Lamar Giles
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What book are you chasing?

First, I’m not going to give you suggestions on the best ways to follow a shot of top-shelf whiskey. For those who feel mislead, I’m sorry to disappoint. Moving on…

The title of this post is actually a reference to the 1997 film Chasing Amy written and directed by Kevin Smith. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a pretty funny indie film currently available through Netflix Instant Streaming. And you might want to view it before I reveal this little tidbit that explains the origin of the title when no one in the film is named Amy.

*spoiler alert*

Towards the end of the movie the Silent Bob character, who is played by the director himself, gives a poignant monologue about how he messed up a good relationship with a woman named Amy over something that, in the scheme of things, was stupid. Now, he spends his days trying to find the same level of fulfillment he experienced with her. He’s constantly “Chasing Amy”.

I can’t relate to Silent Bob’s relationship woes because I’m happily married, but I’m a bit of a book whore. It occurred to me that I spend a lot of time trying to find a book that gives me the same level of fulfillment as certain other titles I’ve read over the years. I’m not the only one, and publishers know this, which is why when a book or series is successful, you immediately see a thousand clones (painfully obvious in YA right now with every other book aiming to be this week’s Hunger Games). Thing is, the clones almost never live up to the original*, so, sadly, the longing is never fulfilled.

That’s neither here nor there. See, for me personally, I think there is ONE  book (MAYBE two) that moved me so much that I’m always trying to find a book that gives me the same level of enjoyment and satisfaction while disappointing me because I know it has to end. For me, it’s NIGHTWORLD by F. Paul Wilson (BLOOD BROTHERS by Steven Barnes is a close runner-up).

I read both books when I was 19 years old, and they CHANGED me, influencing my reading and writing habits ever since. Now, I spend everyday chasing Nightworld.

What about you? Any particular book that you can’t seem to get out of your system, no matter how many books you read? Please, let me know in the comments.

*If you know of a book that was an obvious clone of another, but somehow surpassed the original, please share. I’d be interested to check them out.

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(99) Penny Dreadfuls

While in Florida, my wife and I tried several restaurants that just don’t exist in the state of Virginia. One favorite was Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, inspired by the 1994 Academy Award winning film Forrest Gump. It was neat how the restaurant worked in bits from the movie. Example, there were two signs attached to everyone’s table, one red, one blue. The blue was the default sign, and read “Run, Forrest, Run”. That sign meant your table was satisfied and required no assistance. However, if you needed more napkins, or some melted butter for your lobster claw, you’d flip to the red sign, “Stop, Forrest, Stop”. When THAT sign was visible, any server in the vicinity would stop whatever they were doing and come attend to your needs. Anyone familiar with the film understands the significance of either phrase, and it just makes for a good time.

Along with that clever reference, servers would quiz you on facts about the movie, and there were all sorts of relevant decor throughout the place. My point…Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is just a well executed play on themes that lend themselves to food and film. And it got me thinking…

What might be some misguided efforts in the Award-Winning Movie Themed Restaurant business?

Hannibal’s (Reminiscent of Emeril’s; Inspired by Silence of the Lambs): Hannibal Lecter, prior to his incarceration, was a lauded chef, often throwing special, special dinner parties for his psychiatric colleagues. So, it would only make sense that this restuarant represent the highest levels of fine dining. I’m talking jacket and tie, a nightly string quartet, white linen tablecloths, etc. Of course, booths would be set behind clear glass walls with airholes, waiters would wear copper muzzles, and the nightly special would be…well, you know. Hope you like the house special Chianti.

The Coliseum (Reminiscent of Medieval Times; Inspired by Gladiator): This could be most aptly described as dinner theater. All tables would be arranged around a miniaturized arena where the most famous battles from the film would be reenacted while your family enjoyed hearty helpings of roasted meat, thick soups, and ale (ginger ale for the youth). Occasionally, you waiter might rebel, and simply refuse to bring you what you ask for. And, when you complain, he’d take to the center of the arena and shout, “Are you not entertained?!? Are you not entertained?!?”

Blasting Cap (Inspired by The Hurt Locker): There’s no air conditioning and patrons gain new insight into the term “explosive diarrhea”. ‘Nuff said.

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