Saturday, October 15, 2005

Random Reminiscing

I was listening to John Denver on my discman today. I like listening to artists like John Denver, Don McLean, Kenny Rogers and the lot because they make me feel like I'm living in the America of the 1970's.

If I were given a choice of living anywhere, anytime in this century, I would definitely choose some small rural town in Southern USA as the place and the late 60's or the early 70's as the time.

My love for Southern America has come about largely due to a steady diet of John Grisham novels. They picturize it as a place like no other. Especially the novel A Painted House. Most people would rank it as one of the most boring books they have ever read. But for some reason I loved it. I am not a big fan of action packed thrillers. I don't relish or admire books because of the suspense or action in them. What I desire is a good story. One that has characters that remain in your memory. A story that makes you feel as if you are right there - a part of it.

I think Grisham is one of the finest writers when it comes to describing characters. I also like his style of writing. It's extremely simple. You don't have to turn back two or three chapters every now and then in order to keep track of the story. If you just want a good, old story, there's nobody like him.

I also like the works of Clive Cussler, mainly because I'm such a big fan of his main character, Dirk Pitt. The first Cussler that I read was Iceberg. [The copy that I managed to lay my hands on was, incidentally, given to my Dad as a gift by his roommates back in the 70's!] All of Cussler's books are centered around the adventures of the hero Pitt with a few other common characters playing side roles.

Another one of my favorite fictional literary characters is James Bigglesworth [Biggles, for short] from the series by Captain W. E. Johns. Biggles was in the Royal Air Force during the Wars and then in the Air Police for some time after that. For a while in high school I was so influenced by him that I prayed that a Third World War might break out, just so that I could enlist in the Air Force!

Biggles is quite similar, in many ways, to Dirk Pitt. Both were pilots, both had the same dry sense of humor, and both were no-nonsense good guys who always came out on top in the end!

During the era before I got introduced to Captain Johns and Biggles, there was always Enid Blyton to read. I liked her books, again, not for the suspense, but for the description of small town life in the England of the decades gone by. The high-teas with buttery scones would make my mouth water, and surprising every family had a cook who was plump and jolly! I would give my right hand to spend a summer in one of her adventure books!

Another high school favorite of mine was, of course, The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon [whoever that really was]. They spoke of the adventures of two teenage brothers who were amateur sleuths in Bayport. For some reason though, I didn't like this series as much as I did the books by Enid Blyton.

Even today, if by some chance I manage to lay my hands on a book by Enid Blyton or Captain Johns, I can't help but sit to read it. It doesn't normally take more than an hour or so [sometimes two hours, because you need to picture everything precisely in you mind to make the tale seem real!], but it's always well worth it. Nothing can ever bring the days of your childhood back, but these books are the closest thing to it.


ruj said...

franklin w dixon ..n carolyeene keene ..arent people ..theyre a group of writers ..who write a hardy boys or nancy drew ...n those are their pen names ....

Arnold said...

i know... but i dun know the names of tht group of writers.. hence i said "whoever that may be"

ravi rao said...

Dude painted house!! That shit sucked .It was Grisham's all time low. Wait a minute does the Tally and the bathing in the little isolated brook scene have anything to do with you liking that book.

Arnold said...

well... *tht's* exactly my point... the book would have sucked for most people... but i dont fit in the "most people" category...

and no! tally had nuthing to do with my liking it..

Nikhil K said...

Hey, I like Grisham. I esp love the way he portrays the more sordid side of America. The poverty, and the underdogs. Thats the area he sets his novels in Biloxi, etc which were most affected by the Hurricane rita.

AB said...

I live all over the southern USA. Living in Florida now. I guess it's not the worst place to live, but I hate living in the Bible belt. So many closed minded people.

You really like Grisham? My Father was a big fan of his. I have stayed away from his books for that reason. Maybe I should give them a try.

Just started posting about books I am reading on my blog ressantly.

John Denvers music is cool. To bad he died. :(