Rest In Peace Stan Lee

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(Gage Skidmore)

Stan Lee, the guiding creative genius behind the golden age of Marvel Comics and the current explosion of Marvel movies has died today at the age of 95.

Mr. Lee was an enormous influence in my life. As a child, I was completely absorbed in comic books, and through Marvel’s stories, I learned of heroes with human flaws and a world that had many difficulties. Out of his guidance came such important figures as Spiderman, Ironman, Thor, and my personal favorite–Captain America.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Lee took these characters past the simple fight-the-supervillain-approach of so many other brands of superheroes. In Spiderman, I identified with a high school science nerd who could defeat villains but remained a lonely kid. In Thor, I reveled in learning about another mythology that had previously been completely unknown. In Captain America, I saw the man who was not the superpatriot but the opposer of bullies everywhere. Captain America came to be the moral center of the Marvel Universe, one who would battle oppression no matter from where it came.

Thank you to Stan Lee–you had a lasting influence on my life.

R. I. P. Stan Lee

 

https://www.instagram.com/charlesfrenchauthor/

 

Quotations on Treatment of Children

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Kofi_Annan

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”

                                                                             Kofi Annan

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.”

                                                                            Pearl S. Buck

 

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(https://pixabay.com)

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

                                                                            John F. Kennedy

 

Books That Have Influenced Me: Part One

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(https://pixabay.com)

I have ready many books over the course of my life, and books have become a central part of who I am. I read books for pleasure, for study, and for examination. I teach books in my literature classes at Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College, I write about them in scholarly work, and I write novels. As I was considering the topic for this post, I started to think about what books have influenced me the most in my life.

Dracula

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

I do not mean that I want to explore what books are the most meaningful or the most important literature. That is a completely different discussion. Certainly there can be crossover in my choices, because I will not eliminate a text on its literary value, but I am interested now in which books had a part to play in my development as a human being and which ones helped to form me into the person I now am.

So many come to mind and are possibilities for discussion, especially when I think of some of the books I read as a youngster in high school. Among these novels are Dracula, The War of the Worlds, A Tale of Two Cities, Frankenstein, The Lord of the Rings and Fahrenheit 451.  Certainly, there were many more books that I read at that time, and I have always been a voracious reader, but these books, in a variety of ways help to shape my interests and some of my directions in life.

Today, I will focus on Dracula and what its influence on me was and is. This was one of the first Gothic novels I had read, and its power caught me immediately. I was drawn to the images of dark castles, terrible villains, and the supernatural. That I love Gothic is still clear, because not only do I teach Gothic literature, but also I write it.

Dracula, however, had a much deeper impact on me that simply the horror aspect; I was drawn to the idea of the need for good people to oppose evil.  It is a theme that, on the surface, might seem simplistic, but a person need only look at the history of the 20th Century into our contemporary time to see that evil does exist, especially in the form of people who would oppress, torment, exclude, and bully others. Of course, I am not making an argument that the supernatural evil in this novel exists, but that human evil certainly does.  The Nazis demonstrated that human horror in its full capacity.

In this book, a fellowship of human beings is created, and they decide to fight a creature that is far more powerful than anything they could have imagined, and they do so at the risk of their lives.  This act of defending others, even if the people do the battle are put at risk, became a central part of my ethos.  There will always be those who would bully and oppress others, and they must always be opposed.  While in early high school, Dracula helped to form that idea in my mind.

In the next entry in this series, I will discuss a book in which the idea of fellowship is a central theme.

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Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I by Charles F. French is available for purchase on Amazon either as an ebook or a print book!

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

What Book Would You Read?

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(https://pixabay.com)

One of my best memories from summers when I was a child was of those days when I didn’t have to do anything. Work had not yet reared its head, chores were finished, and the weather was just right. It wasn’t too hot, and the humidity was low. The sky was filled with imagination-inducing legions of clouds.  On such days, I remember sitting under a tree, leaning back against it and reading a book—all day, with the exception of going in for lunch and supper. They were perfect days.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Now, imagine something like that. For one day, you have no responsibilities, the weather is nice—75 degrees, almost no humidity, and a sky of bright blue and cumulus clouds like scattered cotton candy—and you have the time to indulge in reading a book. At your side is a container of coffee, iced tea, or whatever you like. You also have snacks with you.  Remember, for this day, you are free to relax and read, as if you were a child again.

If I were to do this right now, I think I would begin to reread The Lord of the Rings.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

My question is—what book would you read?