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Haddon Musings


International Book Giving Day 2017



International Book Giving Day takes place on 14th February each year. The aim? To get books into the hands of as many children as possible.
14th February is about sharing the love of books! #bookgivingday
International Book Giving Day is a 100% volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books.
* Most children in developing countries do not own books.
* In the United Kingdom, one-third of children do not own books.
* In the United States, two-thirds of children living in poverty do not own books.
International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th. We invite individuals to:
1) gift a book to a friend or family member,
2) leave a…

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Robinson Crusoe Island


Robinson Crusoe Island

Town of San Juan Bautista, on the north coast at Cumberland Bay. Robinson Crusoe Island

Where is Robinson Crusoe Island?

It is in the Pacific Ocean about 640 kilometers west of Chile.

How big is it?

Robinson Crusoe is the largest of a group of three islands which are together called Juan Fernandez after the Spanish explorer who discovered them in the 16th century. The total land area of the islands is about 100

Are the islands inhabited?

Yes, there are about a thousand Spanish-speaking people living on the three islands.  Most of them fish for a living.

Whom do the islands belong to?

Robinson Crusoe and the two other islands, Santa Clara and Alejandro Selkirk belong to Chile.

Why are the islands famous?

The main island of the group is named after Daniel Defoe’s famous character, Robinson Crusoe. However, the tale of Robinson Crusoe is based on the real-life adventures of a seaman named Alexander Selkirk who was abandoned on the island by his captain and spent more than four years from 1704 -1709

Willy Wonka- cartoon

Star of ‘Willy Wonka’ is no more

Gene Wilder, who became Hollywood’s one of the most iconic comic actors with his delightfully funny performances in films directed by Mel Brooks has passed away. He was 83.

Wilder made his own name in the industry with films like “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein”, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, and “Stir Crazy” passed away early Monday morning at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Jerome Silberman aka Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka star no more

A black-and-white photo of Wilder smiling. Wilder in 1970. Born, Jerome Silberman Image credit

Born as Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1933, he chose Gene Wilder as his professional name at the age of 26, out of admiration for the character Eugene Gant in “Looking Homeward”, “Angel”, and the playwright Thornton Wilder. He started acting at age 12 before attending the University of Iowa and the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. His professional debut came in Off Broadway’s “Roots” in 1961, followed by a stint on Broadway in Graham Greene’s comedy “The Complaisant Lover”, which won him a Clarence Derwent Award as promising newcomer. His performance in the 1963 production of Brecht’s “Mother Courage” was seen by Mel Brooks. The two went on to deliver some classic comedies of 20th century. In 1967, the comedy star essayed his first memorable big screen neurotic, Eugene Grizzard, a kidnapped undertaker in Arthur Penn’s classic “Bonne and Clyde.” The next was “The Producers”, in which he played the hysterical Leo Bloom, an accountant lured in a money bilking scheme by a theatrical producer. Directed and written by Brooks, the film brought Wilder an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor.

Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory

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In 1971 came ‘Willy Wonka’, one of his most beloved characters. Based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl. ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ the film follows Charlie, who clinches a golden ticket to gain access to the enchanting factory, and is joined by other lucky children.

Wilder played the mysterious, Mephistophelean factory proprietor of the title, dumping spoiled children into ironic fates. His performance of the song “Pure Imagination” is wildly considered a classic film moment.

He got full-fledged film stardom with two other Mel Brooks comedies, both in 1974: Western spoof “Blazing Saddles” and a wacko adaptation of Mary Shelley’s most famous book entitled “Young Frankenstein”, in which he portrayed the mad scientist with his signature mixture of hysteria and sweetness.

Apart from the director, Wilder frequently collaborated with comedian Richard Pryor. The two starred together in films like “Silver Streak” and “See No Evil Hear No Evil”. Wilder was survived by his fourth wife Karen Boyer, whom he married in 1991 and his nephew.

Did you know ?

Dark Doings

The moody Hamlet is often called the melancholy Dane. Melancholy means gloomy, but it literally refers to  “black bile.” You might recognise its root parts in melan ( a dark pigment) and chole (gall or ill temper). In medieval times, bodily “humours” were thought to influence our moods, black bile being one of these fluids.

Dark doings, Hamlet, Literature

as Hamlet, looks at Yorick’s skull by baslow – Image credit

Locked room mysteries-Genre crime fiction

What are ‘locked-room’ mysteries?

The locked room mystery is an intriguing type of crime fiction that revolves around an offence being committed in such a way that it seems impossible to determine how it was done. Usually, a murder victim is discovered in a room locked from the inside with no other apparent exit or entry route, making the readers wonder how the killer gained access and then vanished into thin air!

The plot uses the ‘red herring’ technique in which the author deliberately casts an innocent person as guilty in order to distract or mislead the reader.  The true culprit is armed with a seemingly unbreakable alibi and remains undetected till the end.  The intelligent murder mystery is solved in a dramatic climax.

This format established itself as the sub-genre of crime fiction in the 19th century although some examples are also found in ancient Greek literature. The format gained popularity in 1920’s and 30’s thanks to writers like Arthur Conon Doyle, Joseph Cummings and Agatha Christie.

Locked room mysteries-Crime fiction

The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr
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John Dickson Carr is considered the master of locked-room mysteries. His story Hollow Man (1925) was voted as the best locked-room mystery ever by a panel of eminent mystery writers and reviewers in 1981.

Locked room mysteries are generally short stories as it is difficult to sustain a puzzle format in a novel.

6 Most Prolific Writers in History

Recently, the Guinness record went to the most prolific writer Charles Hamilton. He is estimated to have written more than a 100 million words. The following are some others.

Prolific writers

Corin Tellado

Corin Tellado– Spanish writer aka Maria del Socorro Tellado Lopez, lived from 1927-2009 and published more than 4000 novels. She sold more than 400 million copies of them too.

Ryoki Inoue Image

Ryoki Inoue

Ryoki Inoue– Brazilian author Ryoki Inoue is a thoracic surgeon. He also…er dabbles in Portuguese language pulp fiction to the tune of nearly 1,100 books. And he still continues to write.

Prolific writer Kathleen Lindsay

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Kathleen Lindsay She was an English romance writer with at least 11 pen names. She died in 1973 (at the age of 70) having written more than 900 books.

Lauran Paine Image credit-

Lauran Paine
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Lauran Bosworth Paine– Seventy books would constitute a prolific career. Lauran Bosworth Paine had 70 different pen names. He wrote mostly Western fiction. Has written over 850 books.

Enid Blyton assorted covers

Enid Blyton assorted covers

Enid Mary Blyton– The well-known English writer of children’s books who died in 1968. Her work has been translated into almost 90 languages. She wrote more than 800 books, generating the total sales more than J K Rowling.

Barbara cartland Image credit-

Barbara Cartland
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Barbara Cartland– or Barbara McCorquodale, whether writing cookbooks or health books or historical fiction, she was most certainly writing. She lived 99 years (until 2000) and wrote 723 books.

Do let me know if you know other prolific writers in the comment section.