Who knew? November 1 is, among other things, officially National Author's Day, a day when you show your appreciation for authors you've read, especially those whose stories made an impact on your life.
So many authors have impacted my life. Where to begin? Of course, there are the classics, like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Mark Twain. Leo Tolstoy, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald. But today I pick one, and sadly he's gone. Died too soon. Here is my tribute to...
I first read Michael Crichton after seeing a movie in the 1970s called The Carey Treatment (starring James Coburn and Jennifer O'Neil). The film credits mentioned the novel upon which it was based as A Case of Need by Jeffrey Hudson (It would be decades before I learned Jeffrey Hudson was a pseudonym for John Michael Crichton). I found the book and read it. A page turner, it surpassed the movie (although the film was exciting!), as is often the case with novels-turned-movies.
After discovering his work, I couldn't get enough and devoured every book he'd written. I soon learned he was also a screenwriter, and his screenwriting credits included such gems as Runaway, Westworld, Twister, and Robin Cook's novel-turned-film Coma.
But the novel that grabbed me and wouldn't let go--for whatever reasons--was Jurassic Park. In childhood I had a fascination with dinosaurs that led me to books like Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, and I guess it lingered. I read the book on the MARTA on my way to work in downtown Atlanta and became so engrossed that (thank God my bosses never caught me!) I once smuggled the book into the Ladies Room so I could sit in private and finish a chapter. Now that is one compelling read! I finished it in a day (during my ride home) and then wanted more!
Soon as I finished the book, I heard there would be a movie. The movie doesn't follow the book exactly, of course, or they'd lose the PG rating and younger audience. The film version is good but could never engross me the way Crichton's book had. I still rank Jurassic Park among my top ten favorite books, right up there with A Christmas Carol, Pride and Prejudice, and The Great Gatsby. Yeah, I liked it that much.
I never met Crichton--more's the pity because I sure wanted to--and now he's gone. Too bad. I would like to wish him Happy National Authors Day.