A Tribute to Sheldon

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Amidst the world cup exhilaration and the pandemonium due to the rampant inflation and stock market fall I missed to make a post on this. This should have been posted a month ago, but better late than never.
I never had the habit of reading until my sophomore days. Even I was one among the crowd who used to comment others for their reading habits as bookworms and bibliophiles. I was annoyed many a times when my friends used to sit with bulky novels which were authored by some weird names. But ingenuously speaking it was the fear of English which withheld me from reading those novels.
Once I had a bet with my friend Gopal, on reading the ‘Master of The Game’, written by Sidney Sheldon. The bet was to complete the book. Though I had the fear of verbose language in it, I was determined to read that, due to the bet. I completed the book in four days. But that did not stop me; I read all his 18 books in the next six months.
After I started reading novels, the next thing was critics and comments on various authors. For Sidney Sheldon there were loads of criticism among some of my friends that his works are too much feministic, sensual and simple. But for me though it was like that, his English was not too verbose and also at the same time not slipshod. You don’t have to master a dictionary to follow what he wrote.
He had no profound philosophy to promote. He wrote about lives of people, mostly ordinary - their highs and lows, their kindness and meanness, dreams and disappointments. I have seen many of the college girls religiously reading Sheldon’s novels, because most women felt they were their own stories. He had many bestsellers in his kitty though they were not approved by critics. He did not bother for critics; He was bothered only on readers. “The Naked Face” – Sheldon’s first novel which was scorned by book reviewers sold 21,000 copies in hardcover. The novel found a mass market in paperback, reportedly selling 3.1 million.
I consider “The Master of the Game” as his Magnum opus, not since I read that as my first book, it was an excellent narration for six generations. I would rank his works in the following order.

  1. Master of the Game

  2. If Tomorrow Comes

  3. Bloodline

  4. Rage of Angels

  5. Morning, Noon and Night

  6. The Naked Face

  7. A Stranger in the Mirror

  8. The Best Laid Plans

  9. Tell Me Your Dreams

  10. Windmills of the Gods

  11. The Sands of Time

  12. The Doomsday Conspiracy

  13. The Stars Shine Down

  14. Nothing Lasts Forever

  15. The Sky is Falling

  16. Are You Afraid of the Dark?

  17. The Other Side of Midnight

  18. Memories of Midnight

Sheldon once quoted that - I try to write my books so the reader can’t put them down. I try to construct them so when the reader gets to the end of a chapter, he or she has to read just one more chapter. It’s the technique of the old Saturday afternoon serial : leave the guy hanging on the edge of the cliff at the end of the chapter.
Today I am reading 2 to 3 books every month; this habit has to be attributed to this master story teller, who may not have taught me moral thoughts but had induced a vigorous reading habit in me. He has implanted a habit in me.
I eulogize for him today as one among the millions of Sheldon readers, we miss you!

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