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John's Recipe for the Perfect Book

I love to read, but I'll admit it. I'm not what you'd call a 'good' reader. I'm not even what you'd call a mediocre reader. I can't help it. I like what I like.

For me reading is all about the Fun Factor. If it's one of those 'good for you' books, I don't want to touch it. I eat veggies three times a day. I don't want to read them.

If I'm going to invest my precious time in a book, it needs to be made from these ingredients:
  • Extraordinariality (3 cups):  I already live in the real world. I don't need to read about it.
  • Bigger than Life Heroines (10 cloves):  Normal people in abnormal situations need not apply.
  • Romance (2 sloppy buckets full):  Come on... If your characters are falling in love, make them fall so hard they make a Wile-E-Coyote-sized crater in the ground. And please do the math: SEX ≠ ROMANCE!
  • Wish Fulfillment (20 oz.):  I'm a createchnical ideologist who sits all day in front of a computer. Give me something to dream about!
  • Good Guys (2 scoops): Remember back in the good ol' days when heroes were called good guys? Back in the day when the term 'good' implied some kind of positive moral attribute? Those days were before my time, but I miss them. There's nothing I love better than a good moral hero -- unless of course it's a brilliant moral heroine...
  • Depth (at least 20 layers): I hate when I've already figured out the entire plot by the end of the first chapter. I want something so deep and twisty that it ties my brain in knots.
  • Suspense (5 tbs):  If someone's not trying to kill your heroine, she's doing something wrong.
  • Originality (2 16oz cans):  I feel like I've been reading the same twenty books all my life. Can someone please come up with something different?

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Geeky Hobbit Seeking Fellow Adventurers

When I was in fourth grade, my weird aunt gave me The Lord of the Rings for Christmas. That three-book novel is huge, and I probably wouldn't have read it, except for one thing.

My mother told me I couldn't. "It's too mature for you, John. I've heard it's about witches and magic. Maybe you should wait till you're in college."

That settled it. I sneaked off and read the whole thing over one incredible weekend.

That book changed my life. Ever since then, whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I lied.

"Spock," I'd tell them.

A few years later I changed that to, "A scientist."

A few years after that, "A novelist."

But what I really wanted to be was Frodo the hobbit. I wanted to travel to strange countries with the Fellowship of the Ring. I wanted to face down the Nine Riders. I wanted danger. I wanted excitement.

I wanted to be part of an epic battle to change the world.

People sometimes mistake me for a normal human being. I've got a wife and two kids I love. A house with a mortgage the size of a dragon's hoard. A Ph.D. in biochemistry.

But inside, I'm Frodo the hobbit, riding out with my friends to do battle with the Dark Lord.

Welcome to my world. Let's go have an adventure, shall we?