Comics I Read As A Child

As a kid I read a lot of Amar Chitra Katha comics –  one of India’s largest selling comic book series, with more than 90 million copies sold in 20 Indian languages. As a child the comics books that retell stories from the great Indian epics, mythology, history, folklore, and fables in a comic book format were a mainstay in the evenings for me & my friends. Parents willingly bought these comics for us and encouraged reading them. Along with those comics I also read a lot of Twinkle, Richie Rich, Archies and Superman, Batman and other DC & Marvel comics. Children’s books like Nancy Drew (sue me), Famous 5, Hardy Boys and I know I had one more series but I can’t remember the name right now. I know I’ve read 2 or 3 books of those as well.

Once we moved back to India, I read a lot more comics for the next 3 or 4 years because I didn’t have that community of friends living in the same building as I did when we settled down in Thrikkakara. Ofcourse I had friends but just 2 or 3 lived within walking distance and ofcourse I had my cousins but I only saw them during the holidays. And I got a lot of comics from my cousins too. Here in India I read a lot of, and I mean a lot to the point of addiction, Phantom & Mandrake comics. They were my favourites and I devoured the books for hours on end. Other than those there were a few others but I can’t for the life of me remember the names. Phantom, Mandrake and Archies were it for me. And ofcourse I loved Tintin & Asterix comics – I have both entire collections on my laptop in PDF format. The books are just ridiculously expensive to buy but I got the ebook versions for free download so who needs the book formats anymore?

The Litigators – John Grisham

The Litigators is John Grisham’s 25th book and one of his best. And that’s saying quite a lot as he has lots of page turners and some real classics. The master author makes this a David vs Goliath legal novel (and coincidentally  as the lead character’s name is David) an interesting read and you will find yourself unable to put the book down as you root for the underdogs.

David Zinc leaves a high pressure job in one of the biggest law firm in Chicago and the nation having had enough of the place after 5 years. The 31 year old leaves the office building without warning one morning and heads straight to a bar where he proceeds to drink his first day of freedom away. He somehow manages to find a small  two-partner & two member law firm, Figg & Finley of the ham & egg, ambulance chasing variety. David promises to pull in some business and joins them as an associate. Oscar Finley and Wally Figg are two different type of lawyers; as Figg mops and moans through the day, wishing he could divorce his wife of 30 years, a 4 time divorced and recovering alcoholic Wally dreams of the cash cow.

Wally’s various schemes have never brought in the high payoff case but he seems to have found one in Krayoxx, a drug that lowers cholesterol and manufactured by pharmaceutical giants Varrick Labs. Hoping to hitch a ride on a mass tort case done by much bigger firms, Wally convinces Oscar & David that they need to round up clients in Chicago. At first the case seems to be a simple opportunity to sign up patients who took the extremely popular cholesterol reduction drug, Krayoxx, which was the number one prescription for obese patients. Wally finds 8 death cases of heart attack victims who used to take Krayoxx. Convinced that the drug is responsible, Wally signs up the 8 including the first case and joins mass tort lawyer Jerry Alisandros and his firm.

Varrick hires David’s former employers Rogan Rothberg who assign the case to Nadine Karros, a legal ace who has never lost a case in her career. As the trial date approaches, Wally’s dreams of milking in the big bucks vanish when Alisandros backs out as reports of the drug being quite safe come out. However the judge wants the first case to be tried and the trio of Figg, Finley with David go to court. However Figg suffers a heart attack on day 1 and needs surgery leaving Wally as lead counsel. In 3 days the pressures of trying a losing case gets the better of Wally and he starts drinking and disappears on David. Now it falls on David to try the case and he does a fine job on the final day, creating dents in the armour of Varrick but the jury finds the pharma giants not guilty. Not that David or anyone else expected them to rule in favour of the plaintiffs. The case is over and all future cases against Krayoxx are pulled. David helps Wally get to a rehab center as Oscar recovers from his surgery.

The secondary story is about David & his wife Helen finding a Burmese immigrant family whose son suffers from illness & brain damage after playing with a toy called Nasty Teeth – fake fangs. The paint chips in the fangs and he ingests the lead used to manufacture it, which causes the damages. David uses some of his own money to help the family and finally traces the company that now owns the toy makers and represents the boy’s parents. He settled the lead poisoning product liability case for $6.5 million, including $1.5 million in legal fees, which he uses to pay off the firm’s debts and include a bonus for their secretary. The rest is split between the 3 lawyers. He attempted to become equal partners as Finley, Figg & Zinc.The partnership did not work out as 63 year old Oscar retires and Wally is unwilling to try big cases and was dissolved after twelve months. Zinc opened his own product liability practice, David E. Zinc, Attorney-at-Law.

Deception Point – Dan Brown

Rachel Sexton is the estranged daughter Senator Sedgewick Sexton, a presidential candidate who is more popular than incumbent President of the United States Zachary Herney. But she is also an Intelligence Analyst who works for the NRO. The Prez sends her to the Milne Ice Shelf to validate the findings made by NASA – a meteorite which struck the earth around 190 million years and embedded within an are insect fossils very similar to, but not the same as, species on earth. NASA claims this as proof of extraterrestrial life.  The President also sends four leading civilian scientists (Michael Tolland, a famous oceanographer and TV personality; Corky Marlinson, a brilliant but eccentric astrophysicist; Norah Mangor, a prickly glaciologist and Wailee Ming, a palaeontologist) to the Arctic to verify the meteorite’s authenticity as unbiasedly as possible.

However a plot is soon discovered to fake the fossils (actually a recently found earth lifeform but not yet published) and that the powerful NRO director William Pickering is the mastermind behind it. He did it to hurt Senator Sexton’s campaign, protecting the American people in his eyes and also to boost the NASA supporting President’s chances of reelection. Sexton wants to cut NASA’s fundings and promises to spend more on education if elected President. However President Herney himself is unaware of this plot and genuinely believes that NASA has found authentic findings. Pickering has his small squad of black ops soldiers kill Dr. Ming & Dr. Mangor when a flaw in the data is discovered.

It is up to Rachel, Tolland & Marlinson to evade the NRO Director and his men and get the evidence of the fraud findings out to the public. Add to this mix is Gabrielle Ashe – Senator Sexton’s aide and former lover – who finds out that the Senator is selling out to private companies & plans to make space exploration go public. He has been accepting large sums of cash from the companies to fund his campaign. When she finds out this and the fact that she was being lied to by the Senator, Gabrielle decides to help Rachel expose the Senator. Marjorie Tench the Senior Adviser to the President is also killed when she comes close to finding the conspiracy that Pickering had set in place.

A good political & deception thriller, although not as good as the other 3 books of Dan Brown that I had read. Still a good real.

A Good Biography / Memoir

Hmm funny enough I haven’t read that many biographies or memoirs but I actually find them very interesting and would like to read more. The very first one I read, and I remember this so well cause the book is something that I  hold very dear to me, is My Life & Game which tennis legend Bjorn Borg co-wrote along with the writer Eugene Scott. Published in 1980, it is a fascinating read in which Borg tells us his story from his childhood, to how he won his first real tennis racquet, to playing in the juniors and then on turning professional. He writes a lot about the events and things that happened to him uptil 1980. By the time the book was published, Borg had won his 5th French Open title and also won his 5th consecutive Wimbledon title.

He talks about his rivals, his friends, some great matches and tournaments. His endorsement deals are showcased. One of things I remember well is how he explains his initial emotional outbursts on losing badly during the junior years and how his coach smacked some sense into him. He wrote about being embarrassed about his behaviour and that led him to change his demenour and outlook and a legend was born – Borg the professional player was known for his stoic approach, barely any emotional displays and reported to have “ice” flowing in his veins aka the IceBorg nickname! The book also talks  about his romance with Romanian player Mariana Simionescu (who he later divorced) in July 1980.

Although I have since read a few more biographies/ memoirs, this one stands out as it was the first one I read. I was 11 when I started getting into liking & watching tennis and I got this book, along with a few others, back in 1988. I must have read this from cover to cover atleast 20 times. I think I sold this book along with a whole bunch of other just before I moved houses. But I always tend to remember this one very well.

Last Library Visit

It’s been ages since I was last in a library. When I was a teenager I had two library memberships – one was a very small collection above a supermarket (which was then the only actual supermarket in the city and hence we went there once a week) and the other was a proper library with a solid collection of books, occupying a half floor of a building. The one above the supermarket had to share it’s space (all 4 large shelves of books) with a video tape rental, a dry cleaners, a gift shop and an ice cream parlour.

From the age of 12 till 17 I used to  go to the small library and rent a couple of novels for a week or two and return the books always well in advance. Their selections were poor but for a bookworm like me that was the only real place I had to go. Until I joined Elloor lending library which was near three major colleges in the city and hence always have a heavy flow of students who also liked to read coming and going at all hours of the day. I used to love this library because they had very cheap membership fees but had an awesome collection. I used to rent 2 to 3 big novels, a bunch of Archies comics and maybe a Tintin or Astrix ever two weeks from the age of 17 till 20. I loved reading and since there was no internet at the time reading was the major way I spent most of  my free time.

Also I had a girlfriend at the time and we used to plan our meetings at the library, spend an hour there and then go to one of the ice cream parlours that served as the only meeting place for young lovers to spend some quality time (wink, wink) with each other during those years. Ofcourse after the year 2000 the number of such places to hang out mushroomed, making me think that if only I was born a few years later! Anyways, I haven’t been to a library since 1999 when I was 23 and I went and cancelled my membership as I didn’t want the yearly fees to be incurred. I started buying more novels and trying to maintain a good home library.

My All-Time Favorite Authors

Anne Rice : I love her books which I discovered after watching the movie version of her book Interview With The Vampire. But it was a few years down the line when I first got any of her books. I started with Interview, then The Vampire Lestat, Blackwood Farm, Merrick, The Queen Of The Damned, The Vampire Armand, Blood Canticle and Blood & Gold. I enjoy all the books although some are a bit dragging. I’ve always enjoyed reading Anne Rice’s books a a bar near my apartment when I would have either a couple of beers or vodka and then some lunch. The bar is reasonably well lit and with enough sunlight coming in from the large windows, it was a swell place for me to sit & read in their comfy, cushioned chairs while drinking and eating.

John Grisham : It took me a while to get into Grisham because his books deal with the law but after reading a couple, I got into his stuff big time. I have all of his legal drama books uptil 2009 and have read The Painted House, which I didn’t care for. His books are amazingly engaging and I just love The Firm, The Client, the King Of Torts, The Partner, A Time To Kill, The Pelican Brief, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, The Summons, the Last Juror, The Broker, The Appeal & The Associate. Whew, that’s a lot of books! I often read his novels multiple times as it is easy reading and the stories flow well.

The late Michael Chrichton : Like most people I became a fan of Mr. Chrichton post the Jurassic Park movie which was based on his novel of the same name. Since then I have read his Jurassic Park, The Lost World, The Andromeda Strain, Disclosure, Eaters Of The Dead, Timeline, Congo, Sphere & Rising Sun. I really enjoy all these books and have read them multiple times. Thank you for giving us such amazing works of words Michael!

Stephen King : And finally, my all time favourite, the King of Authors, the Master Of Macabre – Mr. Stephen King. Responsible for writing my favourite novel of all time – IT! I just love this giant book and have read it 16 times. I also love Carrie (which I first read on a 16 hour train journey from Bangalore to Cochin), Salem’s Lot, Christine, The Shining, Night Shift, Cujo (and the movie), The Running Man, Pet Sematary, Thinner, Skeleton Crew, The Eyes Of The Dragon, Misery, The Tommyknockers, The Dark Half, Four Past Midnight, Gerald’s Game, Needful Things, Dolores Claiborne, Insomnia, Rose Madder, The Green Mile, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts In Atlantis, Dreamcatcher – Whew!!! That’s a lot and I still want more. I want the Dark Tower series which is 7 novels.

Discovering New Books

I wish I could read as much as I used to as it now takes me a month or more to read a single novel whereas I would devour 2 or 3 in a month in years gone by. I was a bookworm but I am no longer one. Now since I read at such a much slower pace I have to pick & choose what books I read. In such cases I go for the tried & tested authors or I get help.

The internet is a good option – read synopsis & recommendations from website or blogs that review books. Check what other people are reading and saying about the books that they have read. Facebook posts, Twitter tweets etc etc. These days it’s the best way to find not just a good book but also movies, music & recipes for food & cocktails.

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Book Purchase – Hitch-22

I don’t buy books anymore. For ages I used to buy novels that I’d read over & over again. I used to be a book work, reading most of my free time. At first comics and then novels. I love non-fiction but I do also read fiction on occasion. With easier access to the internet books went on the backburner but I still did read a bit. I stopped buying them though – spending Rs. 300-500 on a good title was stupid as India forgets to lower prices to more reasonable rates as the years go by.

Instead what I did find was a used book store and a discount book store. I was happy as I got most of the stuff that I wanted and a reasonable price Rs.75-99 was the usual rates. Hmm, i could buy 3 or 4 more books for the price of 1 at the usual book stores! I slowly built a good library of books. However both the stores have closed down (no clue as to why) and even that outlet was gone for me.

But yes, it has been ages since I found myself in an actual book store and that’s where I was today and I spent just 6 or 7 minutes browsing through their shelves before I found the late Christopher Hitchen’s memoirs – titled cheekily as Hitch-22!  The book was published in June 2010, and was later nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Touring for the book was cut short later the same month so that he could begin treatment for newly diagnosed oesophageal cancer.

I’ve just started reading this book and got 20 pages done while sitting with a coffee in a cafe this morning. It’s very interesting and entertaining and, I must say, some sadness. Especially when you read the Prologue with Premonitions. I’m going to take my time with this book and read it over the next week. I’ll give you my review post that.

RIP : Christopher Hitchens

Influential writer, cultural critic & popular atheist Christopher Hitchens died yesterday due to complications of cancer of the esophagus. He was 62.

Over the years, Hitchens’ caustic attention was directed at a broad range of subjects, including Henry Kissinger, Prince Charles, Bob Hope, Michael Moore, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa. His career spanning 4 decades has seen him be a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in September 2008. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after.

A well known debater, his confrontational style made him a huge set of admirers and some detractors as well. Identified as a champion of the “New Atheism” movement, Hitchens describes himself as an antitheist and a believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Hitchens says that a person “could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct,” but that “an antitheist, a term I’m trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there’s no evidence for such an assertion.”[14] He argues that the concept of god or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization. He wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in his 2007 book God Is Not Great.

Though Hitchens retained his British citizenship, he became a United States citizen on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial on 13 April 2007, his 58th birthday. Asteroid 57901 is named after him. He has 2 children from his first marriage to Eleni Meleagrou. In 1989 Hitchens left Meleagrou for Carol Blue, an American writer.They have one daughter.

Christopher Eric Hitchens (April 13th, 1949 – December 15th, 2011)

Has A Book Ever Brought You To Tears?

Yeah I tried to read a book on christianity many years ago and I was so bored that I yawned a lot and tears came running down my eyes. I also remember two other books that would put me to sleep as soon as I tried reading a few pages – Zorba The Greek & The Last Temptation Of Christ. Both by Nikos Kazantakis, a Greek writer. Hmmm a trend is noticed over here. Maybe something lost in the translation from Greek to English. Although, many years later I came to like Zorba a whole lot more.

I also you know have had some tears while going through a few magazine spreads of Playboy & other such nudie mags. Those woman are enough to make a grown man cry. So sad; all that money and yet unable to fully cloth themselves! Makes me wanna go over and hug them to me and tell them everything is gonna be alright.

For the more serious answer, no I don’t think a book has ever brought me to tears. Emotionally Stephen King’s IT is the one closest to me; I feel that this novel has everything you could ever ask for from one novel and it has always resonated close to my heart. It has been my favourite novel of all time.

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Is The Book Always Better Than The Movie?

Well, what I have found is that the book is usually better than the movie. That does not necessarily mean that the book is way better than the movie. Yes it is true sometimes but it is also because once you read the book, you form a certain perception of how the visualization of it should be and often a movie based on the book will fail to reach the imagination of our minds. The mind is a vastly advanced and entertainingly exciting film maker and unfortunately there are very few instances of anyone being able to re-create the same scenes from one’s mind to the reel. It usually will fall flat.

Take me for example – the science fiction related imaginations of my mind are far more interesting and exciting than anything Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Farscape or any other Scifi franchise or movie can create. However, Gene Roddenberry I ain’t and therefore I cannot even begin to start thinking about create a movie or even a single episode of the stuff in my head – heck, I even have trouble putting it in words! So I must rely on film & tv series makers to get my fix.

Similarly, when you read a book, you create these images in your mind of how the houses, how the people look like. What cars do they drive, what clothes do they wear? How do they talk, walk, smile, cry, yell? How the scene unfolds – all this just from reading of some words in sentences. So when you see a movie based on the book, you are essentially seeing someone else’s interpretation of what you read and created/saw in your mind. It most likely will not match with what you saw and usually you are disappointed and it will fall short. On a few lucky occasions, you will find that the movie far outweighs what you envisioned when you read the novel and are quite happy to praise the movie.

If I think of examples of the exceptions to the norm, I often think of Jurassic Park – there is no fucking way in hell that you were even remotely disappointed to see the Magnum Opus of Steven Speilberg’s work. Yes Michael Crichton wrote a wonderfully detailed novel but the movie did managed to shadow it. Stephen King’s books are fantastic and the man has a very active imagination but Shawshank Redemption & The Green Mile movies do match up to his prose. And although most of you may disagree I did like the Da Vinci Code movie a whole lot and think that it atleast matches the book.

That’s all that I can think of at the moment. Do comment and let me know of any examples that you can think of.

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On Finishing Books; Obligation?

Hmmm I like this question; are we just talking about books or books as a metaphor for the projects that we take up in life? Interesting, well I’ll answer about books here. I do feel obligated to finish all books that I have picked up to start reading. After all it’s just a book and it shouldn’t be too much trouble to finish reading it. But have you come across real snorefests, books that made you fall asleep as soon as you have read a few pages?

I have and quite a few most of which I do not remember because I ended up not finishing reading them. They were dull, long winded and written in a monotone kind of writing (whatever that is it does sound right to describe it). I think The Last Temptation Of Christ was one of them. I can’t remember as it has been so many years. I remember that I was trying to read this novel that my sister gave me, while we were vacation in my grandmother’s house many years ago. Every time I would try and read this damned book, I’d fall asleep no more than a few pages in! Like magic; I’d be all awake and alert, pick up this book at around 10:30 am and by 11am I would be snoring on the sofa or bed! I didn’t manage to finish reading it.

Maybe that proves that you shouldn’t read in bed if you want to finish a book. I usually do read in bed and that must explain why I have a few book left to complete reading. Most of them are boring and long which I why I haven’t finished them. But there is one that I have; it’s an interesting one and I can’t wait to see how it ends but I just can’t get to finish reading it. I’m about half way in and it’s a good story but I haven’t read a page of it in the last 2 months! Just crazy!

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Fiction Or Non-Fiction

I’ve always read fiction a whole lot more than non-fiction. Fiction involves the mind’s imagination and dreams from the writer and for the readers as well. Everytime I read a fiction novel, every character comes to life for me. I create in my mind the way he/she looks, walks, speaks, laughs, cries, dresses, fights etc. Its not something that I do willingly; it just fucking comes to me. I can’t help it. I start reading and I see the house or apartment, the street, the lawns, the tables, the chairs, the clothes, the dogs, the cats, the love making scene (and no matter how descriptive an author makes it, it still won’t hold a candle to what goes on in my head! If only I could fix a camera in there, I’d make a fortune in the adult film industry!!)

That’s fiction for me. It’s no wonder that before I got internet at home, which was as recently as Sept 2006, I read a lot more. Infact a cold rainy day like today would be perfect to be spend in bed with the blanket upto my chest, music playing at mid-volume level on my stereo and cups after cups of strong black coffee to keep me awake as I read a novel or two. Depending on the weather, coffee would be substituted with a 7up/Sprite or a fruit juice. And I would spend hours at a stretch reading the novels, lost in my own world, only stopping to have food or take toilet breaks. My family called me a bookworm and that I would be all quite and satisfied as long as I got a good book. Ofcourse in the beginning it was comics and stuff but novels took over by the time I was 13-14 years old.

I do like non-fiction but the stuff is rare that I like. If you ask me to name some of some good novels I’d be hard pressed to just name a few as there are so many that I have read and liked. My brain would freeze with all those titles and author names rushing to come out. But if you want non-fiction, I have read so few that I can name a couple right off the bat. I love autobiographies and two tennis greats – Bjorn Borg & Martina Navaratilova have well written autobiographies. I had a copy of My Life & Game, Borg’s 1980 published book which he co-wrote, chronicling his life till then. That is a really good read as is the book I read, taken from a library, on Martina’s life, which she also co-wrote. The last non-fiction novel that I have read is Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion.

Although I do not mind reading non-fiction, it’s 95% usually fiction for me. Reading is something that I want to do more of once again and I’ll probably start in a couple of weeks once certain things are sorted out with work and my stay.

Where Do You Write?

This blog post is a reply to Meleah’s post of the same title:

I first started keeping a diary at the age of 15, when I was in the 10th grade. I then used a basic date wise diary & recorded certain events that happened on that day, what I did, what my family or relatives did & what I watched on the tv. I soon started writing about my feelings and opening up my heart about certain stuff that was going on in my life. I also would select a ‘song for the day’ (readers of this blog in the 07-08 years would know about it) to go along with each date. When I went on a 3 day school trip to Kodaikannal, it was a way of recording the things that happened there on that fun trip. Oh and I tried my hand at writing lyrics for songs!!

I stopped writing soon after I turned 16, don’t know why though. I barely wrote much for the next few years. When I was 21, I had an operation and was confined to my house for a month. I wasn’t bed ridden but because of the nature of the operation, I needed to avoid cloth touching the stitches as much as possible and hence I spent most of my time in my room. With nothing much to do but read and listen to album after album, I started writing again – initially just  noting down which albums I played each day and then little notes on each album/artist and soon writing lyrics once again. A year later, 1998, I discovered the internet and so thoughts of a diary went out the window. I did managed to create a scrap book of the 1998 World Cup in France and wrote stuff about the matches that I would see.

Although I started reading other people’s blogs in 2000, it would be 2002 when I first started writing in one. I was living in Calicut at the time and being away from home with nothing much to do during the evening hours was as good an excuse as any to start one. I created a Blogger account in which I would occasionally type a notes. My initial posts were usually 3 to 4 sentences long about weekly activities and the movies I saw on the weekends, plus what new music I listened to. I started writing more frequently once I moved back to Cochin but I soon diverted from the actual blogging format to posting more biographical information about sports personalities & musicians. I needed a fresh start and in 2005 I started a second account in blogger – which was also titled Awake & Dreaming.

I guess it was in that blog that I truly started blogging and it became an outlet for me to express my feelings, my thoughts & ideas and my joy & fears. I embraced the ‘art of blogging’ and started reading lots & lots of other blogs for ideas and inspiration. I began enjoying posting in that format and I spent more & more time on the blog. I blogged 4-5 times a week by going to an internet cafe near my home or near the office. By September 2006, I had moved to Kacheripday and bought a new pc and in a couple of weeks, I got a broadband connection. I started blogging daily and on most days, I’d blog more than one entry a day. It has become my passion and my main interest. I usually blog at home, from my laptop which I place on a table. At times I also blog from a coffeeshop that offers free Wifi but those are few and far between.

Authors I’d Like To Have Lunch With

Stephen King & Anne Rice. I’ve long been fascinated with the world of the macabre and demons, ghosts, goblins, monsters, vampires, witches & werewolves. And when it is all done in such extensive, intelligent & memorable text, it means even more to me. These are the two best authors who use thee fiction so well to spin great stories that I can read over & over again as the years go by.

So I would totally love to have a lunch with them and spend a few hours talking about the various themes and story lines in their books and debate the finer points. Hmmm now that I think about it, I would start out with a big lunch and as we talk on & on, we would move to comfortable sofas with cold drinks in hand and continue on throughout the afternoon. The evening would bring tea and coffee and we’d chat throughout and end up with dinner and a late night, fueled by lots & lots of wine. Red wine, considering the fact that it would be so appropriate for these two authors.

Ofcourse I wouldn’t want to end up having to walk home or go home even if it is in an armoured car after that. All that talk of things that are scary; what if some of these creatures came alive and attacked me while I made my way back home.

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Stephen King’s IT – My Fav Novel

Without a doubt the book/novel that has had the most profound influence on me and changed my life is none other than IT – my favourite novel by my favourite author Stephen King. The king of macabre came out with this novel back in 1986 and the first time I knew about this novel was when I saw parts of the tv mini-series on which it was based back in 1991. The bits that I was more than enough to tickle my fancy and I looked to get a copy of the book to read.

I managed to find one out in the local library that I went to every month and took it. I managed to finish the novel within the following weekend, starting on Saturday morning and ending on Sunday evening, stopping only for food, coffee, a shower or two and as little sleep as possible. This book is so engrossing and mind-consuming that I thought of nothing else for the next week or so. School classes must have happened but I was oblivious to it. Since that first time I must have read the novel atleast 12 times as it is my favourite and been as absorbed in it each time.

IT deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking beneath a façade of traditional small-town values. The idea of 7 young pre-teen kids being stalked & terrorized by an evil & powerful entity and them fighting back is endearing and you will find yourself rooting for our heroes with fists pumping. It is also up to standing up to bullies of the human kind and about friendships and the love that the bond creates. Although mostly tragic and horror-filled, IT also has a lot of funny moments, gross stuff that kids love to laugh at and you will laugh out loud at some of the moments.

In my mind this is the ultimate novel, fat and all consuming and if you start to read this one, make sure that you have a pretty much open couple of days in which to spend yourself immersed in it. Make sure you have some food and drink nearby as you may not want to do anything like cook or go out and meet people until you are done with it.

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Hugh Hefner Gets Engaged!

I can’t believe it. But if any 84 year man can marry a 24 year old blond bombshell then it’s gotta be Hugh!

Hugh Hefner is set to wed for a third time after proposing to Playboy Playmate Crystal Harris on Christmas night. The publisher, reality TV star and ladies man, is 60 years older than his 24-year-old fiancee. Announcing the engagement on Sunday via Twitter, Hefner wrote, “When I gave Crystal the ring, she burst into tears. This is the happiest Christmas weekend in memory.” The couple began dating almost two years ago. This will be Harris’ first marriage.

This man has had so many girlfriends much younger than him. I’ve heard rumours that he pops Viagra for breakfast, starting in the early 90s. But getting married to a babe 60 years his junior! She’s only 24; is she only in it for the money and his assets? He’s old enough to be her grandfather!

Well you also have to admire him. Way to go Hugh!