cal, who is implied to have incestuous feelings for Becky, lets go of Travis as he slips, causing him to fall off the roof. Tobin witnesses this and flees into the field when Ross follows them to the roof.

Becky refuses to leave Travis and goes back and as Cal flees, Cal is strangled to death by Ross and it is revealed they are in a time loop, permanently being hunted by an insane Ross in the grass. Travis has survived the fall and goes searching for Becky. They can hear each other on opposite sides of the field and Becky admits she was going to give up the baby for adoption. Becky is attacked by Ross but escapes after stabbing him in the eye as a thunderstorm begins. Becky is confronted by Grass Creatures who carry her to the rock which has prophetic markings relating to Becky’s pregnancy. After seeing a horrific vision underneath the rock, Becky frantically makes a phone call, pleading for her past self to prevent Cal from hurting Travis. Becky then passes out. She awakens to find Cal caring for her, but she is actually hallucinating and it’s actually Ross, and feeding her with what is revealed to be her baby.

Moments later, Travis stumbles across Becky’s unconscious body. Tobin finds him and they are confronted by Ross, who mortally wounds Travis. As Ross tries to make Tobin touch the rock, Becky attacks Ross and scratches out his other eye with her necklace, before dying from her wounds. Travis kills Ross and then realizes the only way to understand the grass is to touch the rock. Travis touches the rock and sees a series of strange visions. He then grabs Tobin’s hand and guides him through the grass to an exit, instructing him to stop Becky and Cal from entering the grass. Tobin emerges in the church across the road just as Becky and Cal are about to enter the grass and convinces them to stay out by showing them Becky’s necklace that Travis gave him, hence closing the loop. Becky decides to keep her baby as they drive back home. Travis listens to them leave and dies peacefully in the grass.

Very interesting concept but what the heck is in that tall grass? And time loops and stuff? It leaves so many questions unanswered and I hate that. But then this is a short story which is made into a movie and there are bound to be some limitations. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Pet Sematary (2019)

Pet Sematary is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and written by Jeff Buhler, from a screen story by Matt Greenberg. It is the second adaptation of the 1983 novel of the same name by Stephen King, after the 1989 film. The film stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, and follows a family that discovers a mysterious graveyard in the woods behind their new home.

The story is pretty much followed from the original with some changes mainly towards the end. Dr. Louis Creed moves his family – wife Rachel, daughter Ellie, toddler Gage and their pet cat Church – from Boston to the small town of Ludlow, Maine. The same day they see a procession of children in animal masks headed towards the woods to bury a deceased pet dog. There is a sign that reads Pet Sematary deeper in the woods and their aged neighbour Jud warms the, not to venture to far out.

At the university hospital, Louis is left shaken after failing to save the life of Victor Pascow, a student who has been fatally injured after being struck by a vehicle. On the night following Pascow’s death, Louis experiences a vivid dream in which he meets Pascow, who leads him to the back of the cemetery and warns Louis not to “venture beyond” and that “the ground is sour”. A disturbed Louis awakens to find his feet and bed sheets caked in mud, suggesting that the evening’s previous events were more than just a nightmare. Later on Halloween, Church is killed when he is hit by a truck. Jud takes Louis to the Pet Sematary, supposedly to bury Church, however he leads Louis farther to an ancient burial ground. The next day Louis is stunned to see a dirty and smelly Church has come back. The cat is more aggressive and scratches Ellie and violently mangles a bird.

Louis confronts Jud who tells him that the burial ground behind the Pet Sematary is able to bring things back from the dead and is believed to be inhabited by a spirit known as the Wendigo. After Church attacks Gage, Louis attempts to euthanize him, however he decides against killing the cat and instead releases him at the gate of an area with restricted access, before telling Ellie that he ran away. The Creeds throw an outdoor party for Ellisees Church returning and runs out to the highway to greet him, followed by Gage. Louis rushes to save Gage and the truck driver wrecks the truck in order not to hit Ellie but the trailer separates and hits the girl, instantly killing her. The family is devastated, and Rachel and Gage leave to spend a few days with Rachel’s parents. Jud, sensing that Louis is planning on resurrecting Ellie, warns the grieving father that “sometimes dead is better”. However, despite the warnings from Jud and Pascow’s spirit, and his own reservations about the idea, Louis’s grief and guilt spur him to carry out his plan.

After drugging Jud, Louis exhumes Ellie’s body from her grave and inters her in the burial ground watched by the Wendigo who lets him bury Ellie. Ellie returns from the dead, however she immediately manifests a disturbing and ornery demeanor. At her parents’ house, Rachel is frightened by visions of her dead sister Zelda, who suffered from spinal meningitis and died after falling down a dumbwaiter shaft, leaving Rachel traumatized since she was young. Gage also sees the ghost of Pascow; meanwhile, Jud wakes up and confronts Louis. Insisting everything is fine, Louis sends Jud away; however, Jud spots Ellie watching him from her bedroom window. He is distracted by a snarling Church and Ellie slashes his ankle and after he falls she stabs him to death. Rachel returns home with Gage and cannot believe that she is seeing her daughter alive. She manages to get Gage to Louis but she is stabbed by Ellie. Louis locks Gage in the car and returns upstairs to find a dying Rachel who begs Louis not to resurrect her before succumbing to her injuries.

Ellie knocks Louis unconscious and drags Rachel’s body into the woods where she buries her beyond the Pet Sematary. As Louis prepares to kill Ellie in the forest, he is impaled through the chest with a weather vane by a resurrected Rachel, and he too is buried. Along with Church, the trio set fire to Jud’s house before approaching the car where Gage still sits inside. The resurrected Louis gestures to Gage to unlock the door.

This one is darker and ends differently from the original but it doesn’t better the original and I feel that horror film makers seem to be running out of ideas and reboots and remakes seem to be popping up a lot. I still liked it even though the lead actor’s mumbling and acting style put me off. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Summer Time Reading Plans?

Summer internet loads reading time! What books do you plan to read this summer?

Absolutely none! My days of reading fictional novels – and I used to read a shit ton of books – and non-fiction are long past me. My free time is usually spent in front of my laptop online and mostly on Youtube or watching one of the numerous movies that I have to watch. With highspeed internet and streaming tv shows and movies, I just don’t get the same enthusiasm for reading books.

I used to be a voracious reader and I’ve bought and read a lot of books. From the ages of 11 till my mid 20s I was a member of a couple of libraries and I used to rent many books, several at a time and finish them off in 2 weeks. I was known as the extended family’s bookworm and for many a birthday people gifted me books to read, knowing that I would really like them.

When I moved to my current apartment, which we own, back in 2006 I couldn’t find a good library but this 30 year old found a store that sold books at cheap prices. These were mostly second hand books that were almost all in mint, just like new condition, probably read once and then donated or sold. Some were even from the US, UK or Canada from libraries that have probably closed down (you could see the check out card at the back page). I would spend an hour or so browsing through the titles and then picking 2-3 books at such cheap costs.

A book which would cost me Rs.349-500 at a book store to buy new would be between Rs.75-150 at this place and it was almost brand new. I would take those books and walk over to a bar called Oberoi bar & restaurant and pick my favourite seat near to a window so I could  move the curtain and get enough sunlight in and order beer or vodka and some food for lunch and spend 3-4 hours drinking, eating and reading there before it was time to go home.

I actually miss that. Maybe I should try doing that again.

Prompt from 30 Days Of Writing Prompts For June at TheSitsGirls

On Libraries

Let’s talk about libraries and librarians! How have they impacted your life?

Libraries – I don’t think I can find even one in the city area but I used to have a membership in 3 libraries from the age of 12 to maybe 24-25. One was a very poor one in terms of selection but it was in a building that had the best supermarket (of sorts but that was what we had back then) and also a small restaurant that served some real good food as well as a library, a laundromat and a novelty shop in the first floor. Also I do remember reading some really memorable books from there.

The second one was in another part of the city and they had a poor selection too and they barely had enough stuff to entertain us. But the third one was the best – huge selection of foriegn magazines, novels, non-fiction books, comics (I especially used to love to get their Archies Double Digests, TinTin & Asterix comics; now I have the latter two collections on a digital format). Also this was a place that I used to meet my then girlfriend on a regular basis.

How have they impacted my life? Before getting the internet at home I was a voracious reader and I read a lot of novels, some biographies and autobiographies and a lot of magazines and comics. I have lost myself in the stories and been given so much entertainment and knowledge and yeah my vocabulary has expanded based on these books. And I am eternally thankful for that.

Prompt from 30 Days of April Writing Prompts at The SitsGirls

Book Rereader

Are you a book rereader? Tell about a favorite you have read many times.

Ofcourse I am. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t reread at least some books in their lives and I think if you don’t at all you are either someone who has a photographic memory and does not need to reread as you have it all memorized or you are not really very interesting at all.

I have reread most of my favourite books, mostly novels, but also a couple of non-fiction books like Bjorn Borg’s Autobiography. Novels I’ve reared a bunch of books by Stephen King, Michael Chricton, John Grisham, Anne Rice, Sidney Sheldon and even a few Jackie Collins novels. Shame! Shame! Shame!

I don’t remember every detail about the books so I reread. I also enjoy them the same way that I enjoy listening a loved album, movie or tv show. You want to continue enjoying the things that you love. So I reread.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR DECEMBER at the SitsGirls

RIP Stan Lee

Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber, December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018 ), the legendary writer, editor and publisher of Marvel Comics whose fantabulous but flawed creations made him a real-life superhero to comic book lovers everywhere, has died. He was 95. He was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation.

The feisty writer, editor and publisher was responsible for such iconic characters as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther and the Fantastic Four – whew! A  heady list of iconic characters that have lasted a long time and will last for a very, very long time. Lee, who began in the business in 1939 and created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless other characters, died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

In 2009, The Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, and most of the top-grossing superhero films of all time — led by Avengers: Infinity War’s $2.05 billion worldwide take earlier this year — have featured Marvel characters. Lee launched the internet-based Stan Lee Media in 1998, and the superhero creation, production and marketing studio went public a year later. However, when investigators uncovered illegal stock manipulation by his partners, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001. (Lee was never charged.)

In 2002, Lee published an autobiography, Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee. Survivors include his daughter and younger brother Larry Lieber, a writer and artist for Marvel. Another daughter, Jan, died in infancy. His wife, Joan, was a hat model whom he married in 1947. The never-bashful Lee appeared in cameos in the Marvel movies, shown avoiding falling concrete, watering his lawn, delivering the mail, crashing a wedding, playing a security guard, etc.

1 Book Or 1 Show

Would you rather read only one book for a year or only watch one television show for a year, and which book or show would you pick?

I don’t think it’s possible for me to pick just one book to read for an entire year. Besides I don’t read that many books these days and despite having been a voracious reader for most of my life, up until the age of 33. Nowdays if I do get to read a book it takes several weeks for me to get through it, whereas I used to read 10 books in a few days. But I guess I will pick It by Stephen King since it’s my favourite and it’s pretty lengthy.

Tv show – if I had to pick just one tv show that I can watch for an entire year and cannot watch another, I guess I could go the easy route and select a long running show like Supernatural (13 seasons and still going strong), Bones (12), CSI (15) or Stargate SG-1 which ran for 10 seasons plus 2 tv movies. But I will go with Star Trek TNG both for content and variation in their themes and stories. It ran for 7 seasons and, I guess we can’t include the 4 theatrical films, but it offers a whole lot more episodes.

Unless I cheat there and just say Star Trek which means, 3 seasons of TOS, 7 of TNG, 7 of Deep Space Nine, 7 of Voyager, 4 of Enterprise and 1 season of Discovery (which is currently ongoing).

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR AUGUST at The SitsGirls

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Stephen King Movie Adaptations

This here is my little ole list of top & favourite movie adaptations of Stephen King’s novels, novellas, short stories or his original script work. I haven’t watched all of them so this is based on just what I have seen. This list may change depending on when and if I do watch more of them. So here goes:

  • It (2017 & the mini-series)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • The Mist
  • The Green gaurantor loan Mile
  • Shawshank Redemptions
  • Pet Semetary
  • Cujo
  • Dolores Clairborne
  • Thinner
  • The Running Man
  • Apt Pupil

Kid’s Books

What were your three favorite children’s books when you were a kid?

Hmmm, I read a lot of comics as a kid. I read a lot period throughout my childhood uptil the age of 30-32 I guess. And that stopped because of broadband internet and especially Youtube taking over my life. But if I were to look back and see which were my favourite books:

  1. Huckelberry Finn
  2. Gulliver’s Travels
  3. Robinson Crusoe

I am not sure that you can qualify them as children’s books but I read the illustrated versions of these books by the age of 10 and I loved them all.

Prompt from 30 DAYS OF APRIL WRITING PROMPTS at the SitsGirls

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 mystery drama film directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley in supporting roles. The film is the fourth screen adaptation of Christie’s novel, following the 1974 film, a 2001 TV film version, and a 2010 episode of the television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

After solving a theft at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, wants to have some time off and rest in Istanbul. However he is called for a case in London and his friend Bouc, the director of the Orient Express, offers a room aboard the train. While in the train, American businessman Edward Ratchett offers to pay Poirot to be his bodyguard, thinking the Belgian’s detecting skills should protect him against possible assassins, but Poirot politely refuses. That night, Poirot hears strange noises coming from Ratchett’s compartment, and later sees someone in a red kimono running down the hallway. An avalanche derails the train’s engine, stranding the passengers.

The next morning Ratchett is discovered to have been murdered sometime during the night as his body is found with a dozen stabs. Bouc asks Poirot to help solve the case. Poirot discovers a partially burned note connecting Ratchett to the kidnapping of Daisy Armstrong, a child who was abducted from her bedroom and held for ransom. After the ransom was paid, Daisy was found murdered. Ratchett’s true identity is revealed: he was John Cassetti, Daisy’s kidnapper and murderer. The shock of her death caused her mother Sonia to die after giving premature birth to a stillborn baby; her father, Colonel Armstrong, then committed suicide. The family’s nursemaid Susanne was wrongly suspected of complicity, leading to her being arrested and she hanged herself while in police custody, only to be found innocent afterwards.

After conducting his individual interviews and being shot at, Poirot meets the suspects outside the train, offering two theories of how Cassetti died. The first is simple: A murderer disguised as a conductor boarded the train, murdered Cassetti, and fled. The second is more complex: every suspect is connected to the Armstrongs, Susanne, or her trial in some way—including those who had pretended otherwise—and had motive to kill Cassetti. Hubbard is revealed to be Linda Arden, a former stage actress, and Sonia Armstrong’s mother. She admits to hiring everyone else to be on the Orient Express and all of them took their turns to stab Cassetti.

Poirot challenges the passengers and Michel to shoot him with Arbuthnot’s gun, since he is the only one who can expose their plot; Bouc can lie, but Poirot, obsessed with truth and balance, cannot. Hubbard grabs the gun and tries to kill herself, but it is not loaded; Poirot wanted to see how the suspects would react. With the train back on track, Poirot concludes that justice is impossible in the case, as Cassetti deserved death; for the first time, Poirot will have to live with a lie, and imbalance. He presents the lone killer theory to the Yugoslavian police, allowing the others to leave on the train. As he disembarks, a messenger asks him to investigate a death on the Nile. Poirot takes the case.

It was ok though the movie did not have the style and panache of the original, which I had seen many years ago. The focus is way too much on Kenneth Branagh as Poirot and the movie does plod along a bit. The production though is stylish and gorgeous. 7.5 outta 10!

The Chamber (1996)

The Chamber is a 1996 crime thriller film based on John Grisham’s novel of the same name. The film was directed by James Foleyand stars Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway and Chris O’Donnell. Among the supporting staff are Robert Prosky, Raymond J Barry & Lela Rochon.

The book is a big favorite of mine. The story is about Klansman Sam Cayhall (played by Gene Hackman) who is tried and found guilty of bombing the office of Marvin Kramer, a Jewish civil rights lawyer in Indianola, Mississippi, in 1967, killing Kramer’s five-year-old twin boys and leading to the amputation of Kramer’s legs and his later suicide. After two mistrials Sam is tried again for murder in the bombing, and is eventually convicted and sentenced to die in the gas chamber at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. Enter Adam Hall.

Now without a lawyer, Sam becomes a pro bono case for a team of anti-death penalty lawyers from the large — and ironically Jewish — Chicago law firm of Kravitz and Bane. Representing Sam is his own grandson, Adam Hall, who travels to the firm’s Memphis office to aid Sam in the final month before his scheduled execution. Although lacking experience in death penalty cases, Adam is purpose loan determined to argue a stay for his grandfather. Sam, despite his violent past, is one of the few living links to Adam’s family history. Sam’s alcoholicdaughter, Lee Cayhall Booth, slowly reveals the family’s tragic past to her nephew, Adam.

As Adam tries to find a way to stay alliance and leicester loan the execution he learns that Sam was actually the accomplice. Before the Kramer bombing, Sam usually used very basic bombing and planned them to minimize damage and not to kill but only to serve as a warning. Rollie Wedge, was the bomb expert and timed the bombing so that Kramer would be at the office at the time; the two sons were there only because their mother was ill. Sam refuses to coroborate this new evidence as he took an oath of loyalty to the Klan. At the same time, Lee, faced with the unearthed ghosts of the family history and having lapsed back into full-blown alcoholism, reveals to Adam that in the early 1950s, as children, she and Adam’s father had witnessed their father murder the family’s African-American neighbor, Joe Lincoln, during a fight that had started because Adam’s father, Eddie, had wrongly accused Lincoln’s son of stealing a toy soldier.

Eddie had blamed himself for the murder, as well as Lee, for failing to stop Sam, the guilt of which was a factor in Eddie’s later suicide and Lee’s alcoholism. Lee also reveals how their father had been indoctrinated into the Klan as a child, showing Adam an historic photograph of Sam as a young boy attending a Klan lynching. Wedge has his men beat up Adam when the young lawyer comes questioning but the Klansman is later arrested by the cops. Adam’s motions for a stay are denied by the courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Despite Sam’s finally authorizing the release of relevant Sovereignty Commission files, the Governor refuses to grant clemency. Sam is executed in the gas chamber, though Adam remains as a confidant and advocate for his grandfather up until his execution, and he and Lee embrace at the end, in the hope that maybe the ghosts of the past are gone.

There are several changes from the book though not for the better. The film is too short to make a compelling story and it suffers greatly due to that. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Runaway Jury

Runaway Jury is a 2003 American legal thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, and Rachel Weisz. It is an adaptation of John Grisham’s 1996 novel The Runaway Jury. Also starring in the movie are Jeremy Piven, Bruce Davison, Bruce McGill, Marguerite Moreau & Jennifer Beals in supporting roles.

The book is always better than the movie in most cases and it certainly is the case over here but having said that, I must admit that the movie is certainly watchable though not too exciting. But they do have a stellar cast which more than makes up for the lack of excitement. In New Orleans, a failed day trader at a stock brokerage firm shows up at the office and opens fire on his former colleagues, then kills himself. Among the dead is Jacob Wood. Two years later, with attorney Wendell Rohr, Jacob’s widow Celeste takes Vicksburg Firearms to court on the grounds that the company’s gross negligence led to her husband’s death.

During jury selection, jury consultant Rankin Fitch and his team communicate background information on each of the jurors to lead defense attorney Durwood Cable in the courtroom through electronic surveillance. But one of the jurors, Nick Easter, who is initially rejected is brought back in to the notice of Fitch and his team as he tries to get himself excused from jury duty. Judge Frederick Harkin decides to give Nick a lesson in civic duty and Fitch tells Cable that the judge has now given them no choice, and that he must select Nick as a juror. Nick uses his easy going and congenial manner to win over and influence several of the jurors with one exception. Marlee, who Nick is working with, contacts Fitch and Rohr: she will deliver the verdict to the first bidder.

What happens next is some brilliant planning and scheming by Marlee and unsecured payday loan Nick as they showcase their power and influence over the rest of the jurors by selecting a foreman and making the jurors do other things. itch orders Nick’s apartment searched, but finds nothing. Marlee retaliates by getting one of Fitch’s jurors bounced. Nick shows the judge surveillance footage of his apartment being searched, and the judge orders the jury sequestered. Fitch then goes after three jurors with blackmail, leading one, Rikki Coleman, to attempt suicide. Rohr loses a key witness due to harassment, and after confronting Fitch, decides that he cannot win the case. He asks his firm’s partners for $10 million. Fitch sends an operative, Janovich, to kidnap Marlee, but she fights him off and raises Fitch’s price to $15 million. On principle, Rohr changes his mind and refuses to pay. Fitch agrees to pay Marlee to be certain of the verdict.

One of Fitch’s men tracks down Nick’s real name and also Marlee’s hometown and meets her mother Nick is really Jeff Kerr, a law school drop-out, and that Marlee’s real name is Gabby Brandt. Gabby’s sister died in a school shooting. The town sued the gun manufacturer and Fitch helped the defense win the case. Doyle concludes that Nick and Marlee’s offer is a set-up, and he calls Fitch, but it is too late. The gun manufacturer is found liable, with the jury awarding $110 million in general damages to Celeste Wood. After the trial, Nick and Marlee confront Fitch with a receipt for the $15 million bribe and demand that he retire. They inform him that the $15 million will benefit the shooting victims in Gardner.

Though the plot is brilliant and the cast is very good, the shorter time for a movie makes the rather entertaining story from the book a little wasted in the movie. This happens quite a lot. I will give the movie a solid 7 outta 10!